Kokyo Higashi Gyoen Garden -Imperial Palace East Garden

The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace

Flowers and woodlands in the gardens built on Edo Castle’s ruins

The Imperial Palace East Gardens in Tokyo offer visitors a unique opportunity to explore the stunning beauty of nature amidst the remnants of a historic castle. Located in the heart of the city, these gardens provide a tranquil escape from the bustling streets of Tokyo. With its seasonal flowers, original moats, walls, entrance gates, and guardhouses, the Imperial Palace East Gardens are a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Japanese history and culture.

The East Gardens are part of the inner palace area, which was once the site of Edo Castle, the residence of the Tokugawa shoguns during the Edo period. After the Meiji Restoration in the late 19th century, the Imperial Palace was moved to another location, and the castle grounds were opened to the public. Today, the East Gardens stand as a testament to the rich history of japan and offer a glimpse into the past.

One of the highlights of the East Gardens is the Nishinomaru Palace, where Emperor Meiji resided from 1869 to 1873 before moving to the new palace. This historic building is now a museum that exhibits artworks owned by the imperial family. Visitors can explore the beautiful rooms and learn about the life of the emperor during that time.

As you wander through the gardens, you will come across the Ote-mon gate, which was once the principal entrance to Edo Castle. This gate serves as a convenient starting point for your visit to the East Gardens. It is a five-minute walk from Otemachi Station, which is accessible by several subway lines. If you prefer to take a taxi, you can easily reach the gardens from Tokyo Station, which is a 15-minute walk away.

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The East Gardens are divided into several sections, each offering its own unique attractions. The Kokyo Higashi Gyoen, also known as the Honmaru and Ninomaru sections, is the largest area within the gardens. This section encompasses the former defensive walls of Edo Castle and features a vast lawn that marks the location of the main keep. The Ninomaru section is home to a beautiful garden that dates back to the Edo period and was restored in 1968. This garden is particularly stunning during the fall season when the leaves change color.

Within the grounds, you will also find the Suwano teahouse, where you can experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The teahouse offers a peaceful atmosphere and a chance to relax and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings. The Museum of the Imperial Collections is another notable attraction within the gardens. Here, you can admire a wide range of artworks and artifacts that were once owned by the imperial family.

One of the most fascinating features of the East Gardens is the ruins of the former castle tower. Although the tower was completed in 1638, it was unfortunately destroyed in a fire shortly after. Today, visitors can climb to the top of the ruins and enjoy a panoramic view of the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, another popular park in Tokyo.

Throughout the year, the East Gardens are adorned with colorful flowers and plants. Dozens of different species line the walkways, ensuring that there is always something in bloom. During the winter months, the plum tree slope adds a pop of color to the stone walls, while in the fall, the Ninomaru Grove is ablaze with gold and scarlet hues. Other highlights include the iris garden and the cherry blossom trees, which provide stunning photo opportunities.


To plan your visit to the East Gardens, it is recommended to check the Imperial Household Agency’s website for the flower calendar. This will help you determine the best time to see your favorite flowers in bloom. Whether you are a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat in the heart of Tokyo, the Imperial Palace East Gardens are a must-see attraction.

In conclusion, the Imperial Palace East Gardens offer visitors a unique opportunity to explore the beauty of nature amidst the remnants of a historic castle. With its seasonal flowers, original structures, and stunning views, this destination is a must-visit for anyone interested in Japanese history and culture. Whether you choose to admire the colorful flowers, learn about the imperial family’s art collection, or simply take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, the East Gardens are sure to leave a lasting impression. So, take a break from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Imperial Palace East Gardens.

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1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo-to

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