Tokyo Imperial Palace Tour

(Updated: July 7, 2013 with high resolution photos)

These pictures were taken on March 7, 2006.

To visit the Imperial Palace grounds, we needed to make a reservation (free) on the Internet in advance. Otherwise, the only other day that the palace grounds are open to the public are on the Emperor's Birthday on December 23. The tour was about 1 hour long.

The meeting centre where we were given information about the tour.

IMG_0958



The first building we see as we enter the palace grounds.

IMG_0959

Most of the people who signed up for this tour were old people. Everyone was quite orderly as evidenced from this neat line.

IMG_0960

Yes, even the Emperor needs gas, seems like he couldn't afford to upgrade his since the 60s or 70s...

IMG_0961

Our orderly tour group. Notice how everyone is walking along one straight line!

IMG_0963

Remnants of Edo Castle.

IMG_0966

Good ol' Japanese police *looking out* for crime on bikes inside the heavily guarded palace grounds.

IMG_0971

Building of the Imperial Household Agency, the bureaucracy that controls the royal family:

IMG_0972

IMG_0975

View of Central Tokyo from the palace grounds.

IMG_0974

Helicopter landing on a government building. Liftoff, landings happened 3 or 4 times while we were there. Must be carrying some black-suited LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) drone somewhere...to an airplane bound for Washington D.C.?

IMG_0981

IMG_0986

The Imperial Palace building, like everything built during the 60s, it is a forgettable piece of architecture. The roof doesn't even have any detail to it! It looks like some generic fake Japanese style convention centre in somewhere gaudy like...Las Vegas.

The square in front of the palace was quite large. On the Emperor's Birthday on December 23, the Emperor and his family would appear on the balcony in front of large crowds.

IMG_0987

IMG_0989

IMG_0991

IMG_0992

IMG_0998

IMG_0999

The main entrance to the palace?

IMG_1020

IMG_1028

The balcony where the royal family greets the public on the Emperor's Birthday.

IMG_1022

IMG_1024

You can get a sense of the size of the square from this viewpoint.

IMG_1002

Walking towards the official main gate of the palace.

IMG_1001

Crossing the bridge to another section of the palace grounds.

IMG_1003

View of Central Tokyo from the bridge.

IMG_1004

The bridge of the Imperial Palace that *all* the tours bring you to take pictures with, only this time, its on the other side looking out at the commoners.

IMG_1008

Heading back out of the palace grounds through the back entrance.

IMG_1030

Passing a moat.

IMG_1041

IMG_1042

Administrative buildings?

IMG_1050

IMG_1051

View of Tokyo from the unrestricted outer palace grounds.

IMG_1057

IMG_1058

IMG_1064

And for those that keep demanding pictures of me, here it is!

IMG_1061

2 comments:

kinkinsoba said...

Haven't seen you post in a while, glad to see you're still updating. Great pics. In the last picture, do I see a smile? That's like a first.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting pictures. Palaces in Japan appear to be built somewhat similar to chinese ones, but they have their own flavour. Mmmm, for a one hour trip, there sure are lots of sights to view!

DaYvid