Tag Archives: chiyoda

Japan 2014 – 18 Going home via Tokyo Station (2014-10-04) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 05 DEC 2015

Having just enjoyed a stroll through the Imperial East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Ryan and I decided that perhaps it was time to exit Tokyo for the day and make our way back to Yokohama – and to do this we decided that we needed to use the iconic Tokyo Station!

IMG_20141004_145910 ryan lotter walking amongst the skyscrapers of the marunouchi business district, chiyoda, tokyo, japan

To get there, we would need to walk through Marunouchi, Chiyoda, one of Japan’s most prestigious business districts.

During the Edo Period, this area was located within the outer moats of Edo Castle and contained the residences of some of Japan’s most powerful feudal lords and together with neighboring Otemachi, Marunouchi is now home to the headquarters of many of Japan’s most powerful companies, particularly from the financial sector.

IMG_20141004_150235 walking amongst the skyscrapers of the marunouchi business district, chiyoda, tokyo, japan

Mitsubishi Estate owns a lot of the land in this district, and over the last decade has driven a major facelift of Marounouchi, replacing pretty much all the older office buildings with towering, modern skyscrapers – a cityscape that completely awed us two Capetonians walking underneath their shadows!

IMG_20141004_150219 walking amongst the skyscrapers of the marunouchi business district, chiyoda, tokyo, japan

Eventually, we spotted the iconic red brick facade of Tokyo Station, one of Japan’s busiest railway stations (in terms of number of trains per day – over 3,000) and terminal of multiple shinkansen (bullet train) lines!

DSC07445 iconic tokyo station railway station in marunouchi business district, chiyoda, tokyo, japan

The impressive red brick building (on the Marunouchi side of this sprawling train station complex) dates from the Meiji Period and truly is an amazing (and busy!) structure to behold.

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(Amazingly, despite the immense underground warren of levels, lines and passages, Ryan and I did actually manage to find a train and make our way back to Yokohama, our base of operations for this first leg of our Japan 2014 trip!)

Related Link: Tokyo Station | Marunouchi

Japan 2014 – 17 Strolling through the Tokyo Imperial Palace grounds (2014-10-04) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 04 DEC 2015

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.

DSC07435 mt fuji view keep at the imperial palace east garden, chiyoda, tokyo, japan

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.

DSC07423 ryan lotter walking into the imperial palace east garden, chiyoda, tokyo, japan

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.)

DSC07437 in the imperial palace east garden, chiyoda, tokyo, japan

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.

DSC07433 walking around the imperial palace east garden, chiyoda, tokyo, japan

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.

DSC07425 ryan lotter and his pig in the imperial palace east garden, chiyoda, tokyo, japan

And the view of Chiyoda didn’t hurt either.

IMG_20141004_145238 exiting the imperial palace east garden, chiyoda, tokyo, japan

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…

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Related Link: Imperial Palace East Gardens

Japan 2014 – 16 Kitanomaru Park and the Nippon Budokan in Chiyoda, Tokyo (2014-10-04) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 19 NOV 2015

My brother Ryan and I were certainly on the move on our first unaccompanied day in Japan. Having already seen the Big Egg stadium at Tokyo Dome City, relaxed at LaQua, reflected at the Yasukuni Shrine complex, and viewed a Mitsubishi Zero at the Yushukan war museum, we now found ourselves making our way through towards the Tokyo Imperial Palace grounds.

DSC07398 Tayasu-mon gate entrance at kitanomaru park, chiyoda, tokyo

However, standing in our way first was the peaceful Kitanomaru Park – which as we were about to discover, also plays host to the famous Nippon Budokan martial arts hall!

DSC07410 nippon budokan martial arts hall at kitanomaru park, chiyoda, tokyo

Originally built for the judo competition in the 1964 Summer Olympics, the 14,471-seater indoor arena Nippon Budokan (often shortened to just Budokan) is famous for both the varied martial art tournaments it has hosted over the years (including the infamous Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki fight, precursor to the modern mixed martial arts discipline), as well as the many international music concerts it has played home to over the decades!

(In case you were wondering, all the “Live at the Budokan” albums – like the Bryan Adams one on my shelf back home – are recorded here!)

DSC07402 russian martial arts exhibition outside nippon budokan at kitanomaru park, tokyo

As it so happened, this imposing octagonal structure was playing host to a Russian martial arts delegation on the day we were passing through, meaning that we were treated to a number of Russian martial art demonstrations and exhibitions – including Cossack fighting of all things!

DSC07400 Tayasu-mon gate entrance at kitanomaru park, chiyoda, tokyo

But enough about a sports hall.

Kitanomaru Park, originally the location of the northernmost section of Edo Castle, is a public park in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan located North of the Tokyo Imperial Palace.

As already mentioned, the park is the location of the Nippon Budokan, but it also plays home to the Science Museum as well as the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

IMG_20141004_135342 lawns at kitanomaru park, chiyoda, tokyo

After crossing a beautiful pedestrian bridge, walking over a rather green moat, and then finally entering the park through the ancient Tayasu-mom gate (built in 1685), you enter a tranquil, lush green park with rolling lawns, established trees, and even a lake!

DSC07414 lush lawns at kitanomaru park, chiyoda, tokyo

Relaxed, peaceful, green – you almost completely forget that you are in the middle of one of the world’s biggest cities!

IMG_20141004_135603 ryan lotter in phone booth at kitanomaru park, chiyoda, tokyo

Truth be told though, Ryan and I didn’t stop here for very long – after all, we were still on our mission to visit the Imperial Palace gardens!

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Related Links: Kitanomaru Park | Nippon Budokan

Japan 2014 – 14 The Yasukuni Shrine in Chiyoda, Tokyo (2014-10-04) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 11 NOV 2015

With the sights of Tokyo Dome and LaQua at Tokyo Dome City now done and dusted, Ryan and I turned on Google Maps and looked for something green to head towards. (In general, this is pretty much how we quite often selected where to go whilst in the big cities – Simply head for the big green open spaces on the map!).

DSC07326 walking the side streets in chiyoda tokyo japan

We settled on visiting the slightly controversial Yasakuni Shrine, primarily because of the possibility of finding a war museum near this massive shinto shrine – which of course meant a lengthy walking journey to Chiyoda, Tokyo. (Seriously, you guys have no idea as to just how many kilometers Ryan and I traversed on foot over the course of our two week long holiday trip!)

DSC07322 public restroom in chiyoda tokyo japan

The walk through Chiyoda itself was particularly pleasant, thanks to cool overcast conditions, a beautiful mix of towering modern and intricate old buildings, and a lot of greenery all around. We also took care to take a journey through many of the side streets, allowing us to stumble on quite a few pretty cool Japanese sights.

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Yasukuni Shrine is a Shinto shrine founded in 1869 by Emperor Meiji, dedicated to those who lost their lives whilst in the service of the Empire of Japan.

The spirits of about 2.5 million people, who died for Japan in the conflicts accompanying the Meiji Restoration, in the Satsuma Rebellion, the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War, the First World War, the Manchurian Incident, the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War, are enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine in form of written records, which note name, origin and date and place of death of everyone enshrined.

DSC07332 concrete torii gate at yasukuni shrine in chiyoda tokyo japan

The Honden (main hall) shrine also serves to commemorate anyone (including non-Japanese such as Taiwanese and Koreans ) who died on behalf of the empire, people such as relief workers, factory workers, and other ordinary citizens.

DSC07387 irei no izumi memorial yasukuni shrine in chiyoda tokyo japan

This then is a very solemn place to visit, with a tranquil heaviness that hangs in the atmosphere.

The massive grounds feature a number of memorials and statues, as well as some truly massive torii (steel, bronze, concrete, wood) and mon gates (hinoki cypress) under which you need to pass.

IMG_20141004_132438 exiting yasukuni shrine in chiyoda tokyo japan

(If fact, the first torii is the impressive Daiichi Torii, a massive steel arch that was at the time of its creation, the largest torii in Japan. It stands approximately 25 meters tall and 34 meters wide!)

IMG_20141004_132629 ryan lotter showing how wide this torii gate is - yasukuni shrine in chiyoda tokyo japan

One of the sights I found truly mesmerizing was the tall Statue of Omura Masujiro, which was created by Okuma Ujihiro way back in 1893. It was Japan’s first Western-style bronze statue, and honours Omura Masujiro, the man who is known as the “Father of the Modern Japanese Army”.

DSC07383 omura masujiro statue at yasukuni shrine in chiyoda tokyo japan

All in all, the visit to this massive 6.25 hectare complex was a fantastic, if sobering experience, and definitely worth a recommendation.

DSC07335 entrance to shinto shrine - yasukuni shrine in chiyoda tokyo japan

(Notice the white gloved policeman bearing down on me. Turns out one can’t actually take photos of this particular building! Oops…)

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Related Link: Yasakuni Shrine | Yasukuni Jinja