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Kokyo (The Imperial Palace)

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Offering nature of all four seasons and the old Edo castle

(C) Tokyo Convention&Visitors BureauThe Imperial Palace is in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, and contains the Gosho residence of the Emperor and Empress, and the Kyuden main palace for various events. It is the former Edo castle of the Tokugawa family, which controlled the military regime of the Edo Shogunate for 264 years from 1603. The castle was designated as the Imperial Palace in 1868, making Tokyo the location of the palace in place of Kyoto, the location of the palace for more than 1,000 years.

Surrounded by moats, the Imperial Palace is on a huge plot of land approximately 115 hectares, with a vast green area. It has eight gates, including the front gate near the Nijubashi Bridge and the Kikyo-mon gate used when the public is permitted to enter the palace.

The palace also has Seiden, used when the Emperor performs the New Year's Day ceremony, confers decorations and meets foreign heads of state, as well as other buildings for various events, including Homeiden, for banquets and other large parties. In addition, there are buildings related to the Imperial Household Agency and the Momijiyama silkworm factory, part of which is a public park called Higashi Gyoen (East Park).

The general public can visit the Imperial Palace if they make advance applications. The tour brings visitors to buildings such as the Kyuden main palace and Fujimi Yagura tower, built in 1659. The route around the Imperial Palace is about 5 kilometers. Free from traffic lights and with a difference of around 26 meters between the lowest and highest point, it is a running course popular among entry-level to experienced joggers.

Information

Address: Chiyoda, , Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-3213-1111(Visitor section, management department, management division, Imperial Household Agency)
Hours open to visitors: From 10:00 and 13:00 (tours are held twice per day, each taking about 1 hour)
Closed: Sundays, Saturdays, national holidays, Jul. 21–Aug. 31, year-end and new-year holidays and when certain events are held.
Directions: About 5-minute walk from Nijubashi-mae Station on Chiyoda subway line and 10-minute walk from JR Tokyo Station.

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