These 1960s ferro-concrete buildings, done in Japanese modernist style, are home to Japan's emperor and family. The central building contains the throne room, Matsu-no-Ma (Pine Chamber). The low-slung structure is surprisingly modest – at least from what can be seen from outside on public tours.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Tokyo attractions

1. Imperial Palace

0.02 MILES

The Imperial Palace occupies the site of the original Edo-jō, the Tokugawa shogunate's castle. In its heyday this was the largest fortress in the world,…

2. Fushimi-yagura

0.11 MILES

This keep, constructed in 1559, once stood on the grounds of Kyoto's since-destroyed Fushimi Castle. It was dismantled and reassembled at Edo-jō by…

3. Nijū-bashi

0.14 MILES

This metal bridge, built in 1888 and within the grounds of the Imperial Palace, was formerly a wooden bridge with two levels, from which its name (meaning…

4. Megane-bashi

0.17 MILES

Meaning 'Eyeglass Bridge', this stone bridge from 1888, which can be viewed from the Kōkyo-gaien Plaza, is so nicknamed because its support arches…

5. Sakurada-mon

0.25 MILES

Built in 1636 (and partially restored after the Great Kantō Earthquake in 1923), this is one of the Imperial Palace gates that was part of the original…

6. Kikyō-mon

0.29 MILES

Kikyō-mon is one of the main original gates to Edo-jō. This is the departure point for official tours of parts of the Imperial Palace grounds.

7. Kōkyo-gaien Plaza

0.32 MILES

This wide grassy expanse, in the southeast corner of Kōkyo-gaien, has roughly 2000 immaculately maintained Japanese black pine trees that were planted in…

8. Imperial Palace East Garden

0.35 MILES

Crafted from part of the original castle compound, these lovely free gardens allow you to get close-up views of the massive stones used to build the…