How one could not see Japan’s Emperor’s family residence and adjoined gardens while being in Tokyo, right? Bit late, but finally I made an effort to go there today. After I left the premises I was a bit unaware of what had just happened and wasn’t sure why the hype?
Upon arrival the whole thing was full of police patrols, which kinda made me think something big was going on. Endless trains of tourists, areas off limits, paths set with traffic cones forcing you to move only in one direction… by the time I noticed my backpack got checked for bombs and body scanned for metals. Soon I found out it’s an average day in the Imperial Gardens.
Anyways I passed the checks and followed the crowd. The pageant’s pace wasn’t exciting, so I had a chance to look around a lot and admire… some trees and the moat. Everything that could be interesting is not available to public. The only part that you can freely visit is at the very end of the park and is called The East Gardens. Let me remind you that too is closed, but only Mondays and Fridays.
I could have a peak at the iconic stone and iron bridges, a stone wall and a few buildings inside the closed areas. For those more interested, there are pre-booked tours available. An english audio-guide is provided for foreigners not speaking Japanese.
The Imperial Gardens happen to be the most popular cherry blossom viewing spot in the first week of April. It’s the last week of March and I have already seen trees growing their first buds. Beautiful!