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The Imperial Palace East Gardens (皇居東御苑, Kōkyo Higashi Gyoen) are a part of the inner palace area and are open to the public. They are the former site of Edo Castle's innermost circles of defense, the honmaru ("main circle") and ninomaru ("secondary circle"). None of the main buildings remain today, but the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses still exist.

Edo Castle was the residence of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Emperor Meiji also resided there from 1868 to 1888 before moving to the newly constructed Imperial Palace.

The foundation of the former castle tower

A wide lawn and the remaining foundation of the former castle tower can be found on top of the hill, where the castle's innermost buildings once stood. The castle tower was completed in 1638 as the tallest castle tower in Japan's history. But only a few years later in 1657, it was destroyed by citywide fires and has not been rebuilt since.

In place of the former buildings in the secondary circle of defense (ninomaru) at the foot of the hill, a nice Japanese style garden has been created.

Ninomaru Japanese garden

Access

The Otemon entrance to the East Gardens is a short walk from Otemachi Station on the Chiyoda, Tozai, Marunouchi, Hanzomon and Mita Subway Lines. It can also be reached in a 10-15 minute walk from Tokyo Station.

Orientation in Tokyo

Hours & Fees

Hours

9:00 to 16:30 (until 17:00 from mid April through August; until 16:00 from November through February). Admission ends 30 minutes before closing.

Closed

Mondays, Fridays, New Year (Dec 28 to Jan 3) and some special occasions. If Monday or Friday is a national holiday, the gardens are closed on the following day instead.

Admission

Free

Hotels around Tokyo

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Backpackers Hostel K's House Tokyo
One of the most popular hostels in Tokyo.
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Hotel Century Southern Tower
The most conveniently located hotel in Shinjuku, just a few steps from the station entrance.
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Hotel Metropolitan Marunouchi
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Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku
Just a few steps from Shinjuku Station, this hotel ranks among Tokyo's best values.
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Keio Plaza Hotel
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Ritz Carlton Tokyo Hotel
Leading 5-star hotel on the top floors of Tokyo Midtown.
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Shangri-La Hotel
Adjacent to Tokyo Station, this is the city's most conveniently located 5-star hotel.
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Tours and Experiences

Page last updated: September 9, 2016