The Japan Imperial Palace in Tokyo is one of those places I have visited multiple times in Tokyo. While the palace itself isn’t really that interesting (ehm.. mainly because you don’t get to see it), the East gardens (imperial gardens Tokyo) are a definite must-visit if you get the chance.
Follow along for a photo series with all of our tips!
Japan Imperial Palace (Kōkyo)
The Tokyo Imperial Palace Japan is located on the former site of Edo Castle. This imperial castle Tokyo is a so-called ‘flatland castle’ that was built in 1457 by Ōta Dōkan.
The area of the Japan Royal Palace Tokyo is a large park surrounded by a moat and massive stone walls. You can get here in 10 minutes walking from Tokyo Station.
Just outside Tokyo Station
In front of the palace lies a large concrete slab, which isn’t perhaps as glamorous as you would expect arriving here. The only good view of the palace is from here though, with the iconic bridge (Nijubashi, meaning ‘double bridge’) in front.
Get early or late in the day to the Tokyo Imperial Gardens and Palace, so you have some space to take photos
I have said this many times in my Tokyo articles about structures in the city, but again, in WWII the building of the Imperial Palace was destroyed and it was rebuilt in the same style later. You can’t get into the inner grounds of the palace, although on January 2nd and December 23rd, you are able to enter the inner palace grounds and see members of the Imperial Family.
Of course, there are plenty of guided Tokyo imperial palace tours that take you around the palace grounds during the year, but I never did one as they are only in Japanese.
Nick smelling the flowers :)
Watchtower of the Tokyo imperial palace Tokyo looking out on the moat around the palace
Can you spot the Tokyo royal palace in the back?
So that’s about all you’ll see of the Japan emperors palace Tokyo: the white watchtower in the back. More interesting is the visit the Imperial Palace East Gardens, which I’ll take you to next
Imperial Palace East Gardens (Kōkyo Higashi Gyoen)
The gardens of the Tokyo palace are open to the public. While none of the original buildings of the Edo Castle period remain, you can still see the moat, walls and entrance gates of that time, which are impressive as well.
On the palace grounds, you will find the Ninomaru Japanese garden, which is a great place to stroll around and find your inner ZEN, like you can see me doing below (back in 2008):
Admission Ticket (Entrance is free, though) to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
Some ZEN time at the east garden of imperial palace Tokyo
Walking through the Tokyo imperial palace gardens is a perfect activity on a sunny day!
Stunning flowers at the Japanese imperial palace gardens Tokyo
My brother in front of the imperial palace Tokyo entrance to the gardens (2008)
Love at the imperial palace Tokyo Japan
Plan your own imperial palace Tokyo visit with these helpful resources:
Japan Imperial Palace Tokyo Tour
Official Imperial Palace Guide – www.jnto.go.jp
How to See the Imperial Family on New Year’s Day – www.kunaicho.go.jp
The Imerial Household Agency (Guided Tours) – www.sankan.kunaicho.go.jp
Tokyo imperial palace opening hours: The palace is not open to the public, check the opening times for the gardens below!
Tokyo Imperial Palace East Gardens
How to get to Imperial Palace Tokyo
To enter the Imperial Palace gardens Tokyo, take the Otemon entrance (10-15 minute walk from Tokyo Station to Imperial Palace)
The Imperial Palace Tokyo Garden Opening Hours
The Tokyo imperial palace hours for the Garden vary from month to month. In general, they are open from 9AM to 5PM (mid April-August) or 9AM to 4PM (November-February), closed on Monday, Friday, New Year (28 Dec – 3 Jan)
Japan Palace Gardens Admission
The Tokyo imperial palace entrance fee is completely 0 Yen! We love free things! You will get a token that you have to return, so they know if there is anyone that’s still wandering about when they close the gates
More things to do close to the east gardens of imperial palace and the rest of Tokyo on GetYourGuide
Let us know: Would you be interested to visit imperial palace Tokyo and the amazing gardens? We think you would!
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