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Kitanomaru Park & Chidorigafuchi 北の丸公園 - 千鳥ケ淵

Cherry blossoms at Chidorigafuchi, Tokyo (© SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com)
Cherry blossoms at Chidorigafuchi

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The north-eastern moat of the Imperial Palace known as Chidorigafuchi is one of the most famous cherry-blossom viewing spots in Tokyo. Crowds gather between Kudanshita and Hanzōmon stations to contemplate the snow-white blossoms from late March to early April. Individual boats can be rented near Hanzōmon gate.

The inner side of the moat is made up by the Kitanomaru Park, one of the two areas of the Imperial Palace open to the public (along with the Imperial Palace East Garden). Although it is pleasant, it is not exceptional.

It is home to the Science Museum, National Museum of Modern Art & Craft Gallery and Nippon Budōkan (Martial Arts Hall). This latter was originally built for the judo competition in the 1964 Summer Olympics, and is now used as a concert hall and for events such as graduation ceremonies in early April, at the same time as the cherry blossom viewing.

Tayasu-mon Gate in Kita-no-maru park

The massive walls and gates surrouding the palace's moat are made of such huge stones that they bring the pyramids of Cairo to shame. Do not miss the Tayasu-mon Gate (田安門) between Yasukuni Shrine and the Nippon Budōkan.

Crossing the Kita-no-Maru Park, you wil reach the Imperial Palace East Gardens. Admission is free, although you will need to pick up a ticket so that the management can keep record of the number of visitors. This park is more sophisticated than Kita-no-Maru and make for an enjoyable stroll as well.

The nearest metro station is Kudanshita (Hanzōmon, Shinjuku and Tōzai lines), which is also the name of the neighbourhood comprising the Yasukuni Shrine.

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