Well, – I went to visit Edo Castle (now the Imperial Palace)! I thought most part of Edo Castle may not be shown to public because it is the Imperial Palace these days. However, quite a big area was open to public and some places you can enter if you send an application for the tour. http://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english/guide/koukyo.html
Brief History of Edo Castle
Tokyo used be a remote wetland about 400 years ago and called Edo. Edo castle was built on a stand ground and it was not too big. However, Tokugawa Ieyasu moved into Edo and he developed Edo into one of the biggest cities in Japan. He rebuilt Edo castle and continuously expand it. After Tokugawa Ieyasu became the ruler of Japan, the total area of the castle was about 2,300,000㎡. Tokugawa regime lasted for about 250 years. When Tokugawa regime ended Edo started to call Tokyo. Tokugawa family was kicked out from Edo Castle and the emperor moved in instead. Since then Edo castle was called Imperial Palace.
The Palace Viewing Tour
Now Admission of visits – from Kikyo Gate Edo castle is the only castle still uses its security features. (other castles are all ruins) The guards look soooo board, and that is so realistic. I imagine it was exactly the same in time of samurai period. Stone wall behind the Kikyo Gate. Carved seals of clans are on stones to identify who built it. (In Tokugawa regime funeral loads are in charge of building Edo castle and they did the construction work in tight schedule and the cost was on them. Pretty harsh..eh? So they left the mark to say “I did it!”)
Hasuike moat and stone wall
Open Area of Edo Castle
Next, I went to the East Gardens to see the traces of the castle tower! Everywhere in the in the Edo Castle, there are many guard station “Bansho”. Here is a hundred people guard station that had been packed 100 people full-time.
The East Gardens and walking around about three laps, it was time to go home became I was so tired. You can exits from the Otemon gate, Hirakawa gate and Kitazume Hashikado gate, but I came out from Hirakawa gate. Here is the moat in front of the gate. And It says it was also called unclean Gate because Hirakawa gate was a gate to issue a sinner or dead. Well, please tell me before I used it.. Outside the gate, there was a board looking guard again. May be he is a police officer.
Stone Wall 石垣
Cut grafting loading
Here towards the East Gardens. Cut grafting is unable to drainage, so it needs drainage ditches.
Since the individual parts have been repaired, some white stones are here and there. Light colored stones are newly replaced ones.
Edo Castle Summary
Edo castle is accessible from central Tokyo. You can walk from Tokyo station. The whole property is well maintained and large parks are nice walking or jogging area. If you have time, you should visit Edo Castle.