Where: Tokyo, Tokyo Station, JR Line (15-20 minute walk depending on where you want to start), Nijubashi-mae Station, Chiyoda Line (5 minute walk to Ote-mon Gate). Again, this one is a bit harder for me to be exact with where to go because we ended up walking there from around the Akasaka area because of what a nice day it was.
Duration: 2 hours to an entire day
A Brief History: From 1603 to 1867, the Tokugawa shogun ruled Japan from Kyoto, but in 1868, after the shogunate was overthrown, the capital was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. A year later, the imperial palace was completed to become the home of the Emperor and Empress. Like many buildings, the imperial palace was destroyed in World War II and rebuilt later.
Point of Interest: The land the palace covers is amazing. Much of it has been converted into public gardens that you can go to lounge an entire day in. Many people picnicked and played sports while we walked around the gardens. The best place to get a picture of the palace with the bridge is to stand nearly in the parking lot, at the edge of the moat that surrounds the gate of the palace.
Recommendation: 2.5/5… but only if you’re going for the particular purpose to see the palace. If you were going to make a day of it and have a picnic and explore more of the grounds, I’d give it a 4/5. I’ll also say that I’m a bit biased. I expected that we would be able to see more than a bridge and some gates when we went because that’s what I’m used to in South Korea, where you can go right up to many of the buildings (but not inside, which is the same in Tokyo).
*Note: You can arrange to have a tour of the palace gardens, but my understanding is that any request for a tour must be submitted a month in advance. Also, the tour still does not go into any of the palaces, but rather around the gardens.