The Imperial Palace East Gardens are part of the Inner Imperial Palace in Tokyo and open to the public. Edo Castle was the residence of the Tokugawa Shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Emperor Meiji resided there from 1868 to 1888 before moving to the newly built Imperial Palace. None of the main buildings are preserved in the gardens today, but the ditches, walls, entrance gates, and several guard houses still exist.
On the hill, where once stood the innermost buildings of the castle, there is a wide lawn and the remaining foundation of the former castle tower. The castle tower was completed in 1638 as the tallest castle tower in Japan’s history. But only a few years later, in 1657, it was destroyed by citywide fires and has not been rebuilt since then.
Instead of the former buildings in the second defense circle at the foot of the hill a beautiful garden in the Japanese style was created. Japanese gardens are not designed as kitchen gardens, but to express a philosophy. Common style elements are stones and moss, as well as trees and water. Bumpy paths should encourage the visitor for attentive consideration, the asymmetrical arrangement creates different perspectives.