Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 5 - Tokyo Imperial Palace

Imperial Palace Tokyo 4th February, 2003 - Imperial Palace. Before coming to Japan, you may have visions of a stately and refined castle atop a slight rise, or perhaps a wide Heien-style building with long sweeping corridors. The Imperial Palace is - in a word - unseen. Of course you can google photos of it, but you won't be likely to see it yourself. The most you will see is the watchtowers that dot the walled moat, and the causeway and bridge that leads into the seculuded world of the Imperial Family. It's a far cry from good old Buckingham Palace in England. Don't go expecting to see hordes of people trying to catch a glimpse of royalty (at least my experience was of relative solitude). However, do go if you think that the mystery of what lies behind the walls won't be too crushed by not really getting any answers.

Donjon in Edo-joThe original Edo-jo, or castle that was the seat of power in Tokyo (or as it used to be called, Edo). It was established around the 1450's and then later became the Tokugawa's stronghold during the shogunate of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The popular image of Japanese castles of have huge 5 or more storied towers (called donjons). Indeed Edo-jo used to have the highest donjon in Japan (built in 1607), however like many of Japan's history it was destroyed by fire (only 50 years after construction) and never rebuilt. The remaining foundation is still visible within the outer Imperial grounds gardens.

Bridge Imperial Palace Tokyo

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