Thinking about taking a cruise to Japan this year? If you're heading to this fascinating, culturally rich island nation, make time to visit the world-famous Imperial Palace.
The Palace Grounds
The Tokyo Imperial Palace, also known as "Kokyo," is a 1.32-square-mile park area that is home to the emperor of Japan and his family. Located in the Chiyoda area of Tokyo, this beautiful, expansive estate contains not only the imperial family's home, but also the main palace, a museum, a music hall, archives, administrative buildings, guard towers, and a multitude of pristinely manicured paths through the grounds — all surrounded by massive stone walls and an expansive moat.
Located on the land that once was Edo Castle — the home of the military ruler, or "shogun" of Japan during feudal and medieval times — the Imperial Palace is a must-see on any visit to Tokyo. The grounds, on which lush, expertly trimmed trees stand watch serenely over ponds brimming with friendly koi, symbolize the very essence of beauty in Japan. The museum, which traces the history of the site back over 500 years of war, intrigue, and clashes between armies of samurai, will fascinate anyone with a penchant for history.
The craftsmanship with which just about every facet of the palace was built will amaze those who behold it. In a country already famous for attention to beauty and detail, one would have trouble finding a better example of passion than in the home of the royal family.
Touring the Imperial Palace
Whether you wish to cruise to Japan and take a guided tour or stroll the palace grounds and absorb its atmosphere at your own pace, this cruise destination should be considered a full day's shore excursion. Free walking tours are available several days a week from various train stations. And surprisingly, since the palace is located in the center of the financial district and largely ignored by the local population, it's one of the few places in Tokyo where one can find vast open fields and picnic spaces.
On a Southeast Asia and Japan cruise, you'll spend time soaking in vibrant cultures and breathtaking locales like the Imperial Palace. After a day spent touring this stunning, peaceful palace — and taking plenty of photos — you're sure to feel that sense of rejuvenation that comes with a vacation well spent.