Tokyo Imperial Palace

14 of 74 spots
in Tokyo
82% 1461
votes
Moats and walls surround the imperial palace
× How was it?

The current Imperial Palace (皇居, Kōkyo) is located on the former site of Edo Castle, a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls in the center of Tokyo, a short walk from Tokyo Station. It is the residence of Japan's Imperial Family.

Edo Castle used to be the seat of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 until 1867. In 1868, the shogunate was overthrown, and the country's capital and Imperial Residence were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. In 1888 construction of a new Imperial Palace was completed. The palace was once destroyed during World War Two, and rebuilt in the same style, afterwards.

From Kokyo Gaien, the large plaza in front of the Imperial Palace, visitors can view the Nijubashi, two bridges that form an entrance to the inner palace grounds. The stone bridge in front is called Meganebashi (Eyeglass Bridge) for its looks. The bridge in the back was formerly a wooden bridge with two levels, from which the name Nijubashi (Double Bridge) is derived.

Nijubashi Bridge

The inner grounds of the palace are generally not open to the public. Only on January 2 (New Year's Greeting) and December 23 (Emperor's Birthday), visitors are able to enter the inner palace grounds and see the members of the Imperial Family, who make several public appearances on a balcony.

Furthermore, guided tours of the palace grounds are offered during the rest of the year, although no buildings are entered. The tours are held in Japanese, and an English pamphlet and audio guide are provided. The tours must be reserved in advance through the Imperial Household Agency (see links below).

The Imperial Palace East Gardens are open to the public throughout the year except on Mondays, Fridays and special occasions. More information is available on the East Gardens page.

Guided tour through the Imperial Palace grounds

Get There and Around

The Imperial Palace is a 10 minute walk from Tokyo Station.

Orientation in Tokyo

Last updated: June 10, 2015
Anything we can improve?  Let us know
We strive to keep Japan Guide up-to-date and accurate, and we're always looking for ways to improve. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:
Thank you for your feedback.

Hotels around Tokyo

Find a hotel:

  • Tokyo
  • Fukuoka
  • Hakone
  • Hiroshima
  • Hokkaido
  • Kamakura
  • Kanazawa
  • Kansai Airport
  • Kyoto
  • Mount Fuji
  • Nagasaki
  • Nagoya
  • Narita Airport
  • Nikko
  • Niigata
  • Okinawa
  • Osaka
  • Sapporo
  • Sendai
  • Shima Peninsula
  • Takayama
  • Tokyo
  • 1 night
  • 2 nights
  • 3 nights
  • 4 nights
  • 5 nights
  • 6 nights
  • 7 nights
with:
  • JAPANiCAN
  • Hotels.com
  • Booking.com
  • Agoda
  • Hostel World
  • Japanese Guest Houses
  • Rakuten Travel
Sponsored

Sakura Hotel Jimbocho

Tokyo Dome, Nippon Budokan, Akihabara, and Imperial Palace are walking distance. Free Wi-Fi, Cafe open 24 hours, big projector screen for watching the games.

Japan Guide Recommends:

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi

5-star hotel just a few steps south of Tokyo Station.

Book:
Agoda Booking

Hotel Metropolitan Marunouchi

Adjacent to Tokyo Station, this is one of the city's most convenient and comfortable hotels.

Book:
Agoda Booking

Imperial Hotel Tokyo

This leading Japanese 5-star hotel is located a 5 minute walk from Yurakucho Station.

Book:
Agoda Booking

Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

By many considered Tokyo's finest hotel.

Book:
Agoda Booking

Marunouchi Hotel Tokyo

A 4-star hotel just across the street from Tokyo Station.

Book:
Agoda Booking

Shangri-La Hotel

Adjacent to Tokyo Station, this is the city's most conveniently located 5-star hotel.

Book:
Agoda Booking

The Peninsula Tokyo

This 5-star hotel is located just a short walk from Yurakucho Station.

Book:
Booking

Tours and Packages