East Gardens of the Imperial Palace (Higashi Gyoen) October 7, 2014
One of the most beautiful sights to see in the East Gardens of the Tokyo Imperial Palace is the three-story Fujimi Yagura Keep. Also known as the Eight-Sided Keep, it was built to appear the same from any angle -- graceful and pretty. We passed it as we headed for the Otemon gate.
Several tourists like us stopped to take photos of the lovely Keep while some fitness buffs jogged past us. Everything is beautiful and clean around here. Even the sidewalks leading to the East Garden's gates had dainty floral patterns.
We had about an hour left before closing time but it worked to our favor. There weren't big crowds and we were able to stroll inside almost exclusively.
One of the striking buildings is the Doshin Bansho Guardhouse -- one of the last three still standing. It was the first checkpoint for daimyo lords entering the Edo Castle through the Otemon gate. This was where samurai guardsmen kept a close watch to protect the palace.
The stone walls and old buildings within the East Gardens of the palace are contrasted with Marunouchi's modern high rises and construction in the background.
As we explored further in the park, we found towering stone walls built high with rows of stones horizontally stacked on top of each other. Designated as a "special historic structure of the former Edo Castle," the stone walls are constantly being restored.
Inside the East Gardens are well-manicured lawns and the gorgeous Nonomaru Garden. If you look closely, you'll see iris plants in the foreground. I can only imagine how splendid it must look in the Springtime when all the irises and various flowers are in bloom.
Everywhere you turn, there is something lovely to see. The #Suwanochaya or Suwa Tea Pavilion is absolutely charming. It's so well-kept. Even the elegant and elaborate lamp posts here are eye-catching.
Oh, the Otemon Gate! That alone is so fascinating. The intricate design of the monumental gate is incredible. For scale, I purposely took the photo of the gate showing Alan on the left-hand side.
And this is only the second day of my Japan adventure. I've already seen so much yet I still can't believe I'm here!
This story was continued from Moats, Stone Walls, and the Eyeglass Bridge. I'll be sharing more stories from my Japan adventure. Stay tuned!