Friday, May 22, 2015

Tokyo Imperial Palace East Gardens


Imperial Palace East Garden (皇居東御苑, Kōkyo Higashi Gyoen) is a well-maintained historical inner palace area which is open to the public for free. Imperial Palace East Garden is surrounded by skyscrapers in the district of Marunouchi in Tokyo, Japan. It is just a short walk from Otemachi Station to The Oteman entrance which will lead you to the Imperial Palace East Garden. 

Imperial Palace East Garden is open to the public for free but you need to get your number card at the ticket counter from the main entrance gate. You must return the number card at the ticket counter before you leave the park. Imperial Palace East Garden is a very huge park so, the authorities must ensure all the visitors to leave the park by the closing time.  

Imperial Palace East Garden was used to be the former site of Edo Castle's innermost circles of defense, the honmaru ("main circle") and ninomaru ("secondary circle"). However, the Edo Castle was destroyed completed by fire except, the foundation of the former Edo Castle which still remains until today. As such, the former site of Edo Castle is preserved and transformed into a beautiful park similar to the Central Park in New York City. 

How to get to Imperial Palace East Garden?
Address: 1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda 100-0001, Tokyo Prefecture
Station : A short walk from Otemachi Station to the Oteman entrance of Imperial Palace East Garden
Opening Hours :  9am to 4:30pm except Monday, Friday, New Year and some special occasions
Entrance Fees  :  FREE


Heading to Imperial Palace East Garden as we enter through Otemon main gate entrance in Tokyo, Japan
Heading to Imperial Palace East Garden as we enter through Otemon main gate entrance in Tokyo, Japan

Close-up view of the Otemon main gate entrance of Imperial Palace East Garden which has been preserved until now in Tokyo, Japan
Close-up view of the Otemon main gate entrance of Imperial Palace East Garden which has been preserved until now in Tokyo, Japan

Imperial Palace East Garden is surrounded by skyscrapers in Marunouchi district of Tokyo, Japan
Imperial Palace East Garden is surrounded by skyscrapers in Marunouchi district of Tokyo, Japan

Look at the strong thick wooden structure to support the weight of the Otemon entrance gate at Imperial Palace East Garden in Marunouchi, Tokyo, Japan
Look at the strong thick wooden structure to support the weight of the Otemon entrance gate at Imperial Palace East Garden in Marunouchi, Tokyo, Japan

Hyakunin-bosho Guardhouse is the biggest guardhouse to inspect visitors who entered from ote-mon gate in the Edo period at Imperial Palace East Garden, Tokyo
Hyakunin-bosho Guardhouse is the biggest guardhouse to inspect visitors who entered from ote-mon gate in the Edo period at Imperial Palace East Garden, Tokyo

Giant walls are surrounding the Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan
Giant walls are surrounding the Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan

Pink Cherry Blossom at Imperial Palace East Park in Tokyo, Japan
Pink Cherry Blossom at Imperial Palace East Park in Tokyo, Japan

Beautiful pink cherry blossom at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan
Beautiful pink cherry blossom at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan

White Cherry Blossom at Imperial Palace East Park in Tokyo, Japan
White Cherry Blossom at Imperial Palace East Park in Tokyo, Japan

Fujimi-Yagura is a building for storage and defense as well as the place to enjoy the view of fireworks at Ryogoky and Tokyo bay at Imperial Palace East Garden
Fujimi-Yagura is a building for storage and defense as well as the place to enjoy the view of fireworks at Ryogoky and Tokyo bay at Imperial Palace East Garden

Visitors are busy taking pictures of cherry blossom at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan
Visitors are busy taking pictures of cherry blossom at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan

Beautiful park in the beginning of Spring at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan
Beautiful park in the beginning of Spring at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan

The remaining foundation of Edo Castle at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan
The remaining foundation of Edo Castle at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan

Tenshudai Donjon Base of Edo Period was symbolised the authority of the Tokugawa Shogunate but being burnt down at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan
Tenshudai Donjon Base of Edo Period was symbolised the authority of the Tokugawa Shogunate but being burnt down at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan

Honmaru Goten Palace divided to Omote for general public ceremonies while Nakaoku and Ohoku were where shogun and families lived at Imperial Palace East Garden
Honmaru Goten Palace divided to Omote for general public ceremonies while Nakaoku and Ohoku were where shogun and families lived at Imperial Palace East Garden

walking up to the top of the foundation of Edo Castle at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan
walking up to the top of the foundation of Edo Castle at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan

Enticing by a well-maintained park with a pond in the beginning of Spring at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan
Enticing by a well-maintained park with a pond in the beginning of Spring at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan

Crossing a little bridge over the pond in the beginning of Spring at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan
Crossing a little bridge over the pond in the beginning of Spring at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan

The oldest Suwa Tea Pavilion can be seen at the far end of the Japanese garden and pond at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan
The oldest Suwa Tea Pavilion can be seen at the far end of the Japanese garden and pond at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan

Restoration Shiomi-zaka Slope used to connect Honmaru (inner citadel) to Ninomaru (second citadel) with embankment at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan
Restoration Shiomi-zaka Slope used to connect Honmaru (inner citadel) to Ninomaru (second citadel) with embankment at Imperial Palace East Garden in Tokyo, Japan


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  • Wednesday, May 13, 2015

    Meiji Jingu Shrine in Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan


    Meiji Shrine (明治神宮, Meiji Jingū) is a shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. It is the most popular shrines among the Japanese for the offerings and the traditional Shinto wedding ceremonies. Meiji Shrine is located next to the JR Yamanote's Line at Harajuku Station. As you walk out of the station and cross the bridge of the railway rails, you will find a huge forested area with a huge wooden torrii gate of Meiji Shrine. As you walk through the torrii gate of Meiji Shrine, you will feel calm and relaxing while enjoying your stroll and admiring at the trees that are planted along the walking path from the main entrance of the wooden torrii gate to the main complex of the shrine buildings.  

    You will notice that you have arrived the main complex of the shrine buildings as you see another wooden torrii gate and surrounded by Shrine Memorial Hall buildings. Before you walk into the shrine buildings for offerings, you need to wash your hands and mouth with a wooden spoon at the wooden house before the torrii gate. Japanese believe that this will clean your body and mind by washing your hands and mouth before walking into the shrine.

    How to make your wish at Japanese Shrine? 
    Firstly, you need to ring the bell and throw your offering (money) into the offering box. The ringing bell is to notify the God of the Shrine that you want to deliver your wish. Then, bow at 90 degrees two times before make your wish in your mind. Finally make two claps before taking another 90 degrees bow.

    How to get to Meiji Shrine?
    Address: 1-1 Yoyogi Kamizonocho, Shibuya 151-0052, Tokyo Prefecture
    Station : Yamanote Line at Harajuku Station and walk for a minute by crossing the overhead bride of the railway tracks before reaching the torrii gate of Meiji Shrine.
    Opening Hours :  5:45am to 4:30pm daily
    Entrance Fees  :  FREE except 500 yen for Inner Garden


    The main entrance of huge torrii gate of Meiji Shrine as you walk out from JR Yamanote Line at Harajuku Station, Tokyo, Japan
    The main entrance of huge torrii gate of Meiji Shrine as you walk out from JR Yamanote Line at Harajuku Station, Tokyo, Japan

    Feeling calm, peaceful and enjoying the beauty of forested park of Meiji Shrine as we stroll along the path towards the Meiji Memorial Hall buildings in Tokyo, Japan
    Feeling calm, peaceful and enjoying the beauty of forested park of Meiji Shrine as we stroll along the path towards the Meiji Memorial Hall buildings in Tokyo, Japan

    It is still another long walk to Shrine Memorial Hall buildings as we pass through another torrii gate in the park of Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
    It is still another long walk to Shrine Memorial Hall buildings as we pass through another torrii gate in the park of Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    These sake barrels are offered yearly by sake brewers in Jaan to show their respect for the souls of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
    These sake barrels are offered yearly by sake brewers in Jaan to show their respect for the souls of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    A close-up sake barrels representing different sake brewers brands around Japan to the enshrined deities of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
    A close-up sake barrels representing different sake brewers brands around Japan to the enshrined deities of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    Barrels of wine are offered by wineries of Bourgogne in France for consecration to maintain long friendship between France and Japan at meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
    Barrels of wine are offered by wineries of Bourgogne in France for consecration to maintain long friendship between France and Japan at meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    We reach the Shrine Memorial Hall buildings at last at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
    We reach the Shrine Memorial Hall buildings at last at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    You need to wash your hands and mouth with the wooden spoon in order to cleanse your body and mind before entering the Shrine Memorial Halls at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
    You need to wash your hands and mouth with the wooden spoon in order to cleanse your body and mind before entering the Shrine Memorial Halls at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    Heading to the main entrance door of the Shrine Memorial Building at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
    Heading to the main entrance door of the Shrine Memorial Building at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    An amazing view of a huge rounded tree beside the crowded Shrine Memorial Hall building at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
    An amazing view of a huge rounded tree beside the crowded Shrine Memorial Hall building at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    Magnificent shot from the Shrine Memorial Hall area with the main entrance of the wooden torrii gate at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
    Magnificent shot from the Shrine Memorial Hall area with the main entrance of the wooden torrii gate at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    Witnessing Japanese Traditional Shinto Wedding Ceremony at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
    Witnessing Japanese Traditional Shinto Wedding Ceremony at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    Admiring the structure design of the wooden Shrine Memorial Hall buildings at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
    Admiring the structure design of the wooden Shrine Memorial Hall buildings at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    A guided instruction to write and slip your prayers together with your offerings in the envelope at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
    A guided instruction to write and slip your prayers together with your offerings in the envelope at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    The Japanese family pray after the drum hit at one of the Shrine Memorial Hall building in Meiji Shrine, Tokyo, Japan
    The Japanese family pray after the drum hit at one of the Shrine Memorial Hall building in Meiji Shrine, Tokyo, Japan

    Visiting Meiji Shrine Garden at 500 yen per person which is located outside of the Shrine Memorial Hall buildings at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
    Visiting Meiji Shrine Garden at 500 yen per person which is located outside of the Shrine Memorial Hall buildings at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    The rear view of Kakuun-Tei (Tea House) at the garden in Meiji Shrine, Tokyo, Japan
    The rear view of Kakuun-Tei (Tea House) at the garden in Meiji Shrine, Tokyo, Japan

    Serene garden view with the tea house in the beginning of Spring at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
    Serene garden view with the tea house in the beginning of Spring at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    Feeling calm and peaceful while watching at these fish swimming in the pond at the fishing spot (otsuri-doi) at the garden of Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
    Feeling calm and peaceful while watching at these fish swimming in the pond at the fishing spot (otsuri-doi) at the garden of Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    An innovative straw hut at the garden in Meiji Shrine, Tokyo, Japan
    An innovative straw hut at the garden in Meiji Shrine, Tokyo, Japan

    Wishing Well (kiyomasa-ido) at the garden in Meiji Shrine, Tokyo, Japan
    Wishing Well (kiyomasa-ido) at the garden in Meiji Shrine, Tokyo, Japan


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  • Wednesday, April 29, 2015

    Sky Bus Tokyo ride in Marunouchi district, Japan


    When you are feeling tired from the long walk, you can consider for a short bus tour ride with Sky Bus Tokyo. Tickets can only be purchased at the main ticket office of Sky Bus Tokyo which is located on the ground floor of Mitsubishi Building at Marunouchi business district. Sky Bus Tokyo ticket office is also situated nearby to Tokyo Station as well. All the route courses (for the day and night rides) depart from the main office of Sky Bus Tokyo in Marunouchi district. 

    It was a complete coincidence for us as we were walking within Marunouchi district from Tokyo Station and happened to see a red Sky Bus Tokyo bus at the main office in Marunouchi district. We decided to take a short bus tour route from Imperial Palace to Ginza and Marunouchi business district since we were feeling exhausted from a long walk throughout the day. This was an hour bus ride without stopping over as we were able to see the culture blend city view of the modern skyscrapers with the historical train building from the Meiji Period and Tokyo Imperial Palace from the Edo Period. It was indeed upsetting that there was limited English information on the headphones during the bus ride but we were touched by their detailed customer service as Sky Bus Tokyo provided each of us a hot pack to keep us warm during the cold weather.

    Sky Bus Tokyo Ticket Office
    Address: 2-5-2 Marunouchi | Mitsubishi Buiding 1F, Chiyoda 100-0005, Tokyo Prefecture 


    Detailed information of Sky Bus Tokyo tours which is also available on www.skybus.jp
    Detailed information of Sky Bus Tokyo tours which is also available on www.skybus.jp

    Feeling exhausted from a long walk, you can take a relaxing round tour on Sky Bus Tokyo for the city view which departs at Mitsubishi Building in Marunouchi near Tokyo Station
    Feeling exhausted from a long walk, you can take a relaxing round tour on Sky Bus Tokyo for the city view which departs at Mitsubishi Building in Marunouchi near Tokyo Station

    An excellent customer service by providing hot pack during the cold weather on the bus tour with Sky Bus Tokyo in Marunouchi, close to Tokyo Station
    An excellent customer service by providing hot pack during the cold weather on the bus tour with Sky Bus Tokyo in Marunouchi, close to Tokyo Station

    We took the Tokyo bus tour around Marunouchi Course which was very fascinating to see the blend city view of skyscrapers with Imperial Palace and historical train station
    We took the Tokyo bus tour around Marunouchi Course which was very fascinating to see the blend city view of skyscrapers with Imperial Palace and historical train station

    An impression of New York skyscrapers at Marunouchi district which is nearby to Tokyo Station and Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan
    An impression of New York skyscrapers at Marunouchi district which is nearby to Tokyo Station and Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan

    It looks like a painting (the backview from Imperial Palace) during Tokyo bus tour from Imperial Palace to Ginza and Marunouchi Course
    It looks like a painting (the backview from Imperial Palace) during Tokyo bus tour from Imperial Palace to Ginza and Marunouchi Course

    This is a shopping street at Marunouchi district and close to Tokyo Station in Tokyo, Japan
    This is a shopping street at Marunouchi district and close to Tokyo Station in Tokyo, Japan

    Modern skyscrapers at Marunouchi business district, close to Tokyo Station and Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan
    Modern skyscrapers at Marunouchi business district, close to Tokyo Station and Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan

    A huge park nearby skyscrapers of Marunouchi business district in Tokyo, Japan
    A huge park nearby skyscrapers of Marunouchi business district in Tokyo, Japan

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