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Kokyo (Imperial Palace)

Kokyo (Imperial Palace)Kokyo map Kokyo is the residence of Emperor (Tennou). The Emperor's family normally are living here. (We pronounce it as "Kookyo".)

It is on the site of Edo Castle, which was built in 1457, was expanded after establishment of Edo government in 1603, then was changed to Kokyo after establishment of new Meiji government in 1869.

The site is surrounded by moats, and is about 1.5 km from east to west and about 2 km from north to south.

A north part and a southeast part of the site are opened to the public as garden, park or area of cultural facilities. Through these areas, open roads pass.

Other part of the site is "Kokyo".
In this area, there are the Palace, the Emperor's residence and other buildings.
Basically the area is surrounded by moats and stone walls.
It has 9 gates connected with bridges across the moats.

Imperial Household Agency Homepage : One of the administrative divisions of the national government

Kokyo-Gaien National Garden /1/

Kokyo-Gaien parkIt is a large park located southeast of Kokyo, and is about 500 meters from east to west and 800 meters from north to south.
Originally it was a garden of Imperial family, but was opened to the public as a national park in 1949 after World War II.

The main area is covered with gravel roads, lawns and Japanese black pines. It is very wide open space in the center of giant city.
And it is the approach to Kokyo, so many tourists visit here.

Kokyo Gaien National Garden official website

Tokyo, Kokyo (Imperial Palace), Nijubashi

Sakurada-mon gate /2/

Sakurada-mon geteIt is a gate located at the southwest corner of Kokyo-Gaien garden.
It was the south gate of Edo Castle and was built in 1636.
In 1860, Naosuke Ii, the top assistant samurai of Shogun, was assassinated near this gate. It is known that this case had led to the collapse of feudal Edo government.
So it is designated as a nationally important cultural property.

Nijubashi bridges /3/

Nijubashi bridgesThere are two bridges across a moat near Sakuradamon.
Both these briges are called "Nijubashi". "Niju" means "double".
The near bridge is made of stone, and the other is made of steel, and the stone bridge is often displayed through photos.
There is the main gate of Kokyo across the stone bridge.
We usually cannot cross them. We can cross only at the Emperor's birthday (December 23th) and congratulations of new year to the Emperor (January 2nd).

Palace /4/

PalaceIt is the central building of Kokyo, and was built in 1968.
It has 7 wings, and there are the office of Emperor, ceremonial halls, banquet halls and other facilities in them.
It has 2 stories above the ground and 1 underground story, and the looks is modern.
There is a large forecourt on the east side of the Palace. We can see the Emperor on the veranda of Palace at the Emperor's birthday and congratulations of new year to the Emperor.
For visiting, you (foreign tourist) must make a reservation by the day before visit.
You can see the palace in the guided tour. (But you cannot enter the palace.)

Kokyo East Garden /5/

Kokyo East GardenIt is a garden in the east part of the site of Kokyo, and is call "Kokyo-higashi-gyoen" in Japanese.
In this area there was the main building of Edo Castle, which had been destroyed by fire in 1657 and had not been rebuilt. After that some imperial building were built in this area.
And since 1968 it has been opened to the public. Sometimes it is used as a venue of court event.

This area also is surrounded by moats.
There are Japanese gardens, Edo Castle ruin, a few historical constructions, a museum and other spots.
Basically we can visit here every day except Monday and Friday. (Additionally it is closed at some other special days.)
The entrances are Oote-mon Gate, Hirakawa-mon Gate and Kitahanebashi-mon Gate.

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to here

To Kokyo-Gaien and Nijubashi bridges

  • From Tokyo station, about 10-15 minutes on foot.
  • Near the following subway stations.
    Nijubashi-mae (Chiyoda Line) / Hibiya (Hibiya, Chiyoda, Mita Lines) / Sakurada-mon (Yurakucho Line)

To Kokyo East Garden

  • From Tokyo station to Oote-mon Gate, about 10 minutes on foot.
  • Near the following subway stations.
    Ootemachi (Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tozai, Hanzomon, Mita Lines) / Takabashi (Tozai Line)

Lawns and Japanese black pines on Kokyo-Gaien
Kikyo-mom Gate at the north end of Kokyo-Gaien
Wadakura fountain park in Kokyo-Gaien
A statue of Masashige Kusunoki in Kokyo-Gaien
Sakurada-mon Gate
Nijubashi (Stone bridge)
Nijubashi (Steel bridge)
East side of the palace
Photo by nove
The veranda of Palace
Photo by nove
Emperor and Empress at the velanda of Palace
Photo by nove
Oote-mon Gate
Ruin of Edo Castle A museum in Kokyo East Garden

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