23 Agustus 2011

Kokyo the Imperial Palace of Japan

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The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is the formal residence of the Emperor of Japan and his family.

The site on which the current Imperial Palace stands was once where the majestic Edo Castle stood. This castle was at one point the largest castle in the world and belonged to a feudal lord. Following its abandonment, Tokugawa Ieyasu converted it into his palace and there it remained until the Meiji Restoration. This palace was in turn destroyed by bombings during World War II.

The current Imperial Palace known as Kokyo, was completed in 1968 and is mostly a mirror image of the Meiji Imperial Palace. Following in its predecessor’s style, the palace is surrounded by stout walls and moats and includes a double bridge.

The architecture itself takes a modernist approach whilst still encompassing Japanese influences such as the beams, gabled hipped roof and columns.

The Palace itself is open to the public only on 2 days of the year – the 2nd of January which is the New Year’s holiday and the 23rd of December, which is the Emperor’s Birthday. On these dates the public can tour the palace and will be rewarded by the appearance of the Royal Family on the main balcony.

However guided tours of certain areas in the palace are possible around the year. These are conducted in Japanese, but English audio tapes are provided free of charge. These tours must be booked in advance.

A traveller moving through Japan should not miss out on the opportunity to visit the Imperial Palace and experience Japanese Royalty at its best. If the traveller, when looking for Tokyo Accommodation, seeks a different experience and welcomes freedom and leisure, then a Serviced Apartment Tokyo such as the Somerset Azabu East will be ideal. Given its central location, it will also provide flexibility and ease to the visitor.