Imperial Palace

Take a refreshing moment in the greenery of the Imperial Palace

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The Imperial Palace was once called the Edo Castle. It has been the residence of the Emperor since the Meiji Era. It is located in central Tokyo, but there is a tranquility within the palace grounds.
Business Hours
Weekdays ( 9:0 AM ~ 6:0 AM )

The Imperial Palace tour is scheduled twice a day at 10a.m. and 1:30p.m. with each tour lasting up to 90 minutes. The Imperial Palace Outer Gardens and the East Gardens can be seen freely. [close] Below are the fixed holidays (1) Weekends and national holidays (2) Afternoons from July 21st to August 31st (3) New Year’s holidays (December 28th-January 4th) (4) Any days which are necessary for holding events and similar functions
Imperial Palace, 1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
(03) 3213-1111

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The Charm of the Imperial Palace

As you make your way from Tokyo Station to Marunouchi, you will quickly notice that the area is occupied with tall office buildings. Neighboring this building-dense area is the Imperial Palace. The Imperial Palace’s surroundings are enveloped in lush greenery and is almost a parallel universe. It is located on the same site where the Tokugawa shogunate’s Edo Castle was back in the Edo Era. The entire area is over a million square meters and the palace is encircled with a moat with a plentiful water supply. Regardless of the season, the greenery is consistently remarkable. Spring, when the cherry blossoms begin to bloom in the gardens of the outer moat, is the season when many visitors are present. The beautiful environment is loved by many people, and the abundant greenery surrounding the palace has made it a significantly popular route for joggers. As you walk through the grounds of the Imperial Palace, you forget that you are in Tokyo and this is likely for its popularity amongst Japanese and foreign sightseers alike.

Imperial Palace Guided Tour

Although many choose to visit the outer areas of the Imperial Palace, you can also participate in a guided visit of the inside of the palace. The palace has 8 different entrances and out of these, visitors have the chance to visit the ‘Chinese bellflower’ gate should they wish to. The Imperial Palace tour lasts roughly around one hour and includes visits to buildings that the general public does not usually have access to. To take in a view of the palace from a different perspective, this tour is highly recommended. One can register to participate in this tour on this website and in a sequential order, you should fill out the form before completing the registration.

Those who register should take note that these tours are not open on weekends, public holidays and the New Year’s holidays. Furthermore, the online registration must be done 4 days in advance of the visit and that once registration is completed, changes in the number of participants is not permitted. Once you have completed the online registration, proof of registration will be sent to your e-mail address and can be printed out. This document, in addition to one piece of self-identification, should be brought with you on the day of the tour. During this leisurely 2km tour, you will learn about the history of the buildings and Japanese culture. Depending on the season, changes in the greenery entirely alter the overall atmosphere of the palace, and all throughout the year, it is the ideal spot to find some time to relax, a place that might be difficult to find in Tokyo.

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From Tokyo Station, take the Marunouchi Exit. You will see the Imperial Palace directly in front of you.

From Shinjuku Station to Tokyo Station:
Take the Chuo Line direct to Tokyo Station (13 minutes, ¥200)

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Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.

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7 years ago
Feel the calm right by the Seat of Power
Located right in the center of Tokyo. Come here to stroll through the palace grounds. Spend some time in The Imperial Palace East Gardens where you can see the remains of Edo Castle. If you have time, bring your trainer shoes and visit run station nearby, enjoy jogging around Imperial Palace. (total is around 5Km)
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7 years ago
An oasis in a busy city
My friends and I wanted to visit the imperial palace, however it seems that you can only visit the outside garden since if you wanna go inside the palace doors' gardens you will have to reserve tickets in advance which we did not know. Evens, the outside garden where huge and quite magnificent, it is a really nice and tranquil place to walk around. Overall this day had been a nice change from my other days spent in Tokyo.
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9 years ago
Nice view from the outside, inside is a different story
Inside the Imperial Palace grounds there are more security guards than visitors. I wander past some overgrown trees and toward the Imperial Household Building. Outside, a small marquee has been erected. At the marquee, I am given the opportunity to write my name, nationality, and a nice message for His Imperial Majesty the Emperor. I write ‘Happy Birthday, His Imperial Majesty the Emperor’, for today is His Imperial Majesty the Emporer's 81st birthday. I take care to write it down neatly and deliberately. A sign hanging above tells me that my message of ‘Happy Birthday, His Imperial Majesty the Emperor’, will be duly forwarded to its highest destination as the expression of my warm congratulations. After signing, I continue along a one-way system. The grass here is completely overgrown and is in desperate need of a gardener. The Japanese tax payer covers the cost of outer garden maintenance, which boasts neatly trimmed grass cut on a daily basis. It feels like a waste of money to me. Inside it is a very different story. Perhaps the tax money doesn’t quite make it into the ‘inner sanctum’, or maybe His Imperial Majesty the Emperor is required to cut the grass here by himself. I am not sure, but regardless, the grass inside the Imperial Palace grounds is an overgrown shambles. I walk idly along, somewhat unimpressed. I head up a slope before passing through the remains of Chujakumon Gate, and into the public gardens. These gardens are somewhat more remarkable than the rest of the Imperial Palace grounds; the grass here is cut really short. Before me stands an orchard. His Imperial Majesty the Emperor personally planted three of these cultivars in 2008. The Sanbokan Grapefruit, a sour orange; the Tangor, a cross between a tangerine and an orange; and the Cherry Orange, a variety of Mandarin orange. The orchard was created on the site of the Castle of Edo based on His Imperial Majesty the Emperor’s idea that visitors would be able to enjoy the popular fruits of the Edo era.
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