My time in Seoul allowed me to reconnect with myself. I turned over rocks and explored deep in the soil of my subconscious and I realized something new. I don't travel to see new and interesting things, to explore the unexplored. For me travel is about building a deeper connection with myself and with the people I meet along the way. This explains my difficult first month in Tokyo. I have no problem going places by myself, but I'm going there because I want to meet new people. Tokyo became a source of joy for me after I built a community. And after my time in Fukuoka my love of Tokyo was growing even stronger because one of my best friends from college was coming to visit me.
I had been saving many places that I wanted to see in Tokyo for Sejan's arrival. High among the list was the Imperial Palace. The palace sits on the grounds of the old Edo Castle. Before Tokyo became the capital, the honors go to Kyoto. It wasn't until 1868 that the emperor even moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. The grounds are encloused in a huge moat with different areas inside like the palace grounds where the royal family lives as well as numerous gardens.
The sun greeted us intensely as we made our way from the train platform up to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. I heard this place is gorgeous during cherry blossom season. The land was well manicured and there was even an area that contained one tree for each of the 47 prefectures of Japan.
You can also learn about the history of the grounds themselves and how their use has evolved overtime. The photo above is from inside of a guard house. After making our way around the gardens we attempted to explore the royal palace itself. I should have known something was up because there is no way to get to the palace from the garden so we walked around the moat that enshrines the totality of the grounds. The moat was really pretty and the grass sweeping down to the water made for a good picture as the city looms in the background.
There were no signs listing which way was the fastest route to the Palace so I pulled up Google Maps and found the closest bridge from the street across the moat. Sejan and I began walking there, however when we arrived the gate was closed so we walk to the next bridge. That gate was closed as well so we continued walking around the perimeter of the moat. By the time we got to the main gate we had essentially walked 5 kilometers. Unfortunately, we were not rewarded for our efforts because you can only explore the palace grounds on specific days of the year and through tours. This is why you should always do your research.
Tired and hungry we wandered away to nearby Ginza and found this cute hawaiian themed restaurant where I ordered a tuna salad that was amazing!
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