Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta.
This time, I toured on a Harley from Ageo City, Saitama Prefecture to around the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
The Imperial Palace is the residence of His Majesty the Emperor, a symbol of Japan, and is located on the site of the former Edo Castle.
It is an attractive spot with beautiful scenery that harmonizes history and nature. This time, we visited the Imperial Palace Outer Gardens and the Imperial Palace East Gardens, which have many highlights. I’d like to introduce you to the touring process.
Route around the Imperial Palace
The route from Ageo City, Saitama Prefecture to the area around the Imperial Palace is to use National Route 17 and the Shin-Omiya Bypass towards Saitama City, then take the Shuto Expressway Omiya Line. Take Shuto Expressway No. 5 Ikebukuro Line, get off at Takebashi JCT, head to Hitotsubashi IC, proceed along Uchibori Street, and enter Daikancho Street.
From there you will arrive at the Imperial Palace Garden. The distance is approximately 40km, and if there is no traffic jam, you can get there in about an hour.
My favorite motorcycle is Harley’s FLSB Sport Glide, and this route was very comfortable as there are many highways. The Sport Glide is a lightweight and compact Harley model, making it easy to maneuver even on narrow roads in the city center. It is also fully equipped with fairings and saddlebags, making it convenient for long-distance driving and carrying luggage.
Highlights of the Imperial Palace Gardens
The Imperial Palace Garden is a vast park located on the outer wall of the former Edo Castle. There is a grassy field dotted with black pines, a moat, and historical buildings such as a castle gate. Also, flowers such as cherry blossoms and irises are in full bloom. I visited the following three spots.
Statue of Masashige Kusunoki
The statue of Masashige Kusunoki is an equestrian statue located in front of the outer gardens of the Imperial Palace. This is one of the most famous bronze statues in the country, and it depicts the bravery of Masashige Kusunoki, a loyal vassal. Masashige Kusunoki was a military commander who welcomed Emperor Godaigo when he returned from Oki Island. This statue was erected during the Meiji period, but the metal was donated during the Pacific War. It was rebuilt after the war.
Ishibashi is an elegant stone bridge that can be seen in front of the Imperial Palace. The two bridges, the “Main Gate Ishibashi” in the foreground and the “Main Gate Iron Bridge” in the back, are collectively called Nijubashi, but strictly speaking, it refers to the bridge in the back. This bridge is not normally used, but is used for official imperial events, such as New Year’s public visits and visits by foreign guests to the Imperial Palace. The view of the Imperial Palace from the stone bridge is famous as a symbol of Japan.
Wadakura Fountain Park
Wadakura Fountain Park is a fountain park located near Wadakura Moat. There are waterfalls and murmuring streams, and you can enjoy a variety of scenery. At night, the fountain is lit up, creating a magical atmosphere. There is also a free rest area on the terrace. I took a break here.
Highlights of the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace is a garden attached to the Imperial Palace that has been created by maintaining the Honmaru, Ninomaru, and Sannomaru of the former Edo Castle. There are castle towers and turrets reminiscent of the Edo period, making it the most historic area of the Imperial Palace. Although it is located in the city center, it is surrounded by abundant nature, making it a popular place for walking and resting. I visited the following three spots.
Otemon is the main gate of the former Edo Castle, and the feudal lords used to enter the castle from here. It is in the form of a Masugata Gate, and once you pass through the Korai Gate in front of it, there is a square stone wall that prevents you from going straight. There was an armory called Watariyaguramon on the right. In 1860, the “Sakurada Mongai Incident” occurred, in which the chief priest, Ii Naosuke, was assassinated by Mito Roshi and others at the edge of the moat outside this gate.
Nijubashi is the bridge that leads into the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. The two bridges,
Mahon Omotebashi'' in the foreground andMahon Ura Bridge” in the back, are collectively called Nijubashi. The front bridge is made of stone, and the front bridge is made of reinforced concrete. The front bridge is not normally used, but is used for official imperial events, such as New Year’s general visits and visits by foreign guests to the Imperial Palace. The view of the Imperial Palace seen from Nijubashi Bridge is famous as a symbol of Japan.
Sakuradamon is a castle gate called the former Edo Castle Sakuradamon, and is a nationally designated important cultural property. It is one of the castle gates where the square shape remains intact, and was the starting point of the Odawara Highway, also known as the Odawara Exit. It is famous for the “Sakuradamongai Incident” in 1860, when the elder Ii Naosuke was assassinated outside the gate.
Motorcycle parking around the Imperial Palace
There are no motorcycle parking lots around the Imperial Palace, so you will have to park your motorcycle at Tokyo Station and sightsee around the Imperial Palace. I also decided to park my bike at the bike parking lot underneath Tokyo Station and leisurely explore the sights.
In this area, the parking lots available for motorcycles vary depending on the displacement and size of the motorcycle you are riding, so please choose the parking lot that matches the motorcycle you are riding.
This time, I toured on a Harley from Ageo City, Saitama Prefecture to around the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The Imperial Palace is a wonderful spot where you can feel the history and culture of Japan. At the Imperial Palace Gardens, we visited highlights such as the statue of Masashige Kusunoki, the stone bridge, and Wadakura Fountain Park. At the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, we toured important cultural properties such as Otemon, Nijubashi, and Sakuradamon. The area around the Imperial Palace, which is located in the city center but is rich in nature, is also recommended for touring.
I rode on Harley’s FLSB Sport Glide, and it was comfortable to drive on highways and inner-city roads.
I hope this article has piqued your interest in touring around the Imperial Palace. Next time, I’ll go touring on my Harley to another spot. looking forward to!