Imperial Palace (Former Edo castle)

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Name: Imperial palace (Former Edo castle)

Place: 1-1 Chiyoda Chiyoda Tokyo

Built: 1457, Imperial palace from 1869

Owner : OTA Dokan, TOKUGAWA Ieyasu and TOKUGAWA shoguns, Meiji Emperor and later Emperors

Overview: Basic structure of the castle was built by OTA Dokan, a famous samurai warrior and buddhist monk.TOKUGAWA Ieyasu made Edo Castle his base after he was offered eight eastern provinces (Kanto Plain) by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. After Ieyasu received the title of Sei-i Taishōgun in 1603, Edo became the center of Tokugawa’s administration.

It was the residence of the shōgun and location of the shogunate, and also functioned as the military capital during the Edo period of Japanese history. After the resignation of the shōgun and the Meiji Restoration, it became the Tokyo Imperial Palace since 1869. Before that, the Imperial Palace in Kyoto was residence of Emperors almost 1,100 years.

Some moats, walls and ramparts of the castle survive to this day. Current East gardens was the place for main administrative buildings including former Honmaru (literally the main circle) and Ninomaru (the second circle) and the main keep or tower (known as the tenshudai) areas of Edo Castle. The keep and its multiple roofs were constructed in 1607 and ornamented with gold. It was destroyed in the 1657 Fire of Meireki and not reconstructed. The foundations of the keep are all that is left. After the fire of Nishinomaru Palace (formerly the shōgun’s residence) in 1873, the new imperial Palace Castle was constructed on the site in 1888.

After some reconstruction, current the Imperial Palace and the headquarters of the Imperial Household Agency are located in the former Nishinomaru enceinte (West Citadel) of the Edo Castle. Admission: free, entering to the area of the Imperial Palace (Nishinomaru area) is allowed only by guided tour (reservation in advance recommended) and entering the East gardens is free (no reservation).


guided tour of the Imperial Palace:

opening hours: the East gardens

map of the Imperial Palace