The Imperial Palace East Gardens

Enjoy your day at Tokyo’s vast historical landmark, The Imperial Palace East Gardens

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The Imperial Palace East Gardens is a historical park located to the east of the Imperial Palace. It reminds you Central Park in New York. Although it’s near Tokyo Station, within the grounds of the garden you miraculously cannot hear the bustling metropolis.
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Imperial Palace East Gardens

On the grounds of the Imperial Palace East Gardens, which has been open to the public since 1968, stand the innermost circles of defense for old Edo Castle: the honmaru, ninomaru and sannomaru. At the sannomaru, there are also handicrafts that are open to the general public where you can gain insight into Japanese history. The castle tower also remains and visitors can climb up the stone-paved path. The tower was built to have a view of the entire area and so you can have a panoramic view of the Imperial Palace.

Cherry Blossom Viewing at the Imperial East Gardens

Within the Imperial East Gardens, there is a picturesque Japanese garden with ponds and garden stones among a lush green grove of trees. When you walk through the garden, you can certainly undergo a sense of relief and calmness from the rush of the city.

In the springtime, the Imperial East Gardens is favored as a spot for cherry blossom viewing. There are over 280 different types of cherry blossom trees, some of the most common being Yama Zakura and Satosakura. Cherry blossom season is a tremendously important occasion for many Japanese people and in the springtime, many public places are filled with cherry blossom spectators. A famous pastime for many Japanese during this season is what is called hanami. During hanami, you gather with people from the same university, workplace or with family to enjoy drinks and food underneath the blossoms. Another sought-after location for hanami is Ueno Park. Unfortunately, the manners and morals of those who drink during this time have become a problem and as such, the Imperial Palace East Gardens have prohibited food and beverage as well as sports on its grounds, which make this the place to visit should you wish to genuinely enjoy the flowers in bloom. You can also visit the gardens once you have finished the tour of the Imperial Palace, and take a breather from your busy tour of Tokyo.

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The Imperial Palace East Gardens are accessed through the Otemon Gate of the Imperial Palace. From Otemachi Station, take exit C10. From here, walk straight until you reach an intersection; you will see a sign for Otemon on the road, and directly in front of you, you can see the foliage of the Imperial Palace. Cross the road and you will see the Otemon Gate.

From Tokyo Station to Otemachi Station:
Take the Marunouchi Line direct to Otemachi Station (2 minutes, ¥170)

From Shinjuku Station to Otemachi Station:
Take the Marunouchi Line direct to Otemachi Station (20 minutes, ¥200)

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6 years ago
So serene
There was not much that I could do here when I visited. But the atmosphere is so serene and perfect for calm walks.
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9 years ago
Beautiful gardens with a strange history
The view from the ruined Donjon in the Imperial Palace East Gardens is the old Edo Castle Honmaru Goten Palace. Now just a large lawn full of people sleeping and enjoying the sunshine. Formally, this area was lined with buildings. Presumably these too were burnt down during the Great Fire of Meireki; a fire that is considered to be one of the worst disasters in Japanese history. A fire that left the old Edo city, now known as Tokyo, in complete ruin. The fire was said to be caused by a priest. According to legend, there was a cursed kimono that killed teenage girls, and the priest decided to burn it on that day in March 1657. It didn’t help that the buildings of that time were made from flammable materials such as wood, were built closely together, and had thin paper walls. The fire spread to all parts of Tokyo, leaving destruction and devastation in its wake. From the ruined Donjon, there is barely a trace left of the fire. All that remains is the site of an old castle now replaced by a neatly cut lawn, an orchard of lemon trees, and the overly developed city skyline looming in the distance.
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