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Tokyo Imperial Palace remains the primary residence of Japan’s Imperial Family. Much like residences for heads of state around the world, the palace buildings and inner gardens are not open to the public. However, twice a year (December 23 and January 2), you can enter the inner palace gardens to see the Imperial Family waving from a balcony.
The ancient name for Tokyo was Edo. From the 1600s to 1867, shoguns ruling Edo occupied this site in central Tokyo, living in Edo Castle. In 1868, when the shogunate was displaced, Japan moved its capital from Kyoto to Tokyo and occupied the Edo Castle site. After fire destroyed much of the complex, they built a new imperial palace in 1888.
Take note of the stone walls and towers and the Nijubashi bridges crossing the moat from outer to inner palace grounds. They are reminiscent of structures on the site hundreds of years ago when moats and ramparts served a critical protective function.
To the east of the residence is the Imperial Palace East Garden, which is open to the public daily, except Mondays and Fridays. The venue offers peaceful green spaces and ponds with a landscaped Japanese garden. Relics from early castle walls are visible. Nearby are the National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, the MOMAT Kogeikan Crafts Gallery and the Science Museum.
Just north of the palace is Kitanomaru Park, a public area that is the site of Nippon Budokan Hall. The Budokan is a world famous martial arts, wrestling and music performance center that has hosted international stars from The Beatles to Taylor Swift. The Yasukuni Shrine is a short walk northwest.
The palace is located in the center of Tokyo on a 1.3-square mile (3.4-square kilometer) site. It is just a few minutes from Tokyo station. Otemachi station is the closest to the East Garden and Kudanshita is closest to Budokan.
Make the most of your visit to Tokyo Imperial Palace. Below is a list of some of the most popular things to do:
If you're looking for more options, take a look at our Tokyo things to do page.
Located in Chiyoda, this hotel is 0.6 mi (0.9 km) from National Diet Building, and within 3 mi (5 km) of Tokyo Imperial Palace and Nippon Budokan. Tokyo Dome and Meiji Jingu Shrine are also within 6 mi (10 km). Tameike-sanno Station is 6 minutes by foot and Kokkai-gijidomae Station is 6 minutes.
Located in Shiodome, this spa hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kabuki-za Theatre, Ginza Wako Building and Zojoji Temple. Hibiya Park and Tokyo Tower are also within 2 mi (3 km). Shiodome Station is only a 2-minute walk and Tokyo Shiodome Station is 2 minutes.
Located in Ginza, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Mitsukoshi and Kabuki-za Theatre. Tokyo International Forum and Ginza Six are also within 15 minutes. Takaracho Station and Kyobashi Station are within a 5-minute walk.
Located in Chiyoda, this hotel is within 2 miles (3 km) of National Diet Building, Yasukuni Shrine and Nippon Budokan. Imperial Palace Garden and Tokyo Imperial Palace are also within 2 miles (3 km). Kojimachi Station is 5 minutes by foot and Hanzomon Station is 5 minutes.
Located in Shiodome, this spa hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Ginza Six and Ginza Graphic Gallery. Ginza Wako Building and Kabuki-za Theatre are also within 1 mi (2 km). Shiodome Station and Tokyo Shiodome Station are within a 2-minute walk.
Located in Chiyoda, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Marunouchi Building and Tokyo International Forum. Tokyo Imperial Palace and Imperial Palace Garden are also within 1 mile (2 km). Tokyo Station is only a 2-minute walk and Otemachi Station is 6 minutes.
Located in Yurakucho, this hotel is steps away from Tokyo Midtown Hibiya and Tokyo Takarazuka Theatre. Tokyo International Forum and Hibiya Park are also within 10 minutes. Hibiya Station is only a 4-minute walk and Yurakucho Station is 8 minutes.
This family-friendly Tokyo hotel is located in the business district, within a 5-minute walk of Wadakura Fountain Park, Museum of the Imperial Collections and Masakado Kubizuka. Imperial Palace Garden and East Garden are also within 10 minutes. Otemachi Station is 7 minutes by foot and Nijubashimae Station is 8 minutes.