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JREF

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Imperial Palace East Gardens

The Imperial Palace East Gardens (皇居東御苑, Kōkyo Higashi Gyoen) are a part of the inner imperial palace and open to the public since 1968. In the 17th century, the current palace was the location of Edo Castle, the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate. The East Gardens comprise the former honmaru (inner bailey), the ninomaru (second bailey) and the sannomaru (third bailey) and cover some 210,000 square metres with a large expanse of lawn in the centre, the remains of the donjon in the northern part and the magnificent watch tower, the Fujimi-yagura, and an orchard planted by the imperial family in the southern part.

Most visitors access the gardens through Ōtemon Gate (大手門) and then proceed to the Museum of the Imperial Collection (三の丸尚蔵館 Sannomaru-Shōzōkan) which houses some 8,000 pieces of imperial household treasures bestowed to the public by the imperial family (free admission)....
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A very nice article. I think the palace grounds and remains are a great treasure, though often overlooked and a bit inscrutable for visitors. For example the lovely Fujimi-yagura is maybe one of the first historic buildings visitors to Tokyo may see (excluding the wonderfully-renovated Tokyo Station), but it is unapproachable and isolated - hard to get to and giving the visitor very little in return other than photographs from a distance. It is only because of this article that I found out it is actually a fairly recent reconstruction. Still, it is a charming building, and one wonders what it looks like on the inside. If visitors could go inside it would be much more interesting. Since it is a reconstruction, it ought to accommodate some tourist traffic, but currently it is just a curio, sitting on the rock wall with indifference and an air of abandonment. Who worked there, what were conditions like for the guards there, what were the different storeys for, etc.? Same for Sakurada-mon and the other edifices - lovely to look at, but they remind me of furniture with plastic covers on them, or china that is locked forever away inside a cabinet, never to be held or used, and only to be passively admired. Anyway, interesting article!
 

thomas

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Thanks @Majestic !

Since it is a reconstruction, it ought to accommodate some tourist traffic, but currently it is just a curio, sitting on the rock wall with indifference and an air of abandonment. Who worked there, what were conditions like for the guards there, what were the different storeys for, etc.? Same for Sakurada-mon and the other edifices - lovely to look at, but they remind me of furniture with plastic covers on them, or china that is locked forever away inside a cabinet, never to be held or used, and only to be passively admired.
I guess that applies to most reconstructions from the 1950s and 60s. Those that are open to the public (such as the reconstructed ferroconcrete castles in Okazaki, Odawara, Aizuwakamatsu, and perhaps even Osaka) are pretty disappointing; just empty shells that do not reflect their former historical importance in the slightest.

There are a few display boards around Fujimi-yagura, but they are quite technical:

fujimi-yagura01-jpg.25963


fujimi-yagura02-jpg.25964


fujimi-yagura03-jpg.25965


fujimi-yagura04-jpg.25966
 
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