The Edo period began in 1600 and lasted for two and a half centuries until the Togugawa shogunate capitulated to the Meiji-era emperor. It is this span of history that you will encounter when visiting the Imperial Palace and its gardens.
The palace, previously called the ‘Edo Castle' is still today the principal residence of the Emperor and Empress, and is generally closed to the public. Other than on 23 December and 2 January, you can only admire the outside of the palace, the ramparts, the moats, and the famous Soto Sakuradamon Gate from the alleys of black pines that border the edifice. You can stroll among the Eastern gardens, accessible through the Kitanomaru Park, a real Garden of Eden among the skyscrapers of Marunouchi.
To know more about the life of the shoguns, head to the Edo-Tokyo museum which, in spite of the Le Corbusier-style modern structure, marvellously explains the wonderful history of the city.
Imperial Palace and Kitanomaru Park
1 Chome-4-1 Yokoami