Ryan and I certainly had our walking shoes on, having already taken in the sights of Tokyo Dome Stadium, LaQua in Tokyo Dome City, the Yasukuni Shrine complex, the Yushukan War Memorial Museum, the Nippon Budokan and Kitanomaru Park all in one day!
Not that we were finished yet mind you.
Next on our sightseeing list was the Imperial Palace East Gardens (Kōkyo Higashi Gyoen).
Although you can visit the Tokyo Imperial Palace (primary residence of the Emperor of Japan), you need to get the necessary clearance and book weeks ahead of time – something that the “no planning overseas holiday Lotter brothers” in no way actually bothered to do.
Instead, we opted to view the East Gardens which are part of the inner palace area but open to the general public.
The gardens are the former site of Edo Castle’s innermost circles of defense, the honmaru (“main circle”) and ninomaru (“secondary circle”), and whilst none of the original main buildings remain today, the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses do 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.)
We crossed the impressive moats and bridges, marveled at the ancient stonework of the remaining walls, walked to the top of the remaining foundation of what was once the tallest castle tower in Japan’s history (long since destroyed by fires though), and enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the beautifully maintained lawns and gardens.
We spotted the famed Mt. Fuji-view Keep as well as the Tokagakudo Concert Hall, and yes, Ryan once again hauled out his stuffed pig for a photo session.
And the view of Chiyoda didn’t hurt either.
Having now sated our tourist sight seeing urges, we decided that it was time to leave Tokyo and return to Yokohama – which of course meant even more walking was to shortly follow…
Related Link: Imperial Palace East Gardens