Imperial Palace visit guidance（English）
The Imperial Palace with its grounds is located on the site of the former residential palace of
the successive Tokugawa Shoguns in the Edo Period. Following the Meiji Restoration in 1868,
Emperor Melji moved here from Kyoto which had
been the Imperial capital for more than a thousand years. Since then, this is where the Emperor
has resided and, as Imperial Palace, where the various Imperial ceremonies and snoeA functions
have been held.
To replace the Meiji Palace burnt down in 1945, the present Palace was built and was completed in 1968.
The Imperial Palace grounds extend over an area of approximately 1,150,000 square meters, and are surrounded by a moat and rampart with eight gates.
Principal buildings can be seen during the tour
This three storied keep, reconstructed in 1659, was watch tower, and is one of the oldest remnants of Edo Castle. The rampart is about 15 meters in height and the keep itself is some 16 meters high.
Imperial Household Agency Building
This building is the head office of the Imperial Household and was constructed in 1935. The third floor of the building was used as the temporary Imperial Palace for some years after World War II until the new Imperial Palace was built.
Fujimi-tamon Defence-House and Hasuike-bori (Moat)
Fujimi-tamon (defense house) on top of the rampart is a type of donjon built for both defense and decorative purposes. It was also used as a repository and armory. At the foot of the high stone wall, there is a moat called the "Hasuikebori(lotus moat)" where in summer lotus flowers bloom in profusion.
This plaza is located in front of Chowaden Hall of the Imperial Palace. On the occasion of New Year's Day and the Emperor's Birthday, the Emperor and Empress and Members of the Imperial family stand on a balcony temporarily installed outside the corridor of Chowaden Hall and receive the greetings of the people gathered in the plaza, to whom the Emperor delivers an address.
Kyuden (The Imperial Palace)
The Imperial Palace completed in 1968 is a ferro-concrete structure and consists of 7 buildings, including Seiden State Function Hall, Homeiden State Banquet Hall, Chowaden Reception Hall and the Emperor's daily office.
Seimon-tetsubashi (Bridge) (Nijubashi)・ Fushimi-yagura
Seimon-tetsubashi Bridge is commonly called "Nijubashi" and is loved by peoples. And it is said that Fushimi-yagura Keep was moved here from Fushimi-castle in Kyoto during the reign of the third Shogun lemitsu early 17th century.
Principal buildings in the East Gardens
(excluded from the tour course)
The main donjon of the Edo Castle was completed in 1607. At that time the rampart
was about 14 meters high and on top of it the main donjon rose the greatest
castle towers in Japan but it was destroyed in the Great
Fire of 1657. Since then it has never been reconstructed and only the stone wall
that formed its foundation remains today, which is about 10 meters high now.
At the time of the construction of the new Imperial Palace building, Honmaru and Ninomaru areas were rearranged to make a garden. This garden is named "The East Garden of the Imperial Palace", and is now open to the public.
Toka-gakudo (Concert Hall)
The Tokagakudo building is a concert hall and was constructed in 1966 in honor of the auspicious occasion of the 60th Birthday of Empress Kojun (deceased in 2000), who was a great lover of classical music. The roof is in the shape of a flower worked in colourful ceramic tiles.
Music Department Building (Gakubu),Archives and Mausolea Department (Shoryobu)
Music Department (Gakubu) is in charge of the preservation and performance of the
Gagaku (ancient court dance and music classed as an Important National Cultural
Property) as well as the performance of western-style
music when a State Banquet is held at the Imperial Palace.
The Archives and Mausolea Department (Shoryobu) is in charge of administration for preserving important and official documents and books concerning the Imperial House and also the surveillance and maintenance of Mausolea and tombs of the Imperial Family located in various places in Japan.
Gagaku in Japan is the most ancient, classical music perfected generally in the middle of the Heian era (around 10th century). Gagaku Performance is held for the general public every autumn.
Ninomaru Garden consist of the strolling garden to which the original garden sited inside the Edo castle was restored, and the Ninomaru grove which reminds us of Musashino grove located on the outskirts of Tokyo.
San-no-maru Sho-zo-kan (The Museum of the Imperial Collections)
The collection of 6,000 art pieces owned and inherited by the Imperial family was
donated to the Japanese government in 1989.
For the preservation and study of this collection, Sannomaru Shozokan (The Museum of the Imperial Collections) was built in 1992, and open to the public from 1993.
Furthermore, items bequeathed by the late Princess Chichibunomiya in 1996, left behind by Empress Kojun in 2001, bequeathed by the late Princess Takamatsunomiya in 2005, as well as further donations from the Mikasanomiya family in 2014, were added; approximately 9,800 art objects are housed today.
Tour course 、Tour takes approx.one hr.and 15mins.
Buildings can be seen during the tour
- 1Someikan (Visitors' House)
- 4Hasuike-bori (Moat)
- 5Fujimi-tamon Defence House
- 6Imperial Household Agency Building
- 7Kyuden Totei (The Palace East Courtyard)
- 8Kyuden (The Imperial Palace)
- 9Seimon-tetsubashi (Bridge) (Nijubashi)
- 11Yamashita-dori (Street)
Buildings in the East Gardens
- 1Tenshu-dai(Base of the main tower)
- 2Toka-gakudo (Concert Hall)
- 3Music Department Building
- 4Archives and Mausolea Department
- 5Bairin-zaka (Slope)
- 6Shiomi-zaka (Slope)
- 7Symbolic Prefectural Trees
- 9Doshin-bansho (Guardhouse)
- 10Hyaku-nin-bansho (Guardhouse)
- 110-bansho (Guardhouse)
- 12Site of the Matsu-no-o-roka (Corridor)
- 13San-no-maru Sho-zo-kan
(The Museum of the Imperial Collections)
Tour of the Imperial Palace Grounds (Admission free)
Tours are conducted twice a day: at 10:00am and 1:30pm.
Those who wish to join the tour can register either in advance or on the spot, both on a first come, first served basis.
The tours are not conducted on national holidays (excluding Saturday), Sunday, Monday and new year holidays between 28 December and 4 January.
Visitor Office, Administration Division, Maintenance and Works Department, Imperial
The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace (Higashi Gyoen) (Admission free)
|From 1 March to 14 April||9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.|
|From 15 April to the end of August||9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.|
|From 1 September to the end of September||9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.|
|From 1 October to the end of October||9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.|
|From 1 November to the end of February||9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.|
Last entry: 30 minutes before the closing time
The Garden is closed on the following days and occasions.
- Every Monday and Friday (open on National Holiday except the Emperor's Birthday)
- In the event that a National Holiday falls on a Monday, the Garden will be closed on the Tuesday immediately following the National Holiday.
- From December 28 to January 3
- In circumstances where it is deemed necessary to close the Garden due to Imperial Court functions or other occasions.
Entrance and exit gates: (Free of charge)
Ote-mon(Gate), Hirakawa-mon(Gate) and Kita-hane-bashi-mon(Gate)
Further information is available from the office.
From Tuesday to Thursday TEL 03-3213-1111 ext. 3621
Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays
Sannomaru Shozokan (Admission free)
|From 1 March to 14 April||9:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.|
|From 15 April to the end of August||9:00 a.m. - 5:45 p.m.|
|From 1 September to the end of September||9:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.|
|From 1 October to the end of October||9:00 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.|
|From 1 November to the end of February||9:00 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.|
Last entry: 15 minutes before the closing time
- Same as the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
- Special periods; For preparation and arrangement of next display
Entry and exit gates
Same as the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
Further information is available from the office.
From Monday to Friday TEL 03-3213-1111 ext. 3602
Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays TEL 03-3213-1177
Autumn Gagaku Recital (Application is necessary, Admission free)
- To apply, use a double postcard (restricted to only one application per person.).
- In case of many applicants, visitors are selected by lottery.
Further information is available from the Music Department.
TEL 03-3213-1111 ext. 3416