The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace of Japan…distinct from THE Imperial Gardens because those are immediately around the current Palace, and are off-limits. And what you do get to see is utterly magnificent, and huge — I was there nearly three hours and didn’t see everything.
The entrance to the Gardens.
The gardens are in layers. Inside this wall (surrounded by a moat) is layer 2, with its own lawns and trees. There are 3 sets of wall and moats like this.
A guardhouse just inside the south gate. It was manned by the crème de la crème of samurai.
See? Another moat!
This marks the site of the corridor in which one lord insulted another, leading to an execution, and the revenge of the 47 Ronin.
City? What city?
There’s only bamboo!
Of COURSE the palace has its own orange grove.
A mysterious stone opening…in the middle of what used to the shogun’s palace. Nothing AT ALL to see here.
Imagine that this entire area was covered in sumptuous building.
This was the Honmaru Goten Palace of the Shogunate, until everything burned down in 1877.
The gardens were created in the 1960’s.
My first full day in Japan, I visited a university friend who’s been teaching English since 2002. He lives in Shizuoka Prefecture, and we met up in Kategawa, 90 minutes south of Tokyo by train.
This is what Japan’s “countryside” looks like, and this area grows mostly buckwheat. However, industry is never far away – my friend teaches Yamaha employees at the local plant.
Entrance to the castle grounds.
The tower, donjon, of Kategawa Castle. The original fell into ruin in the 19th century. This is a complete reconstruction.
Looking down onto the ORIGINAL Palace – a separate building from the donjon.
Entrance to the Palace.
Not a great photo, but still, samurai swords on a rack of antlers!!
The inside of the Palace. The floors are entirely tatami. When it was in use, the doors would’ve all been closed.
A courtyard in the palace.
Another courtyard, partly for the greenery, partly for air circulation – it’s hot and humid here.
What is there to say. !!!
Is this cool or creepy?
On the way to Shuzennji Izu shrine.
I decided not to take a picture closer up, as there were worshippers visiting.
The restaurant where we had lunch – the only time I sat on the floor.
We had the soba (buckwheat noodles and fresh tempura. SO good.