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.
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 ..
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.
Tokyo Imperial Palace is the imperial main residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is a large park-like area located in Chiyoda, Tokyo close to Tokyo Station and contains various buildings such as the main palace and the private residences of the imperial family. The total area including the gardens is 3.41 square kilometers.
The Imperial Palace with its grounds is located on the site of the former residential palace of the successive Tokugawa Shoguns in the Edo Period. Following the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Emperor Meiji moved here from Kyoto which had been the imperial capital for more than a thousand years.
Since then, there are the Imperial Residence where Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress reside Imperial Palace, where the various ceremonies and functions are held, the Imperial Household Agency Building, the momijiyama Imperial Sericalture Center and the East Gardens including the Tokagakudo Concert Hall etc. are located.
This is another sight you can visit for free, although what you see in the picture is as close as you are allowed to the Imperial Palace. The whole area is surrounded by massive stone walls, similar to what you see at several ancient temples.
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
Only foreign dignitaries, other special guests, staff of the royal family, and the royal family itself are allowed to go into the inner areas of the Imperial Palace. But, everybody else can at enjoy walking around and about the areas open to the public.
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.
Is a huge open park space. The park is also maintained and significantly less crowded and provides a great view of the palace ground’s traditional Japanese architecture. Kokyo Gaien is also adjacent to Hibiya Park. The Marunouchi Skyline has an excellent view from the Kokyo Gaien. Marunouchi is the most famous business districts in Japan. In recent years, many shopping and dining complexes have opened in this area
Originally it was a garden of Imperial family, but was opened to the public as a national park in 1949 after World War II. The main area is covered with gravel roads, lawns and Japanese black pines. It is very wide open space in the center of giant city. There’s also a well marked, circular walking path around the palace that takes you through a surprisingly varied selection of Tokyo’s districts. Just be sure to stick to the walking lane and go counter clockwise. Free of charge
The Tokyo Imperial Palace was built on the grounds of the former Edo Castle. The Fushimi Yagura of the castle dates back to 1659 and the famous Nijubashi area dates back to the same century. There is also a large area of imperial pines. You can see all of these from the outside, but to enter the actual Imperial Palace grounds, you must reserve a spot on one of their tours which can be done on their website. The tour is free with the reservation.
Inside, the tour takes you past the Imperial Household Agency, the Imperial Palace (not the home of the emperor, but this is where they wave to the crowds on New Years), and onto the Nijubashi Bridge before going back around to the visitor center and gift shop. The imperial buildings are all quite modern, so they are probably not as impressive as the remnants of Edo Castle, but the simple fact that it's the current Imperial Palace is enough to keep it interesting, I think, and the audio guide (the tours only have Japanese language guides, so those who don't know Japanese must take an audio guide) is informative and certainly makes the tour worthwhile.
Tours are only offered on weekdays. If possible, it's most convenient to get a tour on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday because then you can go straight from the tour to the Imperial East Garden which is closed on Mondays and Fridays.
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.
The Imperial Palace is the heart and soul of Tokyo. Built on the very spot where Edo Castle used to stand during the days of the Tokugawa shogunate, it became the imperial home at its completion in 1888. Destroyed during air raids in 1945, the palace was rebuilt in 1968 using the principles of traditional Japanese architecture. But don't expect to get a good look at it; most of the palace grounds are off-limits to the public, with the exception of 2 days a year when the royal family makes an appearance before the throngs: New Year's Day and on the Emperor's birthday (Dec 23). You'll have to console yourself with a camera shot of the palace from the southeast side of Nijubashi Bridge, with the moat and the palace turrets showing above the trees. The wide moat, lined with cherry trees, is especially beautiful in the spring. You might even want to spend an hour strolling the 4km (3 miles) around the palace and moat.
But the most important thing to do while in the vicinity of the palace is to visit its Higashi Gyoen (East Garden), where you'll find what's left of the central keep of old Edo Castle, the stone foundation.
The Japanese Imperial Palace is home to the Emperor of Japan. I didn't know they still had an Emperor after World War II, but the current Emperor is Hirohito's oldest surviving son (Hirohito ruled before and during WWII and was likely responsible for millions of civilian deaths, but his name in Japan is Emperor Shōwa, meaning "abundant benevolence"). The Japanese line of succession for emperor excludes females, except in rare and temporary circumstances.
The Imperial Palace occupies the site of the ancient Edo Castle, which was established in the 1450s. It is said that construction of the castle involved the labor of some 300,000 men, and the massive complex had 38 gates. In 1868, the Japanese emperor moved the nation's capital from Kyoto to Edo castle.
Over the next 70 years many of the old buildings were removed, damaged by earthquakes or fires, or destroyed by bombing during World War II. In the 1960s the main palace hall and residential areas were constructed.
The main palace area is closed to the public, except on 2 January and the Emperor's birthday each year. Many of the palace's huge gardens are open to the public, including the East Garden, the Kitanomaru park to the north of the palace, and the Kōkyo-gaien to the south near Tokyo Station.