The Tokyo Imperial Palace and The Streets of Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan


We had a second day of contrasts in one of the greatest cities in the world. Our day of sightseeing led us to a one hundred year old Emperor’s Castle, and to the heart of what once was the world wide electronics capital in the electronics district of Akihabara. Our day would lead us to discover the different neighbourhood and cultures of Japan, in what makes Tokyo one of the world’s most interesting cities to visit.

This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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City Visit: The Imperial Palace and the Streets of Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan

This post reflects our visit to The Imperial Palace and the Streets of Akihabara. We also visited the Meiji Jingu Shrine and Shibuya Crossing, the Tsujiki Fish Market and Shopping in Ginza, and spotted Cherry blossoms in Shinjuku-Gyoen (Shinjuku Park).

Our travels also took us through Roppongi, then over by train to the Imperial Palace. Not much has changed here between my last visits but it’s still a beautiful place to see in Tokyo. 

Visiting the Tokyo Imperial Palace:

The Tokyo Imperial Palace is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is a large park area located in the Chiyoda district of the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo and contains several buildings including the main palace, some residences of the Imperial Family, an archive, museums and administrative offices. The total area including the gardens is 1.15 square kilometres (0.44 sq mi)

In my experience, it’s always been a bit of a distant visit to the palace, as there isn’t any way to get access to the Imperial Palace itself. Most of the viewing access is from the Kokyogaten Gardens, across the various moats that surround the Imperial Castle. As a result, the views are somewhat distant and more tradiotnally picturesque rather than being immersed in a castle experience.

Seimon Ishibashi bridge leading to the main gate of the Imperial Palace
Views of the Kikyo Moat and Sentry Towers
Traditional Emperor Views
Receiving Gates

The sights are very pretty to see and represent another peaceful and historic part of Tokyo, Japan in all it’s beauty.

We left the Imperial Palace and wandered a short distance to the south east. The main transportation network in the are is that Tokyo (Train) Station. It is the busiest station in Japan, with more than 4,000 trains arriving and departing daily,  and the fifth-busiest in Eastern Japan in terms of passenger traffic with more than 500,000 people use Tokyo Station every day.

Lunch in the Basement of Tokyo Station

Sports Equipment Shopping in Jimbocho:

After lunch in the basement of the Tokyo train station, we headed over to Jimbocho by train. We started there for a thirty minute walk down the “302”towards Akihabara.

Downhill skiing is a passion of mine and in my previous life, the profession took me to Japan to teach skiing for a period of time. Jimbocho is the “the sports equipment area” for ski stuff and we spent a great deal of time navigating the local ski stores.

Jimbocho Streets selling all things sports
Jimbocho Alleyways
MrsWT73 spotting among her first lucky cats

Window Shopping the Unusual Whistler Cafe:

In Jimbocho, we also happened across the unusual Whistler Cafe; a homage to my home away from home. It’s a little surreal to have a cafe dedicated to a town and ski hill. It was complete with re-appropriated avalanche launcher signs, British Columbia licence places, and the Canadian flag.

The Whistler Cafe in Tokyo, Japan
Japanese Poutine on Special for ¥580

Re-Charging at Doutour Coffee:

The jet lag was coming on a little, so we re-charged with a Doutour Coffee. Doutour Coffee grew out of coffee roasting from a nine square meter store to an Asian franchise with over 1,300 locations in Japan (and Now Malaysia and Singapore). The coffee is pretty darn tasty and I always try to stop in for a coffee whenever I am through Japan.

Wonderful Doutour Coffee

Akihabara by Evening:

We eventually arrived in the late afternoon to Akihabara “the electronic district”. Akihabara was the home to much of Japan’s electronics sales of Sony, Canon, Fuji and Aiwa in the nineteen eighties; perhaps eclipsed today by the South Korean giants LG, Samsung and Kyocera.

Akihabara is under several train viaducts and is generally a noisy experience. I still find it an intersting place to visit to get in the total Tokyo experience. It has giant towers of advertising, Magna ads and everything a teenage adult male would find engaging.

MrsWT73 under the Train Viaducts of Akihabara
Elevated Train Ducts at Akihabara Station
Elevated Trains of Akihabara
Stores Selling Everything
The Electronics District that once ruled the World
Pachinko Games in between Magna & Electronics Stores
The Home of Sega

I always find Akihabara an interesting place to visit as it provides a window into a small subcultures that exists throughout the world; electronics, animé and Magna. I

Our day at The Imperial Palace, Jimbocho and Akihabara:

The Imperial Palace and all it’s royalty couldn’t be any more different than the commercial streets of Jimbocho and the electronics district of Akihabara. Seeing a palace that’s over one hundred years old and the serenity and the history that it entails is a unique and peaceful experience. This sereneness is punctuated with the noise and Commerical lights of Akihabara, which was once the capital of the worldwide electronics phenomenon. It’s another great example of the contrasts that Tokyo, Japan has to offer.

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