posted on January 2, 2014

We, ordinary citizens, are allowed to enter a part of the Imperial Palace grounds on the two special occasions: on December 23rd, the Emperor’s birthday, and on January 2nd.


参賀 正門 閉

Main Gate (closed) and Main Gate Stone Bridge

On January 2, the Emperor and the Empress, and the Imperial family appear on the balcony of the Imperial Palace and celebrate the new year together with people visiting there.

The Emperor gives them New Year’s greetings.





参賀 正門 開

Main Gate (open)


On this day, we are allowed to cross the Main Gate Stone Bridge and go into the Imperial Palace grounds through the Main Gate, which is usually prohibited.

This year, about eighty thousand people visited the Imperial Palace, and there were  long lines of people from the Main Gate to the main building of the Imperial Palace.





参賀 正門 裏


Because the Imperial Palace is located on the site of  Edo Castle, the home of  the Tokugawa Shogunate, we can see historically important remains of Edo Castle like keeps, stone walls, moats and magnificently trimmed big pine trees.







When crossing the Main Gate Steel Bridge, we can get the view of Fushimi-yagura Keep, which is said to be the most beautiful keep in the Imperial Palace grounds, on our left.

参賀 伏見櫓

Fushimi-yagura Keep

参賀 鉄橋

Main Gate Steel Bridge










参賀 ベランダ

We are supposed to gather in front of the Imperial Palace main building, and celebrate the new year with the Imperial family, but this year, there were too many people and unfortunately I couldn’t  see the Emperor or the Empress.

I only saw the reflection of the buildings nearby in the large windows of the Palace building, and I was surprised to see a lot of  people from abroad there.

However, I was really moved by these words of the Emperor: “I also hope that Japanese people will work together with the people of the world in pursuit of peace and do their utmost to build a better tomorrow.”


On the  way to the exit, we can enjoy the view of Fujimi-yagura Keep, the stone walls, and the modern buildings far beyond it.

参賀 富士見櫓

Fujimi-yagura Keep

参賀 富士見櫓 + ビル









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