Area Guide

[Tokyo] The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace (皇居東御苑)

Discover the History and Beauty of the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Known for its Impressive Imperial Collections and Stunning Garden Designs

The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace are a treasure trove of history and beauty, located just a 5-minute walk from Otemachi and Takebashi subway stations. Occupying the site of three former Edo Castle compounds, the gardens are open to the public and cover a vast 210,000 square meters. Visitors can access the gardens through one of three gates: Ote-mon Gate, Hirakawa-mon Gate, and Kita-hanebashi-mon Gate.

One of the highlights of the East Gardens is the Sannomaru Shozokan, a museum of the Imperial Collections that is located just beyond the Ote-mon Gate. Inside, visitors can view paintings, books, and craft items that have been passed down through the generations in the imperial family. As you continue to explore the gardens, you’ll also come across several guardhouses, including the Doshin-bansho and Hyakunin-bansho, which were used as security checkpoints in the castle.

The Ninomaru Garden is a must-see, designed for strolling and restored based on designs by Edo period garden designer Kobori Enshu. Here, you’ll find Yama-boshi dogwood trees that have delicate white flowers in the spring and beautiful red leaves in the fall.

Other historical sites within the East Gardens include the Remains of Edo Castle, where visitors can view a miniature restoration of the castle and the O-oku women’s quarters and the Oku Corridor. The Tenshu-dai, or base of the main tower that once stood in the center of the castle, is also open for visitors to climb and enjoy the view. The Fujimi-yagura, a 16-meter-tall, three-storied keep, is another popular attraction. Thanks to the construction of an open area in front of it, visitors can now view it from a closer distance.

Get directions on Google Maps

You might also like