We were pretty tired after doing the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and heading right to Tokyo afterwards so we got a late start today. We headed to Akasaka Palace at what we thought was the opening time at 11am. It turns out it probably opened earlier at 10am. This palace serves as the state guest house and has been open to tourists only since 2016. Various US presidents have been here. Joe Biden features quite a bit in many of the photographs on display.
Upon entering, we decided to walk around the main garden, behind the palace, first. The building is surrounded by quite a bit of empty space with a few groups of trees here and there.
A short distance away, foliage surrounds the palace. It is roped off, limiting tourists to the area devoid of trees.
There is a large fountain in the center of the main garden. The parts of the palace that remain original, including this fountain, are designed as national treasures.
There are three famous trees in the main garden. The one being supported by poles was planted by US President Ford. The taller tree that seems to be in better condition was planted by Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev a few months before the end of the Soviet Union.
The sparsely decorated main garden features a partial ring of flowers around the fountain. It looks quite nice, though it must be incredibly hot in the summer.
The actual garden seems to extend much further back behind the palace but it is closed to tourists. Looking on the Google Maps satellite view, there seems to be an actual Japanese garden back there.
Akasaka Palace was built for the crown prince of Japan in the early 1900s during the Meiji era. It features a Western design as Japan at the time was trying to modernize.
We walked around the fountain, capturing the view as we went.
More of the foliage behind the visitor accessible portion of the garden.
The palace definitely looks like it would be perfectly at home anywhere in western Europe.
We took one final look at the fountain before continuing into the palace. Like the British monarchy palaces, photography is not permitted inside of Akasaka Palace’s buildings. The interior is very European and in very good condition.
After touring the interior of the palace, we headed to the front side of the building to see the Front Garden.
The front is mostly made up of a driveway and open plaza. The palace building is very large and could only be captured from relatively close distances as a panorama.
We started walking away from the palace to the front gate where the exit is located. There is grass and trees here!
These guard houses, on either side of the driveway, are designed as national treasures.
Looking back, we could see the palace building in its entirety.
There is a bit of construction going on around the main gate. The gate itself is also a national treasure.
The same gate from the outside!