I remember the first time I went to the Imperial Palace Gardens, back in 2008, I was so young and I didn't know my way around so I never got into the actual palace grounds haha. I really only saw Kokyo-gaien Park and gave up. Luckily in my later trips I was able to go to the East Gardens and see all the lovely features open to the public at the Imperial Palace. There is a lot to see so when you plan your trip here give yourself several hours. There are several beautiful gardens of different styles, museums, and restored ruins.
There are no entrance fees to the Imperial Palace gardens, but upon entering you have to take a numbered entrance card that you return when you leave. I guess to keep track of the daily visitors. They also close the grounds at 17:00 so go earlier in the day, and the East Gardens are closed Mondays and Fridays. It's a good morning trip then you can find lunch around Marunouchi and explore Tokyo station after lunch as an easy navigated day trip.
The main draw of the Imperial Palace is the gardens, the buildings that have been restored are interesting but don't expect to see much of a grand castle here. If you'd like to explore a castle I recommend Himeji Castle or the Okinawa Palace. The Imperial Palace Gardens do offer a small Museum and guided tours to offer more information during your visit.
The Imperial palace is very well trafficked so don't expect too much of a relaxing atmosphere, but there is a great variety in the gardens and the architectural elements that you will have plenty to see and keep busy. After I finished exploring the grounds during this particular visit I headed over to Tokyo Station which was nearly done with its construction at that time.
They had also updated the walkway from the Palace to Tokyo station, its very wide and offer great views of the station on the way. It was great to see the station without a bunch of partitions up in front of it! I think I was not alone in that feeling as there were many tourists around snapping photos :)
During that time there was also a flower exhibition on the walkway, featuring several different displays all along the path to the station. It was a bit difficult to capture the beauty of it due to the crowds but it certainly made me feel like even the mundane task of walking between tourist sites was special.
I'll post more about the inside of Tokyo Station in some upcoming posts. I'm particularly excited to talk about the Rilakkuma store since he's one of my favorite characters! They had also redone Character street between the times I visited so I have updated photos. Have you been to Tokyo Station, what is your favorite shop/restaurant there?
Sorry this post is a bit later than I hoped. Our toilet was broken yesterday and we only have one so it was kinda a big annoyance. I had planned to visit a Japanese Garden and restaurant here in Minnesota to blog about but that got postpone T_T I will make sure to get there next week tho, and also get some new outfits made tomorrow!