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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Attraction

Imperial Palace Outer Gardens 皇居外苑

A tranquil ring of nature and moats around the royal palace

Going through Kokyo Gaien—the Outer Gardens—is an appropriately grand way to approach the Imperial Palace. The knotty black pine trees, imposing statue of samurai warrior Kusunoki Masahige and views of the famous Nijubashi Bridge are just a few highlights of the park's spacious grounds.

Quick Facts

Kusunoki Masahige fought a battle he knew he would lose for Emperor Go-Daigo

There are 2,800 pine trees in the gardens

The Fountain Gardens have two fountains that were built to celebrate weddings

How to Get There

The Outer Gardens are quite vast and can be approached via train from several different points.

Nijubashimae Station is the closest to the most famous sights, an easy five-minute walk. Alternatively, the gardens are a 10-minute walk from Hibiya Station or a 15-minute walk from Tokyo Station's Marunouchi exit.

Gardens of truly imperial scale

Encompassing the Imperial Palace Front Plaza, Kitanomaru Park and the Palace perimeter's 12 moats, this garden is incredibly vast. Fortunately, many of the top sights are clustered in the same general area. From the plaza you can get a perfect view of the Nijubashi double bridge with white Fushimi-yagura watchtower in the background.

There are several gates that date back to the Edo period throughout the grounds, but the most dramatic is Sakurada-mon, the largest of the remaining gates of what was Edo Castle.

Running through the trees

While exploring, take a moment to check out the equestrian statue of Kusunoki Masahige, a 14th-century samurai legendary for his loyalty. You cannot help noticing the 2,800 pine trees around the gardens, which are perfectly manicured and look almost as architectural in nature as the skyscrapers in the distance.

A modern touch among the ancient walls

Wadakura Fountain Park is a pleasant break from all the Edo architecture. The two fountains in the center were built to celebrate the wedding of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in 1961, and that of Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako in 1995. Take a walk over the arching wooden bridge that connects the park to the Otemachi area.

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