皇居のお正月のご挨拶- Tokyo Imperial Palace New Year’s Greeting (2016)

Traditionally every January 2nd, the imperial family of Japan makes a public appearance in Chiyoda at the Tokyo Imperial Palace.  This is one of the two times the palace grounds are open to the general public and is regarded as a national holiday.  I had had never been to the Imperial Palace before, so I figured that this was the perfect chance to get some sightseeing in as well as witness some of the majestic leaders of this country.

Walking to the palace from the station took about a half an hour, but I was not disappointed by the views.  There were so many parks and rivers as well as landmarks near by and the weather was sunny and fantastic.  Chiyoda is a very relaxed town and was much less crowded than Asakusa and other parts of Tokyo.  I enjoyed seeing the Imperial Palace from a distance as well as some of the local sights.  Having been surrounded by masses of people the last few days, this was the perfect way to end my vacation before returning to Tokushima via the night Kaifu Kankou bus.  I felt at peace as I made my way to the palace gates.

The imperial family had 5 visits according to the Imperial Household Agency, and I was able to make it to the very last one at 2:20.  The family drove by in three vehicles and waved to the crowds that had gathered on the street.  The visit was very short and a bit underwhelming; nothing like a festive parade, but it was still fun and worthwhile to see.  I was happy to experience a rare part of Japan and know I’ll for sure come back to visit Tokyo again!

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