Written by Shirley T
Thursday, 14 October 2010 00:00
Formerly Edo Castle or better known as Imperial Palace today is the royal residence of Japanese Emperor and his family. Originally, it was located in Kyoto, the former capital of Japan prior to Tokyo. After Tokugawa shogunate was overthrown, Emperor Meiji moved his residence to Tokyo and named as Tokyo Castle in 1868. A year later, the castle was renamed as 'Imperial Palace'.
Surrounding by moats, stonewalls and watch towers at almost every gate, Imperial Palace occupies a sizable area of Chiyoda in the heart of Tokyo with one of the best preserved and clean public parks I have ever seen. Pines lined up neatly over the trimmed grass contrasting the cityscape of skyscraper and government buildings. The public ground of Imperial Palace also breeds joggers and bikers apart from passing tourists.
If one wish to visit Tokyo Imperial Palace, I highly recommend you to make an advance application to visit the inner palace grounds. It is a guided walking tours of 75 minutes, which required one to bring along a passport ID and approved application documents. We were not aware about this requirement, thus we had to end up visiting the public gardens and East Garden.
Despite of that, we did not miss the famous landmark of Tokyo Imperial Palace - Nijubashi Bridge or Double
Bridge. Some people call it Meganesbashi Bridge owing to its appearance which resembles a pair of eyeglasses.
Indeed the best spot to catch a glimpse of Japan's royal residence from afar, also popular among avid photographers that are armed zoom lenses. The palace itself is closed to public all year round except on 2 Jan (New Year's holiday) and 23 Dec (Emperor's birthday).
If you have time, take a stroll along the moats, admire and appreciate the old architecture of royal gates and miss not, the water reflection of watch towers.
Free application to visit inner ground of Imperial Palace, click here.
About 5 minutes walk from Exit 2 at Nijubashimae Subway Station (Chiyoda Line) or Exit B6 at Hibiya Subway Station (Mita Line). Alternatively, take a 15 minutes stroll from Tokyo Station (JR Line), either passing through the high-class Marunouchi area or taking the underground tunnel.
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