Imperial Palace East Garden

These are some photos from M’s camera that we took way back in April but completely forgot about in all the excitement. A part of the Imperial Palace was open for the first time in 70-odd years so we went along to have a look, saw the queues, and went to the East Garden instead, which was probably just as nice anyway.

There were some gorgeous cherry blossoms out in full bloom:

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As well as many other kinds of wildflowers. It’s a great place for a lunch.

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There was also this guy:

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Imperial Palace

From Shinjuku, I walked all the way across Tokyo to the Imperial Palace near Tokyo Station. It’s quite a nice walk, basically a straight line and not nearly as far as you might think. Central Tokyo is actually more long and narrow and you can get from one side to the other in about an hour’s walk. The Imperial Palace is the site of the former Edo Castle, once the biggest in the world, of which the moat, some of the stone walls and guard houses still remain. It is now the official residence of the Imperial family and comprises a huge park and gardens in the very centre of Tokyo, although only the outer gardens are accessible to the public. At one stage during the bubble years of the 1980s, the real estate value of the Palace grounds was put at more than all of California.

The moat around the Imperial Palace:

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Sakuradamon Gate:

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Palace gardens:

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Nijubashi Bridge:

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Shinjuku-gyoen

It was the heaviest snowfall in 45 years on Saturday so on Sunday I went to check out the Japanese garden in Shinjuku Park (along with all the other old guys with huge cameras!). After all the snow it was a beautifully warm day with clear blue skies:

The park itself is huge, with Japanese, French and English gardens:

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Some kind of blossoms near the entrance:

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The Japanese garden:

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Snowman, called 雪だるま(yukidaruma) in Japan after their resemblance to Daruma dolls:

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Getting away from it all:

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Looking out towards Aoyama:

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