Tokyo Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace is one of the places that most people head to first, after hearing so much about it and reading rave reviews. The Palace is built on the site of the old Edo Castle and has a substantial value that cannot be forgotten once you see it. Being the home of the Emperor of Japan it is understandable that the majority of the grounds are not open to the public, yet it is still a memorable sight to see. On the Emperor's birthday the public is allowed to enter through the inner gates, called the Nakamon, and see the Imperial family on their balcony.
The Palace Grounds are built up of several areas, so it is a good idea to understand where you are going before you get there, ensuring a good time is had by all. The Kyuden is the main building of the Palace and has seven wings, including the throne room where the Emperor has audiences. The Fukiage Garden is where the Imperial family resides, but it is also where the Suwa no Chaya teahouse was originally located, but it has since been reloated in the East Garden.
The East Garden has been altered over the last century, but is where the Music Hall, Tokagakudo sits. The Ninomaru Garden is also based in the East Garden. This is quite a sight, showing the trees planted from each prefecture in Japan.
Those visitors coming from a western background will find the Imperial Palace to be an unusual concept and one of great interest. The grounds and buildings are beautiful and their value is clear from the outset. Those who are able to visit the Palace on New Year or the Emperor's birthday will be lucky enough to hear his speech and see the Imperial family in all their glory on the balcony. Many countries find Royal and Imperial families to be of great interest, so this area is especially popular because of the vast historical and cultural significance that it holds. It is often the first place that people think to visit when coming to Japan or Tokyo.