Art, Culture, Experience, Lifestyle,

A visit to the beautiful “State Guest House Akasaka Palace” in the middle of Tokyo!

In recent years, the number of foreign tourists in Tokyo has been increasing. Although there is a lot of information and guidebooks, I have the impression that there are still some touristic highlights that are not yet well known. One of these highlights is the tour of the “State Guest House Akasaka Palace”. Most of you have even seen this place on television. What kind of place that is? The “Visit Minato City” team got special permission to film the palace, so I am happy to introduce you to the charming “State Guest House Akasaka Palace Tour” in this article!

"State Guest House Akasaka Palace"

The main building of the “State Guest House Akasaka Palace”

The State Guest House Akasaka Palace, or “Geihinkan Akasaka Rikyu” in Japanese, is a place where kings and presidents from around the world are welcomed when visiting Japan. For example, last year, when the President of the United States visited Japan, a reception and a press conference were held here in Akasaka. The pictures were broadcast by TV stations around the world.

"State Guest House Akasaka Palace"

Doesn’t the main gate look like something you’d see at Versailles?

So far, only real VIPs were allowed to visit the “State Guest House Akasaka Palace”. Now it’s open to the public all year round!

For a tour of the main building, the front garden, and the main garden, you do not need to register in advance. If you register on the Internet beforehand, you can also visit the Japanese-style Annex.

Main garden

This is the beautiful main garden behind the main building.

Well, if you have read my past articles, you already know that I looove architecture! The “State Guest House Akasaka Palace” is right in the middle of my strike zone! Constructed in 1909 as the residence of the crown prince, this palace was later converted into a place of diplomacy. Also, it’s Japan’s only neo-baroque palace building.

Pay attention to the Japanese-style details!

A few years ago I unexpectedly saw the palace from the taxi I was sitting in. “What’s this western castle doing in the middle of Tokyo?”, I thought. I was surprised. Viewed from a distance, it looks like a palace that can be found everywhere in Central Europe. But this first impression is deceptive.

main building

Japanese details are hidden everywhere. The round symbol is the emblem of the emperor’s family

As you enter the main building (a Western-style building) and look at the rooms where receptions and press conferences are held, pay attention to the luxurious decorations. There are many hidden Japanese-style details: samurai armors, the emperor’s emblem, Japanese musical instruments and so on.

ballroom

Hagoromo no Ma is so called for the large ceiling painting inspired by a passage from the Noh play Hagoromo (“Robe of Heaven”). If you look closely, you’ll find Japanese instruments hidden in the design.

Western and Japanese stylistic elements are interlinked to form an unusual entity that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. It’s super interesting!

kacho no ma

The name Kacho no Ma (Hall of Flowers and Birds) originates in the oil paintings on the ceiling and the cloisonné panels on the walls, all with floral and avian themes.

The Japanese-style Annex from an exciting era: the 1970s

Really, I have to urge you to book the tour for a visit to the Annex building. Constructed in 1974 by architect Yoshiro Taniguchi, the Annex “Yushintei” is not “old-time Japanese architecture” as seen in Kyoto. But it is also not a state-of-the-art modern construction that breaks with the classic Japanese architecture. The Annex is a “moderate” modern Japanese-style building. From the angle of the roof to the materials used for the ceiling and lamps, at “Yushintei” nothing is random. The details inspire every architectural freak!

Yushintei

Do remember this building from the news? This is where president Trump and prime minister Abe fed the koi fish

The Japanese-style Annex is a building built to entertain foreign guests. Tea parties and dinners are held here in small groups. Maybe even the president of your country has been sitting here.

yushintei

Inside the “Yushintei”: a Japanese stone garden (which is the first thing, state guests will see), a beautiful lamp, and a tatami room

How did you like my introduction? If you come to Tokyo, be sure to visit the “State Guest House Akasaka Palace”. There are also events such as the “Garden Cafe”, which are held for a limited time. The illumination of the buildings at night is also beautiful. For more details, please check the official homepage.

Garden Cafe

Garden Cafe

The “State Guest House Akasaka Palace” is a real “must-see”!
We will soon upload a video about the “State Guest House Akasaka Palace”. If you are interested, please visit our page again!

State Guest House Akasaka Palace

The “Geihinkan” at night


State Guest House Akasaka Palace (Geihinkan Akasaka Rikyu)

2-1-1 Moto-Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
HP: https://www.geihinkan.go.jp/en/akasaka/

Official Twitter account:
https://twitter.com/cao_geihinkan

Official Instagram account:
https://www.instagram.com/akasaka_geihinkan/

Schedule and registration:
https://www.geihinkan.go.jp/en/akasaka/visit/

Access:
JR: “Yotsuya” Station (Chuo Line or Sobu Line), about 7 minutes walk from Akasaka Exit
Tokyo Metro: “Yotsuya” Station (Marunouchi Line, Namboku Line), about 7 minutes walk from Exit 1 (Marunouchi Line) or Exit 2 (Namboku Line)

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writer

I was born and raised in Kiel/Germany. When I was 16 I came to Japan for the first time. I fell in love with this beautiful country, so I returned after my university graduation. Since then, I have been living in Tokyo - and I don't plan to change anything about that ;-) My hobbies are taking a stroll around the city, taking photos and drinking coffee.

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