The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan (2019)

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #1 – a main entrance to the Gardens directly west of Tokyo Station through the remains of Wadakuramon Gate (to the left of the moat)

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #1 – a main entrance to the Gardens directly west of Tokyo Station through the remains of Wadakuramon Gate (to the left of the moat)

 

We began one morning with a stroll through the public Gardens of the Imperial Palace in the center of downtown Tokyo, in the Marunouchi district, across from the Tokyo Station (main downtown train station) where our shuttle bus had dropped us off — our ship was anchored at the Harumi Passenger Terminal sever miles/kilometers southeast of the Imperial Palace.  We spent the rest of the afternoon in the Ginza district continuing to enjoy the architecture (our own extension to the Tokyo architecture walking tour of the day before [see our blog post, “Tokyo Architecture Walk, Honshu Island, Japan (2019)”]), having an excellent sushi luncheon, and shopping.

 

The Imperial Palace (former Edo Castle):  “The Imperial Palace has occupied the site of the former Edo Castle since 1868 [the Meiji Restoration].  Edo Castle was the home of the Tokugawa Shoguns and the seat of the feudal samurai government which ruled Japan from 1503 until 1867.  After the end of feudal rule in 1967, Edo Castle was vacated by the Shogun and transferred to the new Imperial Government.  The Emperor moved from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1869, after residing in Kyoto for over a millennium.  There has been a castle on this site since 1457, when a castle that occupied the site of the Honmaru, Ninomaru and Sannomaru areas was built by the samurai Ota Dokan.  From 1590 this castle was the home of Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu, who became the first Tokugawa Shogun in 1603.  The Honmaru area included the massive keep tower, and the palace of the Shogun.  Edo Castle was extended by the second and third Shoguns, Hidetada and Iemitsu, with work completed by 1660.  Most of the original castle buildings have been lost to fire.  The current Imperial Palace buildings were completed in 1968, in the Nishinomaru, which had been the palace of the retired shoguns during the Tokugawa shogunate.” – Kokyogaien National Garden Office, Ministry of the Environment (Japan)

 

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #2 -- this entrance to the Gardens is directly west of Tokyo Station with the Palace Hotel Tokyo and the Nippon Life Insurance Marunouchi Garden visible behind the fountains

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #2 — this entrance to the Gardens is directly west of Tokyo Station along Marunouchi 1st Street and goes past Wadakuramon Fountain Park (not pictured, on the left) with the Palace Hotel Tokyo and the Nippon Life Insurance (building and) Marunouchi Garden visible behind the fountains

 

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #3 – looking downtown from Wadakura Fountain Park in the Gardens at some of the nearby high rise office buildings downtown in the Marunouchi district

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #3 – looking downtown from Wadakura Fountain Park in the Gardens at some of the nearby high rise office buildings downtown in the Marunouchi district

 

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #4 – a more expansive view of some of the Marunouchi district high rise office buildings adjacent to the Imperial Gardens

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #4 – a more expansive view of some of the Marunouchi district high rise office buildings adjacent to the Imperial Gardens across from the Wadakuramon Gate and Wadakura Fountain Park

 

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #5 – as we strolled through the beautiful pine trees in the outer Gardens, we were struck by how calm and quiet it was in the Gardens

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #5 – as we strolled through the beautiful pine trees in the outer Gardens, we were struck by how calm and quiet it was in the Gardens – in complete contrast with our experience in many other major city parks (e.g., New York City’s Central Park, London’s Hyde Park, etc.); this was truly an “oasis” in the heart of the city (of 35.6 million people)

 

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #6 – the manicured lawn and carefully trimmed and maintained pine trees presented a spectacular screen in front of the Marunouchi district office buildings

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #6 – the manicured lawn and carefully trimmed and maintained pine trees presented a spectacular screen in front of the Marunouchi district office buildings

 

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #7 – the rebuilt (1968) Imperial Palace stands on a hill behind the Main Gate behind visible stone bridge and the (hidden) Nijubashi Bridge (a second, iron bridge)

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #7 – the rebuilt (1968) Imperial Palace stands on a hill behind the Main Gate behind visible stone bridge and the (hidden) Nijubashi Bridge (a second, iron bridge); this is one of the most popular portrayals of the Imperial Palace

 

The Main Gate and the Nijubashi Bridge:  This gate is the main, formal entrance to the Imperial Palace grounds.  It is used only when the Emperor leaves the Palace for important State occasions, for the official visits to the Palace by State guests, or when ambassadors present their credentials to the Emperor.  Ambassadors are given the choice of arriving at the Palace in a horse-drawn carriage.  The Main Gate to the Palace is open to the public on January 2nd and for the Emperor’s Birthday.  Visitors to the Palace entering through the Main Gate cross two bridges, the Main Gate Stone Bridge and the Main Gate Iron Bridge.  The Nujubashi Bridge refers to the Iron Bridge, not the two bridges.  During the Edo period (1603-1867), because of its height above the moat, the Nijubashi Bridge was a wooden bridge reinforced underneath with a further wooden bridge, hence the name.  The Palace buildings are hidden behind trees to the right of the Nijubashi Bridge… Special Historic Site Edo Castle Specified on May 30, 1963.

 

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #8 – more office buildings (with lots of communications antennas) are clustered across from the Imperial Gardens southeast corner’s former Imperial Castle moat

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #8 – more office buildings (with lots of communications antennas) are clustered across from the Imperial Gardens southeast corner’s former Imperial Castle moat (still filled with water, but with both pedestrian and vehicular bridges now)

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

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