While you are in Japan, why not joining Imperial Palace guided tour ~Tour #20~ 

宮殿 Tokyo


The guided tours are available twice a day to explore the private areas of the Imperial Palace. It’s free of charge offered by the Imperial Household Agency. The guided tour is also available for non-Japanese speaking visitors. On the day I participated, there were tours in English, and Chinese!

Reservation recommended

The maximum number of participants for the tour is 200 (100 with reservation, and 140 walk-ins) per tour (morning/afternoon). The reservation site is here. Visitor information (visitor application, etc.) – Imperial Household Agency (kunaicho.go.jp). If you have a specific date and time you would like to visit, we recommend making a reservation in advance.

I made a reservation in advance. I arrived at Kikyomon Gate a little before 9:30, the appointed meeting time, received a visitor card neck strap and entered immediately.

Visitor Pass


By the way, people who wanted to visit without reservation were lined up in front of this signboard. On the day I made the reservation, the weather was very good, and the visitor slots without reservations were full one hour before the appointed meeting time.


The meeting point is the Kikyomon Gate. It is the first gate when heading to the Imperial Palace from Tokyo Station which general admission is usually not possible. Only participating with the guided tour you are able to enter from there, you feel special right there.

Guide Map


This is the Kikyomon Gate. It opened at 9:30 sharp.


There is a baggage inspection. And if you visit on the day without a reservation, there is a check of your ID. After receiving a pamphlet, you will be directed to Soumeikan.



Here we wait for about 30 minutes until the tour starts at 10:00. Meanwhile, you may listen to the visiting points are explained in Japanese, English, and Chinese and/or buy souvenirs at the shop you your left side. 

There are plenty of toilets (there are about 20 private rooms for women’s toilets, no need to rush). Coin-operated lockers are also available, so it’s a good idea to leave your belongings that you don’t need for the tour or the items you bought at the shop.


Guided tour

The tour starts at 10:00. We were first divided into groups by guide languages, each visitor chooses and participates in the appropriate language group.

First, the Imperial Household Agency. Good looking building.


Fujimi Yagura Tower

There is a very detailed explanation here. You have a plenty of time to take photos. Rebuilt in 1659, it is the only three-storied turret remaining as part of Edo Castle. It looks the same shape when viewed from any angle.



A palace where events such as general visits are held on New Year’s greeting and his majesty’s Birthday. The area is 3000 tsubo about 10,000 square meters. About 20,000 people are expected to gather here on these events. A long time ago, when I came to New Year’s celebrations, it was packed with people. But with the tour with a limited number of visitors, very spacious.


Nijuubashi Bridge

After passing through the gate on the left side of the palace, you will come to a point where you can see Nijubashi Bridge. Then, turn around fron here, return to Soumeiden, and that is the end of the tour.


Meet at 9:30 and start the tour at 10:00. The tour is approximately 60 minutes. After the tour, return the neck strap of the visitor’s card and exit from the Kikyo Gate. It was a walking tour of about 2.0 km.

There are guide tours in English and Chinese, so many overseas visitors participated. The Imperial Palace is located in the middle of the Tokyo, yet is surrounded by silence and refreshing.  It’s worth a visit.

Stay tuned for more updates of Japan. See you soon!
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Stay tuned for more updates of Japan. See you soon!
Click here for more.