Imperial Palace East Gardens

Sights Type / Parks & gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens
Location

Tokyo, Japan

Address

1-1 Chiyada, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan

Getting there

The Otemon entrance to the East Gardens is a short walk from Otemachi Station on the Chiyoda, Tozai, Marunouchi, Hanzomon and Mita Subway Lines. It can also be reached in a 10-15 minute walk from Tokyo Station.
Closest Stations: (walking time)
Otemachi Station (6 minutes)
Takebashi Station (7 minutes)
Nijubashimae Station (10 minutes)
Tokyo Station (14 minutes)

Telephone

+81 3-3213-1111

More information

http://kunaicho.go.jp, https://facebook.com/pages/%E7%9A%87%E5%B1%85%E6%9D%B1%E5%BE%A1%E8%8B%91-Imperial-Palace-East-Gardens/193978890629159, https://foursquare.com/v/imperial-palace-east-garden

Prices

Free admission

Opening hours

Hours: 9:00 am to 4:30 pm (until 17:00 from mid April through August; until 4:00 pm from November through February). Admission ends 30 minutes before closing.

Closed: Mondays, Fridays, New Year (Dec 28 to Jan 3) and some special occasions. If Monday or Friday is a national holiday, the gardens are closed on the following day instead.

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The Imperial Palace East Gardens (皇居東御苑, Kōkyo Higashi Gyoen) are a part of the inner palace area and are open to the public. They are the former site of Edo Castle's innermost circles of defense, the honmaru ("main circle") and ninomaru ("secondary circle"). None of the main buildings remain today, but the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses 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.

A wide lawn and the remaining foundation of the former castle tower can be found on top of the hill, where the castle's innermost buildings once stood. The castle tower was completed in 1638 as the tallest castle tower in Japan's history. But only a few years later in 1657, it was destroyed by citywide fires and has not been rebuilt ever since.

In place of the former buildings in the secondary circle of defense (ninomaru) at the foot of the hill, a nice Japanese style garden has been created.

Edo castle

The main attraction of the Imperial Palace East Gardens are the remains of Edo Castle's moats, bridges, gates, walls and guardhouses. 

The Tokugawa Shoguns ruled Japan from Edo Castle from 1603 to 1868. 

Edo Castle was one of the greatest Engineering feats in history. Its outermost moat once enclosed a vast area that extended beyond the current site of Tokyo Station. Its inner moats had great stone walls that towered over Edo. 

The sea was moved to protect the castle from tsunami and storms. Forts on artificial islands were built in Tokyo Bay to protect the castle from ships. 

Today the castle is gone. It burned down in 1873 and was demolished. Its outer moats were mostly filled to make way for development. The current Imperial Palace used many of the Castle's moats and walls in its design. 

The inner most defenses of Edo Castle are mostly intact at the East Gardens. These are impressive for their scale and the history that surrounds them.

Tower remains

The base of a guard tower that was once the tallest building in Japan symbolizing the power of the Shogun. It was decorated in gold. The tower burned down in 1657 and was never reconstructed. 

Administration buildings

The grounds of the East Gardens are filled with unremarkable administration buildings of the Imperial Household Agency and related institutions. There's also a private music hall known as the Tokagakudo built in 1963 as a birthday present for Empress Kojun. Its architecture is oddly out of place. 

Ninomaru garden

A pleasant Japanese water garden on the east side of the grounds. 

Trees of Japan

A total of 260 trees donated by every prefecture of Japan are planted just west of the Ninomaru Garden. 

Cherry blossoms

The Imperial East gardens are a popular spot for viewing cherry blossoms in Spring. The garden closes relatively early, so the area is spared any wild parties. 

Reviews by visitors

Fron Shinjuku station we took the Marunouchi Line to the Tokyo Station. We walked west until we reached Uchibori-dori. There were many walkers and joggers here. We walked down until we reached the entrance of the Imperial Gardens. This was our first stop in our trip to Japan. It's free and a great outdoor activity. We arrived shortly after 9 am on Sunday. We were given a map that was very easy to follow. It provided information about the different areas within the gardens. You could also have it stamped with a commemorative stamp prior to leaving. We spent about two hours here. There are restroom facilities and nearby seating areas. You go at your own pace. There were small paths you could venture throughout. Small brook, waterfalls, bamboo groves, irises, and several moats surrounding the whole area on all sides. There is also a wide open lawn. If you walk up to the remains of the main tower, you get a great view of the surrounding city.

~507fridadzul

We only walked around because the palace was closed the day we went. It was very large, but mostly empty with some Bonsai trees, moats, and a few swans. Not worth coming here to see the gardens alone, as there are many great gardens in Tokyo and Kyoto already.

~L H

Beautiful gardens near Tokyo station. The gardens are huge and make you forget you are in the city. It is well-designed and is an expression of the character of the city, much like Central Park is to New York City.

~Garrek S

Extensive gardens, now open to the public. You'll need to collect a ticket, but it's free; I think the tokens just give them a way to track and limit numbers. The gardens are beautifully kept and of several types--big open, grassy areas, forested groves, Japanese ponds and wisteria trellises, an iris garden. There are also some interesting old structures associated with the palace's military past--guardhouses and so forth. There's a small shop near the main entrance that sells snacks and souvenirs. A relaxing place to stroll for a few hours.

~Genjidog

This place was the highlight of my 3 day visit to Tokyo. Be prepared to walk a lot! I especially enjoyed the gardens and the historical art museum all near Tokyo Station, which we walked from to the palace grounds.

~kinderhar

A very pleasant garden to stroll through. Free entry. If you book an Imperial Palace tour through the Imperial Hosehold Agency you can take a short cut from the palace to the garden and then continue north to the Modern Art Museum.

~Aitku

This was one of those things we felt we had to do to check off the box on one of the most touristy places in Tokyo. The palace wall that you can see from outside the moat looks nice and the garden is big and a good place for a stroll and to relax but not the most ornate or beautiful place.

~Sara G

Yes, the gardens and parkland here live up to their name! They are pretty spectacular-royal and imperial indeed!

Enormous beautifully kept trees. Glowingly colorful flowering bushes and shrubs, carved, trimmed, oruned to perfection. And, if you are lucky, and in season, glorious barieties of pink, white, fuscia Sekua-Cherry Trees!! The icing on the cake that are Tokyo's parks! 

A must see on any day.

~Lisa K

The gardens of the Imperial Palace are free to visit - the gardens are beautiful and offer many photo opportunities and there's some information on the history of the palace and the buildings in the garden as you walk round. Would definitely recommend if you have several days in Tokyo, particularly if the weather is good.

~mcglassa

The imperial garden has lush greenery and a big moat around the walls. It is free to enter so would be a good place to go and read a book in the sun. The gardens are very clean and huge. However there is nothing substantially amazing about the gardens so if you are pressed for time on your travels don't feel bad about not visiting it because you won't be missing out on anything culturally.

~Georgia P

This garden offers some nice elements of typical Japanese gardens but is not outstanding. The tea house offers light refreshments if you have time to wander. The gardens offer a stark contrast to the city skyline of Tokyo.

~coffslocal_13

The Imperial Palace is laid out on acres and acres of beautiful land in the heart of the city. It is surrounded by an impressive moat and gorgeous gardens and fields. Walk all around and read about the history there. Then take a nice nap on perfectly groomed lawns. Yes it OK to do this. This place is meant to be enjoyed and treasured.

~BCM475

Took an extended work lunch to stroll through the gardens. There's really not that much to see although the entry is free. Check the opening times as some weekdays are closed.

There are some ruins of a tower, a pond, gardens etc however I thought it was much more worthwhile visiting Shinjuku Gardens.

~wanderlust_rambler

We came here first thing in the morning before the sun got too hot and we had a great time walking through the park and gardens. At another time of the year it would probably have been more beautiful but it was nice all the same.

Be aware that only a limited number of people are aloud in the gardens at any one time.

Also it will get very very hot, especially during the summer. I would recommend dressing accordingly.

~Jonathan G

Would suggest going earlier in the day as this attraction is popular with coach trips. The best area is by the ponds, very beautiful, peaceful and as you would expect from a Japanese garden.

~warobbo

Very Very Nice park. But be prepared to do some walking. It's quite secluded, very beautiful, and worth it.

~Gregg A

This feels more like a park rather than a garden belonging to a fancy palace. However, the pond in the middle of the garden is very peaceful with lots of shade and a cool breeze at least the day I went. This was quite nice.

~piero p

It looks no strict security like as many western countries as the guard probably does not expect any serious attack using strong weapon. You can enjoy happy approach to the gate.

~masaofc

Closed on Mondays, which was frustrating. We went to the fish market in the morning and then made our way up to see these gardens, which isn't exactly a short walk. Could see the palace, but then walked (pretty far) to the gardens, only to find them closed. 

Not sure what it is with Asia and having their parks completely gated off and weird opening times, but it's pretty annoying.

~astaplet82

The best part are the lovely bridge over the moat which you can cross and the partial view of some buildings inside the Imperial Place compound . Too much gravel. Upkeep is probably easier since I guess they get lots of crowds on some days. We were there on a Sunday afternoon and it wasn't too bad. The Hibiya Park nearby is much nicer.

~francoise1948

I missed this on my first two trips. Didn't do my research and only visited the southern parts of the Imperial Palace. These gardens are not super mind blowing, but they are peaceful and relaxing to see and they are free some days. It is wide open, so if it is a hot day, it might get a little uncomfortable. My favorite area is the lower part down in the north-east area of the park. Lots of trees and I felt it was more interesting to see. :)

~gokujou

this is a great garden to visit in the middle of a busy day spent touring central Tokyo. Stop in here and walk around to take a break and nearly forget you're in the middle of one of the most populous cities in the world. 

There are some places where you can no longer hear the traffic. There is also a wide, open field that's perfect for a picnic. Like a small version of NYC's Central Park, and very close to the palace (which is very hard to find/see). A great place to bring lunch and relax.

~gcincinati

Because we were there almost end april, the cherry blossom season was almost over but there were still a few cherry blossom trees blooming but only a handful. Weather was warm about 24deg. The garden was not too big but quite attractive simple as in zen style.

~Yvonne L

In a busy city these gardens give a welcome relief. Free entrance gave us two hours of strolling around the grounds of the Imperial Palace. There is nothing to see of the Palace or any buildings apart from a Tea house and guard houses as most were destroyed in the war but the gardens were wonderful and not to be missed on a sunny day. There was even a band playing on the lawn.

~sunchasingbrits

Tokyo is certainly a large city, and one of the most populous ones in the world. Within the multitude of office buildings and other edifices in the city, there is the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. This area is quite impressive; one enter the gardens across a moot (and yes, there is water in it!) and through the stone barricade. What is visible is the perfectly manicured lawns and flora. One has the opportunity to walk along the walkways and definitely be close to nature. What are also visible are the guardhouses and vestiges of an original structure. Well worth the visit.

~JosephFahey

The East Gardens are beautiful, but rather small. It's really a garden to stroll through but not a place where you can enjoy reading a good book etc. , since there are very few places where you can sit and relax. I preferred the atmoshpere of other gardens like e.g. the one in Yoyogi Park (Meji Garden). Or parks like Ueno Park.

~Vijk01

Like usual Japanese garden, it is lovely too. Most of the plants , trees and flowers are in harmony. No wonder Japanese people are really proud of their garden. It may take 1 to 2 hrs to explore. It's free to enter. Anyway it's worth to visit.

~Naingaung9591

Many cherry trees adorn these gardens, the atmosphere is quite relaxing and great if you want to take pictures. Gardens are worth to visit, especially during Cherry Blossom season. We recommend to spend, at least, 30-60 minutes in this place. There are many other Gates and gardens surrounding Edo Imperial Palace, but the East area is the most recommended one.

~MikeFlox

The gardens are a wonderful place to stroll and enjoy nature. Allow a couple of hours as it Apis a large area. There are various rest spots dotted here and there. You can buy souvenirs, have a snack or just take some weight off your feet. Grab a free map and follow the paths around. You can see some of the guardhouses, a part of the original keep, the watchtower and some beautiful ponds. Of particular interest is the 

Ninomaru Garden which has trees donated from each prefecture of Japan. We were there in April and the cherry blossoms were stunning. The wisteria was also out and looked so beautiful. This is a pleasant place to relax, take a breath and enjoy. Entrance is free.

~geniegal

Perfect spot to chill, have a picnic or nice walk. Especially beautiful in April, when cherries blossom and make amazing view. You can see countells flowers and plants in there. If you like gardens, you won't be disappointed :)

~AlicjaWG

You can see a lot of beautiful flowers and trees in this garden. Unfortunately we went there after the cherry blossoms, but people say they are amazing. We went to this park looking for a view of the Imperial Palace, but got really disappointed, you can't even see it.

~Carla S

you haven't been to Tokyo without visiting the Imperial Palace Gardens. Cherry Blossoms were @ peak beginning of April at our visit. Nice place to stroll around, Old Palace Guards barracks still intact. Lots of greenery and nice vistas.

~Fredtdv

We went in the East a Gardens in April.that is one of the best time to visit as the cherry blossoms were in bloom. There is a small pond with a bridge, with beautifully landscaped rock garden. The pond is full of many koi fish , in different colors. There are also shrubs, trees and many flowers, which made the visit worthwhile.

~Monsieur_Calcutta

The garden is big and you could see many things in this one: a little garden with a lot of flowers, a temple, a museum, a little bridge or a place to see the view. So it's a good thing to visit!

~VDLV

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