The East Gardens are the former site of Edo Castle's innermost circles of defense, the honmaru ("main circle") and ninomaru ("secondary circle"). None of the main buildings remain today, but the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses still exist .
Edo Castle was the residence of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Emperor Meiji also resided there from 1868 to 1888 before moving to the newly constructed Imperial Palace.
A wide lawn and the remaining foundation of the former castle tower can be found on top of the hill, where the castle's innermost buildings once stood. The castle tower was completed in 1638 as the tallest castle tower in Japan's history. But only a few years later in 1657, it was destroyed by citywide fires and has not been rebuilt ever since.
In place of the former buildings in the secondary circle of defense (ninomaru) at the foot of the hill, a nice Japanese style garden has been created.
How to get there
The Otemon entrance to the East Gardens is a short walk from Otemachi Station on the Chiyoda, Tozai, Marunouchi, Hanzomon and Mita Subway Lines. It can also be reached in a 10-15 minute walk from Tokyo Station.
Hours and Fees
Hours: 9:00 to 16:30 (until 17:00 from mid April through August; until 16:00 from November through February). Entry possible until 30 minutes before closing.
Closed: Mondays, Fridays, New Year (Dec 28 to Jan 3) and some special occasions. If Monday or Friday is a national holiday, the gardens are closed on the following day instead.