Kokyo Gaien National Garden

Former Edo Castle



The Imperial Palace has occupied the site of the former Edo Castle since 1868. Edo Castle was the home of the Tokugawa Shoguns and the seat of the feudal samurai government which ruled Japan from 1603 until 1867. After the end of feudal rule in 1867, Edo Castle was vacated by the Shogun and transferred to the new Imperial Government. The Emperor moved from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1869, after residing in Kyoto for over a millennium.

There has been a castle on this site since 1457, when a castle that occupied the site of the Honmaru, Ninomaru and Sannomaru areas was built by the samurai Ota Dokan. From 1590 this castle was the home of Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu, who became the first Tokugawa Shogun in 1603. The Honmaru area included the massive keep tower, and the palace of the Shogun.

Edo Castle was extended by the second and third Shoguns, Hidetada and Iemitsu, with work completed by 1660. Most of the original castle buildings have been lost to fire.

The current Imperial Palace buildings were completed in 1968, in the Nishinomaru, which had been the palace of the retired shoguns during the Tokugawa shogunate.