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On my second day in Japan I went to the Imperial Palace Grounds before attending orientation. I found the visit to be a wonderful ‘welcome’ to Japan. Since then I stop by regularly. It is conveniently located next to where Mr. Cakes works!

At one point in time it was said that the Imperial Grounds were the most valuable real-estate in the world. Located in the center of Tokyo and housing the Imperial family, the public grounds provide gardens, a visitor centre, and lots of open areas to walk.

You can read more on the history here.

Below is a snap of the guard tower at the East Gate.

The grounds cover just over 1 square mile in the center of Tokyo. While I have not taken the tour of the palace buildings or the private inner gardens I have walked freely though the public grounds and gardens, which are impeccably maintained.

These bonsai trees are especially well-groomed and maintained by a grounds crew of nearly 100. Some of the trees are hundreds of years old. You can see how angular the trunks grow and how ‘clean’ each tree looks.

On this visit I was with my pal KC from Brooklyn. It rained all day, but we managed to explore the grounds and hopefully he enjoy the Imperial Palace without all the crowds.

The red jackets and umbrellas really stood out in all the green and gray of the grounds.

There really is a lot of grounds to maintain, so when you need a rest, you need a rest!

I told Mr. Cakes that one day, I want a bamboo garden!

Leaving the East Gardens you really get a comparable view of old and new.

Below is the double-bridge Nijūbashi which leads to the residence of the Imperial Family.

The Imperial Palace, or Kyokyo, is a highly toured spot in Tokyo. There are reserved tours available to see the Imperial Palace buildings and private gardens. How ever long you decide to explore, I think it will be a welcome break from all the hustle and bustle of the concrete craziness of Tokyo.