Imperial Palace, Tokyo

3.5 out of 5 stars 48 Reviews

Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku

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  • Imperial Palace
    by machomikemd
  • Moat and bridge at the Imperial Palace
    Moat and bridge at the Imperial Palace
    by Ewingjr98
  • Sotosakurada Gate at the south entrance to palace
    Sotosakurada Gate at the south entrance...
    by Ewingjr98
  • cheesecake17's Profile Photo

    Home of Emperor HEISEI

    by cheesecake17 Updated Feb 19, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    The Imperial Palace sits on land that was once occupied by Edo Castle. It became the official imperial residence in 1868, when Emperor Meiji transferred the seat of power from Kyoto to Edo and changed the name of the city to Tokyo.

    Throughout history the palace has been rebuilt many times - most recently in 1968. In the raids of 1945 it was almost completely destroyed, and that was in spite of the popular belief that a pond full of goldfish would scare the bombs away.

    To get the best view of the palace you need to stand close to Nijubashi Bridge.
    To find the bridge leave Tokyo station via the Maranouchi Exit, follow the broad avenue up to the Imperial Palace Plaza and cross over the moat. Next take the gravel roadway round to the left; Niju Bashi Bridge is then close to the police box.

    The palace itself is only open two days a year - January 1st and the Emperor's birthday, December 23rd..

    You might even want to spend an hour strolling the 4.8km around the palace and moat. But the best thing to do is to visit Higashi Gyoen the East Garden, where you'll find what's left of the central keep of old Edo Castle, the stone foundation.
    The entrance is just through Otemon Gate.

    FREE TOUR
    There are FREE guided tours Monday through Friday at 10am and 1:30pm, but you must register at least 1 day in advance (reservations are accepted up to 1 month in advance) by calling tel. 03/3213-111, ext. 485 or 486, and then stopping by the Imperial Household (located at the Sakashita-mon Gate, on the east side of palace grounds) to provide your passport number, nationality, name, age, occupation, and address in Tokyo. Tours, conducted in Japanese only, last about 75 minutes ..

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  • Inkan1969's Profile Photo

    Sizing up the Imperial Palace

    by Inkan1969 Written Jul 28, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I only visited the southeast corner of the Imperial Palace Grounds. It was beautiful. I had no idea the Palace Grounds was so huge. And there were hardly anyone in the area. So the southeast corner is a great place to relax from the stress of the city. A good chunk of the grounds is covered with pebbles. That makes the relaxation more theaputic. :-) I was in awe at the grounds' huge stone walls. Landmarks on the wall included beautiful towers like the one shown in this picture.

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  • FelixB's Profile Photo

    The best kept secret of Tokyo

    by FelixB Written Apr 10, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Nij��bashi Bridge

    Tokyo's Imperial Palace is situated in a lush garden environment unique to Tokyo. It can be described as one of the last oasis within the bustling metropolis.
    The palace itself is pnly open to the public on two days a year. On the Emperor's birthday on the 26th of December and on New Year's Day. The palace is kept very simple and although one is not able to see all this except on those special occasions, lots of people come there to get a picture of Nijûbashi Bridge, which makes up for the palace for most of the tourists. The bridge leads to the gate to the palace grounds and is guarded like in London by two guards.
    The view of the bridge with the Japanese-castle like building in the background is worth a visit as well as the green and broad place surrounding it.

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  • manuelEB's Profile Photo

    A gate to modernity???

    by manuelEB Written Jan 7, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The name of Tairo (lit. Great Elder) Naosuke Ii is linked to this Sakurada Gate of Edo Castle, where he lost his life at hands of samurai who opossed the way he managed the "opening" of the country to the growing pressure of US forces. He was the master-mind behind the Ansei Purge that almost erase all resistance to his, otherwise, weak politics towards foreign powers.This won him many enemies and from there his assasination in front of Sakuradamon. Many consider him the "Father of the Japan's Opening( to Trade)". I would argue on that fatherhood with a very convincing DNA test

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  • quime's Profile Photo

    Imperial Palace and Garden

    by quime Updated Oct 23, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    originally built in 1457 as Edo Castle, It became the emperors residence as recently as 1888.
    considered as the center of japan, many people enjoy jogging around the garden that surrounded the palace.
    I walked from her to the Tokio tower.

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  • o00o's Profile Photo

    Japanese Forbidden City

    by o00o Updated Aug 16, 2004

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    A real Forbidden City

    The grounds around the Palace are filled with the most perfectly sculpted trees. The Palace itself is surrounded by a moat and is closed off the public except for twice a year.

    The closest that the general public can get is standing at the base of the Nijubashi Bridge which leads to the main gate. From here, you can see the Double Bridge, and the guest quarters. A lot of the original castle built 400 years ago as the shogun's residence was destroyed in World War II.

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  • elcbw's Profile Photo

    Imperial Palace

    by elcbw Updated Aug 5, 2004
    Moats of the Imperial Palace

    The current Imperial Palace (Kokyo) is located on the former site of Edo Castle, a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls in the center of Tokyo, a short walk from Tokyo station. It is the residence of Japan's Imperial Family.

    The palace buildings and inner gardens are not open to the public. Only on January 2 (New Year's Greeting) and December 23 (Emperor's Birthday), visitors are able to enter the inner palace grounds and see the members of the Imperial Family, who make several public appearances on a balcony.

    During the rest of the year, guided tours of the palace are offered in Japanese, with an English pamphlet and audio guide provided. Tours must be reserved in advance at the Imperial Household Agency. Reservations over the internet are possible (see links below).

    The Imperial Palace East Gardens are open to the public throughout the year except on Mondays, Fridays and special occasions.

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  • Breen's Profile Photo

    Best Part for History People

    by Breen Written Jun 15, 2004
    Imperial Palace

    I knew I had to go here when I got into Tokyo. Although its a big tourist area you can largely find time to yourself in this area and not to many people around due the size of the area. Be sure to obey the customs in some of the buildings, which they will ask you to remove your shoes. The prices at the shops here are reasonable too for a tourist location.

    More importantly though is the history of the place, the buildings and the gardens were great to see, with information spread throughout the grounds explaining the area in English and Japanease. This can also be a good walk for those who are looking for some exercise, with many hills and bridges around the area and even some hidden paths to explore with some nice clear ponds and flowers everywhere to see. Although I'm not usually someone to into landscape and gardening I spent hours here and really enjoyed myself!

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  • kdoc13's Profile Photo

    The Imperial Palace

    by kdoc13 Written May 22, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The lucky few, entering the Imperial Palace

    PLAN THIS TRIP IN ADVANCE!!! Sorry, had to do that. It is very hard to get into the Imperial Palace. Most of the time the inner gardens and palace are closed to the public. Only twice a year can the public go in, and you get to see the imperial family then. The rest of the time, the palace is restricted entry, and you must make reservations in advance with the imperial household agency.

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  • MyPegasus's Profile Photo

    Imperial Place and East Garden

    by MyPegasus Written Apr 24, 2004
    East Garden

    The imperial Place itselves accepts visitors only two times a year beginning of the year. (1st week of January) Normally only the Garden is free for visitors. It is really remerkable in spring time. I saw also some pictures taken in winter and it really looks good as well. Definetely a "must" place for tourists

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  • canadacutey's Profile Photo

    imperial palace

    by canadacutey Updated Jan 18, 2004

    Not a whole lot to see, because you are not allowed to access the interior of the palace, only 2 times a year(emporers b-day and new years day.jan.2) but still worth a stroll through the hibiya park and see some of the exterior buildings and gates.Was actually lucky enough to have the emporer drive within feet of me in the cavalcade.

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  • ChuckG's Profile Photo

    Imperial Palace

    by ChuckG Written Jan 7, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Guarded palace

    The first castle was build on that site in 1590. It later became the world largest castle under the Edo era.

    The palace today is much smaller as it was rebuilt after bombing during WWII

    The emperor still lives there with his family !

    Note that access is only permitted twice a year. As you can see, it wasn't on the day i was there !

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  • stmlnyc's Profile Photo

    Imperial Palace

    by stmlnyc Written Oct 14, 2003
    Imperial Palace

    The traditional Imperial Palace is right near the Ginza shopping district. Unfortunately, tourists are restricted to the outskirts, except during New Year's Day (Jan. 2) and the Emperor's birthday (Dec. 23).

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  • Imperial Palace and Nijubashi Bridge

    by yen_2 Updated Sep 18, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Nijubashi Bridge


    Imperial Palace, is a greeny place that you can view the famous and well-known-Nijubashi Bridge, you can see a section of the Imperial Palace. The Imperial Palace has been the home of Japan's Imperial Family since 1888. It is built on the same location Edo Castle used to stand during the days of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
    The original structure was destroyed during 1945 air raids and the palace was rebuilt in 1968.

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  • vigi's Profile Photo

    Imperial Palace

    by vigi Written Aug 16, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Moats and walls surround the imperial palace

    The current Imperial Palace is located in the center of Tokyo, a short walk from Tokyo station. It's a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls. The palace buildings and inner gardens are not open to the public. Only on Jan 2 (New Year's Greeting) and on the Emperor's birthday (Dec 23), visitors are able to enter the inner palace grounds. Remarks: MONDAY CLOSED.

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