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GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

Tokyo Imperial Palace - Opening Hours, How To Get There, And What To Do


by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Fidelia A.

Last updated : Apr 28, 20227 min read

Things To Do

When visiting Tokyo, I bet that you would want to take a peek of the Imperial Palace. However, you might not know when is it opened and what you can do there.  Here in this article, I will discuss all the things you need to know about Tokyo Imperial Palace, including opening hours, hot to get there, and what to do when you arrive. Let's go!

About the Imperial Palace Area

blog imageHere’s the thing you should know about the palace:

The main area itself is not open for public. This is perhaps because the Imperial family themselves still lives in the premises. This is why the main area of the Imperial Palace is closed for public, except on two specific day of the year, which is January 2nd for New Year’s Greetings event and December 23rd which is the Emperor’s Birthday.

However, there are guided tours of the palace grounds offered regularly throughout the years. This tour though does not enter any building. The tour itself spanned for about 75 minutes but would be held in Japanese. Foreign visitors could take English audio headsets.

Prior bookings are required to join the guided tours of the palace grounds. You can book the tour via their website, filled in the form which is in English, or ask someone (hint: a guide!) to book one for you. I found some tours here which offers a walking tour around the Imperial Palace. If you still have questions or unsure feel free to send a tour request.

If you’re lucky, you could get same-day bookings if there are some spots available. Go to the Kikyomon Gate before the start of the tour of the day.


Imperial Palace (map)
Kikyomon Gate (map)


Guided Tours
10.00 and 13.30
Closed on Sundays and Mondays

Website (for reservation)


 Imperial Palace East Garden

blog imageHere’s the good news: Although the main area is closed, you can still visit the Imperial Palace East Garden!

The Imperial Palace East Garden is located in the inner area of the Palace. They were part of the former Edo Castle, which was destroyed in a fire. Although none of the building still exists to this day, the moats, entrance gates, and walls are still there. Even several guardhouses still exist.

You can visit the Imperial Palace East Garden from Otemachi Subway Station within a 10 minutes walk. If you prefer to use the JR line, you can stop at Tokyo station and take a 10 to 15 minutes walk to the Imperial Palace Area.


Imperial Palace East Garden (map)


09.00 - 16.30
Closed on Mondays, Fridays, and New Year (Dec 28 - Jan 3)



What to do nearby

blog imageChidorigafuchi Park

This park is popular, especially during the Sakura season. It is basically one of the 12 moats that surround the palace. In this particular moat, the river is lined with beautiful Sakura trees. Although there is no park around the moat, visitors could still enjoy a boat ride for a fee.

This place would be extremely crowded during the hanami (flower viewing) season. There are a few spots for picnic available, but it would be full in no time. If you want to enjoy a picnic in this area, you should come earlier and tag the best spot or send someone to get it first!


Chidorigafuchi (map)


11.00 - 17.30


Moat entry is Free
Boat Rent:
500 yen for off Hanami season
800 yen for Hanami season

Kitanomaru Park

blog image

This is another one of the moats surrounding the Palace. Located in the north of the palace, this place used to be a military base before it was converted to a park in 1969. You can find Sakura trees in this moat too, and the plus point of Kitanomaru Park is that this place has more spots for picnics. This park is also quite well known for its Autumn leaves! 


Kitanomaru Park (map)


24 Hours



Marunouchi Area

blog image

The Marunouchi Area lies in close proximity from Tokyo station. It has long been established as a high-class area. This area is lined with skyscrapers and fancy shopping and dining areas. The Marunouchi Area is most famous during the winter season, as thousands of LED lights up the trees in Naka-dori street. This is a definite spot to stop-by for your sightseeing trip around Tokyo Imperial Palace!


Marunouchi (map)
Naka-dori Street (map)


For Marunouchi Illumination
Early November - Mid February
17.30 - 23.00



More Tips

Getting the right time to see the Imperial Palace might be difficult.  As I mentioned before, you need prior reservations for the guide. However, this might be difficult if you are not used to Tokyo’s public transportation. You might miss your booking since you got lost somewhere down the road. Fear not! I have a way to get you out of this mess: Hire a private guideIf you hire a private guide, you would be able to get reservations easier. Moreover, your guide could also provide ideas about where to go next from the Imperial Palace!

For those of you who are looking for a private guide, then I would recommend you to get one from GoWithGuide! Not only that they have excellent guides that would cater to your every need, but they also offer you the best customer service as possible to make sure you’re in the right hands. If you want to include other destinations within your trip, check out all the other private tour groups that are available as well as other cultural activities available in Tokyo.

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Toru M.

5.00 / 5
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I have been working as a journalist for 37 years in Kyodo News Service, Japan’s most prestigious news agency. From 1989-1991, I was dispatched to Cyprus, Nicosia and working as a Middle East correspondent. I covered the Gulf War during the time. I worked at Kyodo’s New York bureau from 1994-97 covering the Wall Street and the United Nations. Although I am still working as a journalist here in Japan, I would love to have an opportunity to introduce my country to people from abroad as a tour guide. I will show you the best of Tokyo and other noted palce Including Kyoto.                                                                                                                                  

Tokyo Tour Guide - Grant A.

Grant A.

5.00 / 5
(3 reviews)

My name is Grant I lived more than 10 years in Japan. I graduated University and translation school in Tokyo. I am fluent in Japanese. I have a degree in Asian studies and have expert-level knowledge of Japanese culture and history. I have memorized the JR rail system across all of Japan, I use the same train timetable calculators as the station staff, and I have experience using bullet train passes that are exclusive to foreign visitors. I can optimally navigate the Tokyo underground and maximize value from a Tokyo metro pass and also understand Tokyo above ground which will allow for seamless transitions between different metro stations and landmarks with minimal backtracking. My tour fee is 20,000yen for 1-6hours (135.28USD) 30,000yen for 7-9hours (202.93USD) 40,000yen for 9-12hours (270.57USD) I have half-day tours listed at 20,000 yen (135.28USD) at the moment but you can combine them or do a custom tour for roughly up to 9 hours for 30,000 yen (202.93USD). The time transiting to and from your hotel for pick up or drop off within Tokyo 23wards does not count towards an increase in the price.                                                                                                                                 

Yokohama Tour Guide - Haruo T.

Haruo T.

4.83 / 5
(6 reviews)

I live in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture. I have a license to teach in high schools and was admitted to the degree of Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language in the University of Birmingham. Until 2015 I had been teaching English at public high schools in Kanagawa for 37 years. During that time, I had some experience of guiding students from overseas through sister-school relationship around Tokyo and Kanagawa. Therefore, I had good command of English with the TOEIC score of 935. As for a tour guide experience I earned the certificate of National Government Licensed Guide-Interpreter in English and since then I have guided tourists to the popular sites around Tokyo, Yokohama, Kamakura and Yokosuka. My guiding focuses on introducing not only Japanese historical and cultural backgrounds but also giving tourists some tips to travel Japan only by themselves, such as how to use trains and subways, find good restaurants, reserve tickets, buy survenier, and speak basic Japanese. In addition, my tour includes opportunities to experience Japanese culture like Zen meditation, ninja performance, visiting anime's location sites based on tourists' request. Besides, by means of my hobbies of writing English Haiku and Waka (traditional Japanese poems) and performing Rakugo (traditional Japanese funny story telling) in English, I can surely entertain tourists during the tour. My moto as a tour guide is let the tourists have a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Japan with my profound, intelligible and interestiog guiding.                                                                                                                                 

Kanagawa Tour Guide - Kaneo U.

Kaneo U.

4.97 / 5
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I’m so excited to have a chance to show you around my favorite spots in Kanagawa prefecture. I was born in Kanagawa. I spent my whole school life, including university, here in Kanagawa. I worked as a high school English teacher here for 40 years. I love Kanagawa so much. We have many interesting tourist spots, like Hakone, Kamakura, Enoshima and Yokohama. I got my tour guide license in English in 2009. I am still an English teacher. To give an interesting and impressive lesson to young high school students, I’ve learnt and gathered many kinds of information. I also have a license to teach social studies, so I have a wide range of knowledge about Japanese culture and history. I’m sure to provide you an interesting tour.                                                                                                                                 

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