Imperial Palace

Historic Building

What is the Imperial Palace like?

The Imperial Palace is the residence of the Imperial Family located in Tokyo, Japan. Within its vast grounds, there are beautiful gardens and historical architectural structures. Historically known as Edo Castle, the Imperial Palace continues to serve as an important venue for official events of the Imperial Family. Key features of the Imperial Palace include the main building called the Palace and the moat surrounding it, offering a striking contrast with the surrounding high-rise buildings of the city center. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the Imperial Palace, its historical significance, and the abundant natural environment.

Can ordinary people enter the Imperial Palace?

Can we ordinary people and tourists enter the Imperial Palace? Of course, you cannot visit the residences of the imperial family. However, the Imperial Palace has a vast site, partly because it is the site of the former Edo Castle. It is possible to tour some of them. During the New Year, cherry blossom season, and autumn leaves season, many people visit the Imperial Palace and wait in long lines to enter. Applications for tours are accepted during other seasons, so anyone who applies can take a tour. And you can tour for free. Since there are holidays and there is a daily capacity, we recommend checking the information on the Imperial Household Agency website in advance. It also includes the necessary documents.


A simple guide while looking at photos of the author’s visit to the Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace is located in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo. It is relatively close to Tokyo Station, and if you exit the ticket gate at Tokyo Station’s Marunouchi exit and walk straight along the main street in front of it, you will arrive at the Imperial Palace. Now, I’ll take you through the tour while looking at photos from when I visited the Imperial Palace to see the cherry blossoms.


When you arrive at Tokyo Station, exit from the Marunouchi Central Exit. Please be careful not to confuse it with “Marunouchi Underground Central Exit.”


When you exit the Marunouchi Central Exit, you will see a stone-paved walkway stretching straight. The Imperial Palace is at the end of this passage.


When you reach the Imperial Palace, you will see the famous bridge. It’s called Nijubashi. As it is the site of Edo Castle, the moat used to protect the castle still surrounds the Imperial Palace.


Fish and waterfowl live in the moat.

The Imperial Palace has nine gates. These are Otemon, Kikyomon, Sakashitamon, Imperial Palace Main Gate, Sakuradamon, Hanzomon, Inuimon, Kita Kikyobashimon, and Hirakawamon.


This is Sakuradamon.

Sakuradamon is famous for the assassination of Ii Naosuke, a feudal lord, by samurai from the Mito domain in 1860 (the 7th year of Ansei), the so-called “Sakuradamon Incident”.


This gate is Sakashitamon.




During the cherry blossom season, you can enjoy the view of the cherry blossoms in full bloom inside the Imperial Palace along with the buildings that are the remains of Edo Castle.



The area around the Imperial Palace is also famous for its cherry blossom viewing, and many people visit Chidorigafuchi every year. It is one of the most recommended spots to view cherry blossoms in Tokyo.



If you ever come to Japan, please come and visit us. The cherry blossoms in spring are recommended, but the autumn leaves are also beautiful. However, both can get very crowded, so if you want to take a more leisurely tour, it might be better to apply and visit on weekdays.