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Tokyo Imperial Palace remains the primary residence of Japan’s Imperial Family. Much like residences for heads of state around the world, the palace buildings and inner gardens are not open to the public. However, twice a year (December 23 and January 2), you can enter the inner palace gardens to see the Imperial Family waving from a balcony.
The ancient name for Tokyo was Edo. From the 1600s to 1867, shoguns ruling Edo occupied this site in central Tokyo, living in Edo Castle. In 1868, when the shogunate was displaced, Japan moved its capital from Kyoto to Tokyo and occupied the Edo Castle site. After fire destroyed much of the complex, they built a new imperial palace in 1888.
Take note of the stone walls and towers and the Nijubashi bridges crossing the moat from outer to inner palace grounds. They are reminiscent of structures on the site hundreds of years ago when moats and ramparts served a critical protective function.
To the east of the residence is the Imperial Palace East Garden, which is open to the public daily, except Mondays and Fridays. The venue offers peaceful green spaces and ponds with a landscaped Japanese garden. Relics from early castle walls are visible. Nearby are the National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, the MOMAT Kogeikan Crafts Gallery and the Science Museum.
Just north of the palace is Kitanomaru Park, a public area that is the site of Nippon Budokan Hall. The Budokan is a world famous martial arts, wrestling and music performance center that has hosted international stars from The Beatles to Taylor Swift. The Yasukuni Shrine is a short walk northwest.
The palace is located in the center of Tokyo on a 1.3-square mile (3.4-square kilometer) site. It is just a few minutes from Tokyo station. Otemachi station is the closest to the East Garden and Kudanshita is closest to Budokan.
Give yourself lots of time at Tokyo Imperial Palace. Below are the most popular activities:
If you're seeking more activities, take a look at our Tokyo things to do page.
Overall, the hotel is nice and clean except there is a lot of dust in the carpet and the location may be a bit far from the subway station.
Located in a quieter area of Tokyo but close to a train station to get anywhere you want to go. Hotel and rooms are extremely clean. A little on the small side but we didn't spend much time there so not an issue. The breakfast was included for us and was fantastic. Big selection of Japanese and Western ...
We really enjoyed our stay here. In fact, it was our favorite hotel that we stayed in while visiting Japan. They even had complimentary champagne for us in celebration of our honeymoon. My only regret is that we didn't stay here for a longer period of time. We will definitely stay here again next ...
Staff were excellent, hotel bar had a great view, good local area to pick up any essentials and easy access into the station.
Superb service. They go out of their way to accommodate any requests. Location is very convenient to attractions and shopping. Clean and specious rooms. Shower pressure is great ( as in all Japanese hotels we stayed). They only suggestion I would offer is to improve breakfast. Long lines. Absent ...