The Imperial Palace (皇居, Kōkyo) in Tokyo is the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan and the imperial family. It is located in Chiyoda City, a central ward in Tokyo. The palace grounds cover a vast area of approximately 1.15 square kilometers (285 acres) and are surrounded by moats and massive stone walls.

Imperial Palace Tokyo bridge

The current Imperial Palace was built on the site of the former Edo Castle, which was the residence of the Tokugawa shogunate during the Edo period (1603-1868). After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the shogunate fell, and the imperial capital was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. The Edo Castle was then transformed into the new Imperial Palace.

While most of the palace buildings are not open to the public, visitors can enjoy the beautiful East Gardens (皇居東御苑, Kōkyo Higashi Gyoen), which are open throughout the year and offer a serene and picturesque setting. The gardens contain well-maintained lawns, ponds, walking paths, and a variety of trees and flowers and are a much-beloved cherry blossom viewing spot.

Imperial Palace Tokyo kikyomon gate
Imperial Palace Tokyo kikyomon gate

Guided tours of the Imperial Palace grounds are also available, allowing visitors to see some of the palace buildings from the outside and learn more about the history and cultural significance of the site. These tours are free but require advance reservations through the Imperial Household Agency’s website.

Tokyo Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace is a short walk from Tokyo Station and is also easily accessible from several other nearby subway and train stations, including Otemachi Station, Nijubashimae Station, and Hibiya Station.

The palace is close to other attractions in the Tokyo Station area such as Hibiya Park, the National Diet Building, and the Marunouchi business district.

Tokyo Trip Checklist

  • If you’re traveling on the bullet train see our guide on how to reserve and buy Shinkansen tickets online.
  • The Much-loved Japan Rail Pass Surged in Price by a massive 70% in October.
  • We recommend a 1,2 or 3-day Tokyo Unlimited Subway Pass to get around Tokyo cheaply and easily.
  • If you plan on visiting Mt Fuji check out our list of the best Mt Fuji group or private tours from Tokyo
  • You’ll need a prepaid sim or Portable WIFI to stay connected in Japan
  • To ensure you have all the important things covered see our Tokyo travel guide.
  • For more hotel booking help check out the following popular articles:
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