The former Edo Castle was the seat of the shogun who ruled over Japan from 1603 to 1867. In 1868, the shogunate was overthrown and the capital of Japan, and the royal residence, was relocated from Kyoto to Tokyo. The new Imperial Palace was completed in 1888 but was destroyed during World War II. It was rebuilt in the exact same style as before.
Visitors can typically only see the palace from outside its walls. However, on January 2nd and February 23 (the Emperor’s birthday), visitors are allowed to enter the palace grounds and view the members of the Imperial Family who make appearances on a balcony. Guided tours are offered during the rest of the year but only to view the exterior of the property.
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