I have always been fascinated with how other people live. I watch lifestyles of the rich and famous and look at the “cribs” of the athletes and mansions of actors and rock stars. I imagine the kind of life they have. What about the life of an Emperor? Can you imagine living not in a mansion but a castle?
Japan is the only country today that has an emperor. The emperor of Japan today is Emperor Akihito and he is referred to as the “Present Emperor” or in Japanese Tenno Heika (天皇陛下 / His Imperial Majesty the Emperor). He has been the emperor since 1989 when his father Emperor Hirohito died. His father served as the emperor from 1926 to 1989. Emperor Akihito is the 125th emperor of Japan. The Emperor of Japan today no longer rules the country, similar to the monarchy of England, he represent an important effigy and symbol for the promotion of the culture.
The Tokyo Imperial Palace is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan and is located in Chiyoda ward of Tokyo. It is located in a huge complex with many building and parks. Wandering around the grounds one can imagine the lifestyle of the emperor and his family. Can you imagine your childhood memories if you grew up in the Imperial Palace? Running around the parks, playing hide and seek in the castle, having your own paradise in your backyard. Dinner guests that would be other royalty, presidents and other heads of states. The place is so full of history that you will forget that you are in the middle of a bustling city. You will be lost in thought thinking about the lives of the emperors that occupied the palace since 1868.
A Tour of the Imperial Palace is not advertised much but is one of the best places to visit in Japan. Great views, lots of history, great photo opportunities for sharing your visit to Japan with your friends on Facebook and Instagram. A typical tour of the complex would take approximately 90 minutes and it is free of charge. It is about a 15-minute walk from the Tokyo Station. The reserved tour is conducted twice a day. The start time is 10:00 am and 1:30 pm. All you need to do is book the tour through the Imperial Household Agency.
Imperial Household Agency
There are many buildings and structures in the Imperial Palace grounds that you can see. Most of the administrative buildings are located in the East Garden including the Tokagakudo (Music Hall). The Tokagakudo Music Hall was built in commemoration of the Empress Kojun’s 60th birthday in 1963. It is an octagon-shaped structure with each of its exterior walls adorned with different designs of mosaic tiles.
Most of the structures in the Imperial Palace have stood the test of time and the Seimon Ishibashi bridge is one of the structures that has survived since 1945. The bridge leads to the main gate of the palace.
The Fujimi-yagura is the guard building in the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace
It is amazing how so much nature can be found within the city limits. There are many gardens inside the Imperial Palace grounds. There are over 250 trees and 30 varieties of trees that can be explored in the Imperial Palace. And if you visit during spring this is one of the best spots for Cherry Blossom viewing which is a very important occasion in Japan. You can also meditate with the view of the pond at the East Garden at the Imperial Palace.
I will never be an emperor, but I can surely imagine how it would be like to live in such a wonderful place like this.