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