Experiences - Asia

Must-visit in Japan – Tokyo Imperial Palace

Japan is everything you can imagine and beyond. With a rich culture and history, enveloped by breathtaking natural beauty and cordial hospitality it’s an experience by itself. But to get a taste of grandeur, you must visit the Tokyo Imperial palace which is iconic to Tokyo and an important cultural landmark in Japan.

Located in a large park-like area in the Chiyoda, central Tokyo, the Imperial palace also known as Kokyo, which literally means the Imperial Residence, is the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan and his family. The palace grounds along with the lush green gardens, covers an area of 7.41 square kilometers.

 

Brief History

Imperial Palace Tokyo

Image Courtesy: Doug used under the Creative Commons Licence

Kyoto, which was centrally located on the island of Japan, was the imperial capital for more than 1,000 years which went through a political upheaval in 1868, known as the Meiji Restoration. Since then the emperor moved to Tokyo, the current location of the Imperial Palace, on Japan’s eastern coast. The imperial family to host official ceremonies and receive guests uses the Imperial Palace. The current structure of the Palace was restored and reconstructed in 1968 post the damage caused by the world war.

 

Here are five things about the Imperial palace you can enjoy:

First: The East Gardens of the Imperial palace are open to the public and you can see the ruins of the Edo castle which makes it one of the most fascinating engineering marvel in the world. In front of the Imperial Palace, you can view the Nijubashi, the two ancient stone bridges that lead to the inner palace grounds surrounded by a natural pond with lush green space which makes for a popular photo spot.

Second: The inner palace grounds are open to public only on January 2 and December 23, two days that commemorate the New Year and the Emperor’s birthday. On these days the Imperial Family make a public appearance on a balcony, the place is packed with fans leaving little room to view the Imperial Family.

Tokyo Imperial Palace

Image Courtesy: David Sanz used under the Creative Commons Licence

Third: The moat near the park- Chidori-ga-fuchi is a popular and a classic spot for viewing the glorious cherry blossom which lends a spectacular view to the palace during spring and boasts of having the largest number of people coming to view the same. The National Theater, which presents Japanese classical performing arts such as Kabuki and Noh plays, and Kyogen (traditional short comedies), is within easy walking distance from Chidori-ga-fuchi.

Fourth: The Sannomaru-Shozo-kan (Museum of the Imperial Collections) is where the Emperor’s art collections are exhibited, here’s where you can see beautiful kimonos and Japanese paintings.

Fifth: The Kita-no-maru-koen Park is situated on the north side, and has the Nippon Budo-kan, famous for its concerts by foreign artists. You can also visit the Science Museum and the National Museum of Modern Art.

 

You can also book a guided tour around the palace. The Imperial Palace East Gardens are open to the public throughout the year except on Mondays, Fridays and special occasions.

Tokyo Imperial

Image Courtesy: Jaime Pérez used under the Creative Commons Licence

Here’s the calendar for the Imperial palace:

From March 1 to April 14

9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (entry up to 4:00 p.m.)

From April 15 to the end of August

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (entry up to 4:30 p.m.)

From September 1 to the end of October

9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (entry up to 4:00 p.m.)

From November 1 to the end of February

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (entry up to 3:30 p.m.)

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