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.