The Imperial Palace is set on the site of the old Edo castle (the Edo government ruled Japan for 300 years), and the current emperor and his family actually live here, so you can’t physically enter the structure. You can, however, take tours around the lush gardens, moats, and bridges that surround it. The original palace, built in 1888, was obliterated during WWII, but it’s been rebuilt as an almost exact replica of what stood before. Tours are in both Japanese and English, and if you happen to be in town on December 23 or January 2, book in fast—those are the only two days of the year visitors are permitted to enter the inner palace grounds.
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