This is the fourth of the six posts about Edo Castle.
In this post, I will write about the east garden of the Imperial Palace.

the Imperial Palace

the Imperial Palace, known as Kokyo (皇居) in Japan, is literally where the world's last remaining Imperial family live. In the Edo period, this area was not the center of the Edo Castle - it was used for a huge garden, mausoleums (graves were not located here) of past shoguns, and residences of shoguns' heirs or retired shoguns.
You can get into some part of this area when the Imperial family members greet citizens on the Emperor's Birthday (present emperor's is Dec 23) or on New Year Greetings (Jan 2). (You can also join a tour conducted on weekdays through an application. See here.)
The exit routes you can take after you leave the square in front of the palace are slightly different between these two days. Look at the map at the bottom of this page. The red lines are courses you can take on the 23rd of December. (These are almost same as routes of above mentioned weekday tours.) Adding to these, you can also get out passing through Higashi Gyoen (the East Garden) on this day. As for January 2nd, though you cannot exit through Higashi Gyoen, you can take an exit route going north shown as the green line, but you must note that the greetings held on the morning of January 2nd is extremely crowded.

Main Gate and its stone bridge
Imperial Palace
Nijubashi Bridge
Imperial Palace
Fushimi Yagura
Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace
Sakashitamon Gate (west side)
Imperial Palace
Sakashitamon Gate (east side)
Imperial Palace
Fujimi Yagura (see Part 3: Kokyo Higashi Gyoen for its backside)
Imperial Palace
Kikyomon Gate (east side)
Imperial Palace
Kikyomon Gate (inside)
Imperial Palace
Kikyomon Gate (south side)
Imperial Palace
Hasuike-bori Moat
Imperial Palace
Fujimi Tamon (see Part 3: Kokyo Higashi Gyoen for its backside)
Imperial Palace
Nagayamon Gate
Imperial Palace
Shimo-dokan-bori Moat
Imperial Palace
Ruins of Nishihanebashimon Gate
Imperial Palace
Inui-bori Moat
Imperial Palace
Inuimon Gate (south side)
Imperial Palace
Inuimon Gate (north side)
Imperial Palace

From here we will look at moats you can see if you walk around the castle. A lot of people jog along this path.

Hanzo-bori Moat
Imperial Palace
Hanzomon Gate
Imperial Palace
Sakurada-bori Moat
Imperial Palace
Sakurada-bori Moat
Imperial Palace

Fukiage Gyoen

Fukiage Gyoen (吹上御苑) is the vast off-limit area where Gosho (present emperor's private palace), Kyuchu Sanden (his private shrine), Fukiage Omiya Gosho (private palace of late Emperor Showa) and what not are located. Though you cannot see these, you can see what it's like a little through the satellite imagery provided through Google Maps below.
This area is now covered by dense forest, but there also was a golf course here until 1937. After Emperor Showa decided to return this area to nature, this place became a forest you can see now. Though it's in the very heart of Tokyo, there live wide range of wild animals which disappeared from surrounding areas including goshawks, and occasionally new species of plants and insects are discovered.

The Imperial Palace
Imperial House Agency official English website
Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

The red lines are routes you can take on the Emperor's Birthday (Other than these you can also get out passing through Higashi Gyoen). The green line is a course you can additionally take on New Year's Greetings (But you cannot go through Higashi Gyoen on this day).

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