8 Things You Should Do at Tokyo Imperial Palace

Tokyo Imperial Palace is the residence of Japan’s Imperial family, situated near the Edo Castle. In the ancient Edo period, the Imperial family used to rule over the state from this palace.

Usually, the palace is not open. Its doors open only on January 2 (New Year’s Greeting) and December 23 (Emperor’s Birthday) where guests can enter the internal royal residence grounds and see the individuals from the Imperial Family, who show up on a gallery.

Although you cannot enter the buildings, you can have a guided tour of the palace grounds. These are offered throughout the year, and can be applied by reservation or same-day registration.


You can simply walk around 10 minutes on foot from the Tokyo station. It is also around 10 to 15 minutes walk from Takebashi Station, Sakuradamon Station, Nijubashimae Station or the Otemachi Station.

In this article, we have made a list of top things that you are recommended to do during your visit at the Tokyo Imperial Palace.

The Imperial Palace is home to the Emperor of Japan who has a general stream of strategic visits. The grounds of the royal residence are likewise open to the general population on specific events and are encompassed by various attractions:

1. Kokyo Gaien

Translated as the “Imperial Palace Outer Garden,” it is a spacious park on the entrance of the Palace where normally many people come for jogging. It’s basically the Emperor’s carport. Two scaffolds over the channel can be seen from the recreation center.

The area is famous with joggers. On the off chance that there’s a royal occasion, dignitaries in Japanese limousines with police escorts might be seen driving nearby.

In case you’re fortunate you might even see the Emperor himself.

2. Budokan

Located on the north of the Imperial Palace, the Budokan is a lively place.

It holds events for sports such as Martial Arts, and also has capacity to organize concerts. They even hosted The Beatles’ concert in 1960s.

3. Kitanomaru Park


The Kitanomaru Park is also on the north side of the Imperial palace and has large moats around it. Once, in ancient period, it was the defending walls of the Edo castle. It was not reconstructed after being damaged in 1873 due to burning.

Now at this park, only a few moats, guard houses, and old walls remain. It has been filled with museums and gardens from 1969 AD and before, it was an army camp.

4. Birthday of the Emperor

As discussed previously, the Japanese Imperial family only shows up on public occasions and on December 23, it’s his birthday.

So a public event is organized and you can see inner venues of the Palace. It also remains open during New Years on 2nd of January. Many people surround the area and wave small Japanese flags to celebrate.

5. Tour of Palace

You can get a guide throughout the tour by applying on the website of Imperial Household Agency. The guides are in Japanese however they provide an audio headset in English.

It is a great activity if you want to experience the traditional side of Tokyo.

6. Imperial Palace East Gardens

The remnants of the internal sanctums of Edo Castle encompassed by trees, organization structures and wonderful patio nurseries.

The development of Edo Castle is one of the best designing accomplishments ever — streams were occupied and tremendous zones of manufactured area were added to Tokyo. In 1873 Edo Castle blazed to the ground. What remains today are the stronghold’s canals, dividers, watch houses and the base of a manor tower that was at one time the tallest working in Japan.

7. Chidorigafuchi Moat

Chidorigafuchi is one of 12 huge canals that circle the Imperial Palace. It has a little stop with prominent pontoon rentals. The channel is encompassed by Sakura trees.

This is famous for the cherry blossoms. You can rent a boat and ride over the rivers in this area.

8. Zenkoku-ji Temple (Buddhist sanctuary)

Somewhat of a climb from the Imperial Palace range, this radiant sanctuary up in the Iidabashi/Kagurazaka region is certainly justified regardless of the trek.

The lobbies and gardens are tranquil and flawless.