The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace

Flowers and Woodlands in the Gardens Built on Edo Castle’s Ruins


The Imperial Palace East Gardens, located in Tokyo, japan, offer visitors a glimpse into the history and beauty of the Edo Castle. This historical site, which was once the residence of the Tokugawa shoguns, now boasts seasonal flowers, original moats, walls, entrance gates, and guardhouses. The East Gardens are not only a stunning display of nature but also a treasure trove of historical artifacts. In this article, we will explore the various attractions and features of the gardens, as well as provide information on how to get there.

The Emperor’s Secret Garden

One of the highlights of the Imperial Palace East Gardens is the Kokyo Higashi Gyoen, also known as the Emperor’s Secret Garden. This section of the gardens covers a vast area of 210,000 square meters and is situated on the grounds where Edo Castle’s defensive walls once stood. The Honmaru section of the garden features a sprawling lawn that marks the location of the main keep of the castle. The Ninomaru section, on the other hand, houses a meticulously restored garden that dates back to the Edo period. This garden is particularly enchanting during the fall season when the leaves change color.

Within the grounds of Kokyo Higashi Gyoen, visitors will also find the Suwano teahouse, where they can experience traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. Additionally, the Museum of Imperial Collections showcases a collection of artworks owned by the imperial family. For those interested in music, the Gakubu music department and concert hall offer a variety of performances throughout the year. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, the Emperor’s Secret Garden is a must-visit destination.

Climbing to the Top of the Former Castle Tower Ruins

As you explore the Imperial Palace East Gardens, you may come across the foundations of the former castle tower. Although the tower was completed in 1638, it was unfortunately destroyed in a citywide fire shortly after. However, visitors can still climb to the top of the ruins to enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding area, including the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. This vantage point offers a unique perspective on the cityscape and allows visitors to appreciate the beauty of Tokyo from above.

Colorful Flowers Throughout the Year

One of the main attractions of the Imperial Palace East Gardens is the abundance of colorful flowers that can be found throughout the year. The gardens feature dozens of different flower varieties and orchards, ensuring that there is always something in bloom. In winter, the plum tree slope adds a pop of color to the stone walls, while in fall, the Ninomaru Grove dazzles with shades of gold and scarlet. Visitors can also enjoy the iris garden and capture stunning photos of the cherry blossoms during the spring season. To plan your visit accordingly, it is recommended to check the Imperial Household Agency’s website for the flower calendar.

How to Get There

The Imperial Palace East Gardens are easily accessible by subway and taxi. The Ote-mon gate, which was once the principal entrance to Edo Castle, serves as a convenient starting point for exploring the gardens. It is a short five-minute walk from Otemachi Station, which is connected to multiple subway lines, including Chiyoda, Tozai, Marunouchi, Hanzomon, and Mita. For those arriving at Tokyo Station, it is a 15-minute walk to the Ote-mon gate. Detailed transit information can be obtained from the official website of the gardens.

Recommended for You

For visitors looking to further explore the rich history and cultural heritage of Tokyo, there are additional attractions in the vicinity of the Imperial Palace East Gardens. One such attraction is the Museum of the Imperial Collections, Sannomaru Shozokan. This museum showcases a vast collection of artworks and artifacts that belonged to the imperial family. It provides a deeper understanding of Japan’s royal history and offers a unique insight into the lives of the emperors.

Another recommended destination is the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. This expansive garden complex features a blend of nature and history, with picturesque landscapes, tranquil ponds, and traditional Japanese architecture. It is an ideal place for a leisurely stroll or a peaceful picnic amidst the bustling city.


The Imperial Palace East Gardens are a true gem in the heart of Tokyo. With their stunning seasonal flowers, historical artifacts, and picturesque landscapes, they offer visitors a unique and enriching experience. Whether you are interested in history, nature, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, the gardens have something to offer. From the Emperor’s Secret Garden to the ruins of the former castle tower, each section of the gardens has its own charm and allure. So, if you find yourself in Tokyo, make sure to set aside some time to explore the beauty and history of the Imperial Palace East Gardens.

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1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo-to

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