An Imperial Palace free event in Autumn

Fujimi keep
Fujimi Keep with the Marunouchi skyscrapers in the background.

A great Imperial Palace free event is its autumn walk along Inuit Street. It is a chance to enjoy Tokyo’s maple trees in the inner city. As usual, I was among the first to arrive. I was quite pleased to see that the number of people waiting to enter was minimal. And to top it off, the weather was very good. It would be a nice day walking along Inui Street. It was a day of enjoyable photography.

What is Inui Street?

It is a street that lies between the Imperial Palace’s Sakashita and Inui Gates. That puts it on a southeast-to-northwest orientation. I guess it is about 750 meters long. It is also famous for cherry blossoms. Several palace landmarks are along it. They are:

  • Chowaden Hall
  • Fujimi Keep
  • Fujimi Tamon Defence House
  • Imperial Household Agency building

To walk from one end of Inui Street to the other takes about ten or fifteen minutes on most days. But it took me around an hour. I wanted to take photos!

Shikizakura and Tamon defence house
Tamon defence house behind autumn cherry blossoms.

Why do I go to this Imperial Palace free event?

The main reason I go to this event is to see Fujimi Keep. It’s one of the old defensive structures in the palace. I like to photograph it with the Marunouchi skyscrapers behind it. The contrast is great. Old and new. History and modernity.

But there is one more reason. I like the street’s maple trees. When their leaves turn red, they add some beautiful color to the palace. They are great for photos.

How many maple trees are there?


How was my visit?

One thing I must comment on was the weather. It was perfect blue skies with a few clouds here and there. For a free event such as this, it made perfect walking weather. Non-photographers must have loved it too.

Actually, I sometimes envy non-photographers. They look through their own eyes all the time. When I go out, I seem to always look at life through my viewfinder. It must be nice to walk and enjoy life at times. But breaking my photography habit is impossible.

Imperial Household Agency building
The Imperial Household Agency building.

What don’t I like about this Imperial Palace free event?

As always the only thing I can complain about was the police announcements. They were constantly telling us to move on. There was hardly anyone there at 9:30 so it seemed a little lame. For photographers, it makes things a little difficult to take good photos.

There are also many plain-clothed police at the event. You’ll see them looking into the crowd. I think they are looking for undesirables. The assassination of Prime Minister Abe was a hard lesson for Japan. They don’t want anything to happen at the palace.

This Imperial Palace free event has huge crowds on weekends and public holidays. With extra people attending, getting through security at the entrance takes longer. Once inside, the crowd moves at a snail’s pace. Maybe those police announcements are necessary!

Wrapping up

If you look at the palace from a nearby skyscraper, the palace resembles a forest. It’s a true green spot in inner Tokyo. But Inui Street isn’t like that. Along it are. You walk on a paved road with strategically placed trees every few meters on both sides.

But for an Imperial Palace free event, the walk along Inui Street must rank fairly highly. It allows you to get into the palace and see things most people will never see. Plus, it is home to Japan’s emperor.

For history and royalty lovers, those are pretty compelling reasons to me. What do you think? Let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below.

Imperial Palace free photos camera gear:

  • Camera Body: Fujifilm X-T3
  • Lenses: Fujifilm XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR and XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS

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