The Imperial Palace in the center of Tokyo is a popular tourist attraction and the Eastern Garden is open to the public (free of charge).
The Eastern Garden is the former site of Edo Castle’s innermost circles of defense, the honmaru ("main circle") and ninomaru ("secondary circle"). None of the main buildings remain today.
There are beautiful Japanese gardens …
… and many ruins of Edo Castle, such as moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses still exist.
Edo Castle was the residence of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Emperor Meiji also resided there from 1868 to 1888 before moving to the newly constructed Imperial Palace.
From Kokyo Gaien, the large plaza in front of the Imperial Palace, two bridges called Nijubashi form an entrance to the inner palace grounds.
The palace buildings and inner gardens are not open to the public. Only on January 2 (New Year’s Greeting) and December 23 (Emperor’s Birthday), visitors are able to enter the inner palace grounds and see the members of the Imperial Family, who make several public appearances on a balcony.