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Celebrate Japan’s new emperor with a visit to some imperial treasures

Earlier this year, Emperor Naruhito ascended Japan’s Chrysanthemum Throne. In October, the country welcomed dignitaries from around world for his official enthronement ceremony. The accession of the new emperor ushers in a new era for Japan.
We will introduce you to some of the Imperial House’s public facilities, some of which were opened to the general public without restriction for the first time.

【The Imperial Palace and East Gardens ~Former site of Japan’s largest castle~】

The Imperial Palace was built in the late 19th century on the former grounds of Edo Castle. To the east of the palace, where the shogun’s residence once stood, lie the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, still dotted with many aged structures, such as gates, keeps, guardhouses, stone fortifications, an armory, a teahouse and more. A lush and expansive Japanese-style stroll garden is also to be found here, alongside the Museum of the Imperial Collections, which houses precious art and treasures donated to the nation by the Imperial Family and is free to enter.
So if you’re headed to the must-see Kokyogaien National Gardens, why not venture a bit further inside to check out all that the Imperial Palace has to offer?

【Akasaka Palace ~A masterpiece of Neo-Baroque architecture that hosts dignitaries from around the world~】

Akasaka Palace (State Guest House) was built in 1909 as the residence of Japan’s Crown Prince. The country’s only Neo-Baroque palace, it is a masterpiece of Japanese art and craftsmanship and the pinnacle of Western-style architecture in Japan from that period. In 2009 it was designated a National Treasure. The main building, approached through an ornate gate and set within a large formal garden featuring a fountain and other structures, is luxuriously appointed with both Japanese and Western art.
As Japan’s State Guest House, it has hosted monarchs and heads of state from around the world. Although public access was formerly limited to just a few days a year, it is now open year-round and is also available as a unique venue for approved corporate and civic functions and events.

【Kyoto Imperial Palace ~The residence of Japanese emperors for over half a millennium~】

Until the late 19th century, Japan’s emperors resided in the ancient capital of Kyoto. Kyoto Imperial Palace is a complex of former residences and other structures built for state ceremonies, meetings, and yearly rituals. These are all set within a Japanese-style garden enclosed by a wall with six sets of gates, each reserved for persons of different ranks. The complex is surrounded by a large Japanese-style park, redolent of Kyoto’s 1,200-year history. Previously open only by appointment for limited periods during spring and autumn, the park and palace grounds are now open for free year-round and without reservation, with both live and recorded tours available in multiple foreign languages.

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