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Imperial Palace

Primary residence of the Emperor of Japan

Japan, Tokyo
1-2 hours

The Imperial Palace (Kōkyo) in Tokyo, Japan, is a symbol of the nation's heritage and the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan where the Emperor undertakes official duties.

The Imperial Palace stands on the site of the former Edo Castle, which served as the residence of the Tokugawa shoguns during the Edo period (1603-1868). After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, it became the residence of the Emperor of Japan.

How to visit?

For visitors. however, it is only limited accessible: You need to book a tour well in-advance to visit the grounds, otherwise you are not allowed to enter. These tours are usually booked out very fast as the capacity is kept low. You can start applying online or via telephone on the first day of the month preceding the tour date. More information can be found on the website of the Imperial Household Agency





The grounds on the Imperial Palace holds a significant historical and cultural importance, but nowadays a visit to the limited accessible areas might not interest everybody. You basically have 2 options:

The "classic" option: The most popular option is visiting just the outside of the imperial residence grounds, especially where the the two-story high keep (Sakurada Tatsumi Yagura on Google Maps) is located next to the moat which is usually filled with lots of water. Then you can walk to the East Gardens (Kokyo Higashi Gyoen), which are accessible to the public for free. You can explore these gardens featuring traditional Japanese landscapes, ruins of the old castle structures, and ponds.

The inner palace grounds are not generally accessible to visitors except on special occasions, such as the Emperor's Birthday (December 23) and New Year's Greeting (January 2).