Marunouchi, the center of Tokyo
Marunouchi is basically the center of Tokyo: this district is home to the city’s main financial district, also the Imperial Palace, cultural centres and some magnificent parks and gardens.
Mauronouchi is the first place that many visitors to Tokyo experience as it is home to the massive Tokyo Station, which is a major Shinkansen Bullet Train terminal, as well as being one of the city’s busiest suburbia rail stations. Built in 1914 the station now handles around 3000 trains a day.
Located east of the station is the Tokyo International Forum: this huge piece of impressive architecture serves as a group of halls and an exhibition space for conferences, meetings and displays.
Although there is not a lot to see for the general visitor its amazing modern design and helpful tourist information desk make it well worth the visit. For those visiting on weekends, there is often a farmers market in the forecourt which is very interesting.
Just a couple of blocks west of the International Forum, you will find one of the treasures of Tokyo: the huge grounds of the Imperial Palace, which is surrounded by a moat.
The palace is only open to the public on New Year’s Day (Jan 2) and the Emperor’s Birthday (Dec 23). The main palace or Kyūden is the private residence of the imperial family plus an archive, and museum.
The public can visit the Kitanormaru, which is a park to the east of the palace and is home to the famous Nippon Budokan Hall.
The Budokan was built for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964 but is remembered for memorable concerts. The Hall’s primary purpose today is for martial arts.
Also, you can find in the park the National Museum of Modern Art and the Science Museum of Tokyo.
The moat-circled East Garden or Kokyo Higashi Gyoen is another part of the precinct open to the public. This magnificent garden is especially popular during the cherry blossom season of March and April.
The garden is opens five days a week and usually is closed on Mondays and Fridays. The garden was the former site of the castle’s innermost defense called the honmaru. The garden is a must-see for any visitor to Tokyo as the grounds are just stunning, especially around the Ninomaru Japanese garden which is a majestic photo opportunity and offers great views of the palace.