Hello Japan - Japan Travel Guide

Imperial Palace

Travel Guide - Imperial Palace


The Imperial Palace is the home of Japan's emperor and the imperial family. The site was formerly the Tokugawa family’s residence Edo Castle, from which the Tokugawa Shogunate ruled all Japan during the Edo Period (1603 - 1868). In its time Edo Castle was the largest in the world, though apart from the massive moat and walls, virtually nothing remains of it today. The castle turned into the Imperial Palace as the emperor moved to Edo (Tokyo) from Kyoto after the Meiji Restoration in 1868.
The present palace was completed in 1968. It replaced the palace built in 1888, which was destroyed by Allied bombing during the World War II. The palace is still surrounded by the Edo Castle's original innermost moat. The castle's handsome gates and old guard towers are also set at intervals around the grounds.
You can enter the palace only by joining a visit tour or on special occasions, such as January 2 (The New Year Greeting) and December 23 (The emperor's birthday). Still, it is always possible to wander around its outskirts, where you can at least get a view of a part of the palace with the elegant Niju-bashi Bridge in the foreground. You can also enter the Imperial Palace East Garden (Higashi Gyoen) where the Edo Castle's original donjon once stood. The garden is graced with flowers and blossoms of each season, open to all as an ideal place for relaxation.

*Note: You need to join a visit tour to enter the inner side of the palace. Advance booking is required at the Kyoto office of the Imperial Household Agency. Online application is also available (Please visit the link below). Children under 18 years old cannot join the tour.

Opening HoursOpening Hours

  • Open 24 hours
  • Visit Tour (75 minutes): From 10:00, 13:30 (Booking required) *The tour from 13:30 is not available from July 21 to August 31


  • No closing days
  • Visit Tour: Saturdays, Sundays and National holidays
  • Visit Tour: December 28 – January 4

Price / Entrance FeePrice / Entrance Fee

  • Admission Free
  • Visit Tour: Free (Booking required) *Children under 18 years old cannot join the tour.

Access / Public TransportAccess / Public Transport

  • 5 minutes walk from Nijubashimae Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line (C10)
  • 5 minutes walk from Hibiya Station on the Toei Mita Line (I08)
  • 8 minutes walk from Sakuradamon Station on the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line (Y17)

Address / LocationAddress / Location

  • 1-1, Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0001