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Thursday, November 10, 2011

皇居(Koyko)





皇居(Koyko),又稱皇宮,最早為太田道灌始建於1457年的江戶城。其後,幕府將軍德川家康入主江戶,至第三代幕府將軍德川家光年間全部落成。與此同時,日本橋、銀座大街等相繼建成,江戶城初具規模。進入明治時代,天皇一家入住江戶城,江戶城的名稱也先後由江戶城、東京城、宮城直至今日的皇居,隨時代幾經變化。雖曆史沈浮,但綠陰簇擁、城牆與護城河圍繞的皇居,往昔風貌依舊。

The current Imperial Palace (皇居, Kōkyo) is located on the former site of Edo Castle, a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls in the center of Tokyo, a short walk from Tokyo Station. It is the residence of Japan's Imperial Family.

Edo Castle used to be the seat of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 until 1867. In 1868, the shogunate was overthrown, and the country's capital and Imperial Residence were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. In 1888 construction of a new Imperial Palace was completed. The palace was once destroyed during World War Two, and rebuilt in the same style, afterwards.

From Kokyo Gaien, the large plaza in front of the Imperial Palace, visitors can view the Nijubashi, two bridges that form an entrance to the inner palace grounds. The stone bridge in front is called Meganebashi (Eyeglass Bridge) for its looks. The bridge in the back was formerly a wooden bridge with two levels, from which the name Nijubashi (Double Bridge) is derived.

The palace buildings and inner gardens are not open to the public. Only on January 2 (New Year's Greeting) and December 23 (Emperor's Birthday), visitors are able to enter the inner palace grounds and see the members of the Imperial Family, who make several public appearances on a balcony.

During the rest of the year, guided tours of the palace are offered in Japanese, with an English pamphlet and audio guide provided. Tours must be reserved in advance with the Imperial Household Agency. Reservations can be made over the internet

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