Today I went to the Imperial palace (Kokyo) in Tokyo. It is the residence of the Emperor of Japan. Before the Meiji Restoration, the successive Emperors had been mainly living in Kyoto (the other places were Nara, Shiga, Osaka or Hyogo). Meiji Emperor moved to Tokugawa Syogun’s Edo castle from Kyoto. Now it is called the Imperial palace (Kokyo). It is very large area in the center of Tokyo. There are main palace, Fukiage Omiya palace (Syowa emperor’s residence), Three palace sanctuaries, some gardens, music hall and so on. It remains a lot of trees in it, therefore these green area works for the cool-down of the metropolitan.
I think Buckingham Palace, White House, even Kremlin face the road, and you can see them, Japan’s Imperial Palace is hiding in the back of huge Imperial woods. Far from the public place is easy to protect and hide the Emperor’s private life. I guess most important is to divide the Imperial Palace as a religious Shinto’s sanctuary from the common world. Usually you are only able to go to in front of the bridge of the main gate, so “Imperial Palace” is imagined the view of the main gate and the bridge, and “Nijyu-bashi” (Double bridge) represents the Imperial Palace. There are a few opportunities to go over the bridge; Emperor’s birthday (23rd December) or New Year greeting, but you only enter the Imperial Palace grounds (not inside the palace). If you visit to the garden, you can enter the East garden (Higashi Gyoen) and Kitanomaru park.