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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 皇居

Visit the home of Japan's Imperial family

Tucked away behind moats and thick stone walls, the residence and offices of the Emperor of Japan occupy an enviable spot in central Tokyo.

Quick Facts

The Imperial Palace moved to Tokyo in 1868

Hour-long tours of the palace run daily at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

How to Get There

The palace is located in central Tokyo and is easily accessible from Nijubashimae Station or Otemachi Station.

Visitors who wish to see the entrance to the palace should head towards the Sakashita-mon Gate, which is a 15-minute walk from Nijubashimae Station or Otemachi Station. You can also walk there from Tokyo Station's Marunouchi exit in 20 minutes.

If you plan on joining the Imperial Palace tour, meet your guide at the Kikyo-mon Gate, a 10-minute walk from Nijubashimae Station or Otemachi Station.

The center of the new capital

For thousands of years Kyoto was the capital of Japan, but in 1868 both the capital and Imperial Palace were moved to Tokyo after the Meiji Restoration. This has been the home of the Emperor and his family ever since.

See beyond the gates

The innermost grounds of the palace are generally not open to the public with the exception of guided tours and special holidays. For a quick peek, make your way to the Outer Gardens, where you can see the double Nijubashi bridge, which leads to the stately entrance of the inner palace.

Arranging for a tour

Tours run twice each day except on Sundays, Mondays and public holidays. Reservations are recommended, and can be made through the Imperial Household Agency's website. Although the tours are usually offered in Japanese only, pamphlets in English are available. Highlights of the tour include the chance to see the Kyuden, or main palace, and the Fujimi-yagura watchtower.

Visit during the Imperial family's New Year's greeting

If you're planning a winter trip to Tokyo, be at the palace on January 2 for the New Year's greeting. On that special occasion, the palace gates are opened to visitors who can come in and marvel at the inner palace grounds and see the Imperial family greeting their subjects.

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