Asuka was the Imperial capital of Japan during the Asuka period, which takes its name from this place. It is located in the present-day village of Nara Prefecture; some of the many theories of what the place was named after include the bird common crossbill, or isuka in Japanese, or local geological features, e.g. 洲処 or 崩地 + 処. Or it may have been named in honor of Asuka Nyorai, the Japanese equivalent of Akshobhya, one of the Five Buddhas of Wisdom, still worshiped in Asuka-dera, the Asuka-niimasu-jinja, several other structures from those days. Archaeology projects continue to uncover relics from these ruins. Recent discoveries in the area include Wado coins, believed to be some of the oldest coins in Japan, paintings in the Kitora and Takamatsuzuka Kofun, or tombs; the Ishibutai Kofun is located in Asuka. On March 12, 2004, the discovery of the remains of a residence's main building adjacent to the kofun was announced, it is that the residence belonged to Soga no Umako, believed to have been entombed in the kofun.
Asuka can be reached from either Okadera Station or Asuka Station on the Kintetsu train line, or by car on Route 169. In the Asuka period, various palaces were constructed for each monarch; as soon as one emperor died, the whole court moved to a newly constructed palace, since it was considered dangerous to remain in a place where a deceased monarch's spirit might reside. Sometimes during a single emperor's reign, palaces were changed multiple times due to destruction by fire or ill omens. Since these palaces were constructed from wood, none of them have survived, although some archaeological work in modern times has uncovered such remains as stone bases for pillars. Sakurai was the capital of Japan during the reign of Emperor Ingyō; the life of the Imperial court was centered at the Palace of Tohotsu where the emperor lived in 457–479. Other emperors built palaces at Asuka, including Chikatsu-Asuka-Yatsuri Palace, 485–487 in reign of Emperor Kenzō Shikishima no Kanasashi Palace, 540–571 in reign of Emperor Kinmei Toyura Palace or Toyura-no-miya, 593–603 in the reign of Empress Suiko Oharida Palace or Oharida-no-miya, 603–629 in the Suiko's reign Okamoto Palace or Okamoto-no-miya, 630–636 in the reign of Emperor Jomei Tanaka Palace, 636–40 Umayasaka Palace, 640In 640-642, the Imperial court moved to the Kudara Palace in Kōryō, Nara.
The court moved again to the Ōmi Palace or Ōtsu Palace in Ōmi-kyō. Once more, the court moved back to Asuka at Kiyomihara Palace or Kiomihara-no-miya, 672–694 in the reign of Emperor Tenmu and in the reign of Empress JitōAsuka was abandoned by Empress Jitō when she and her court moved to Fujiwara-kyō; the 100 Views of Nature in Kansai Asuka Historical Museum:, exterior view
Tokyo Imperial Palace
The Tokyo Imperial Palace is the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is a large park-like area located in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo and contains buildings including the main palace, the private residences of the Imperial Family, an archive and administrative offices, it is built on the site of the old Edo Castle. The total area including the gardens is 1.15 square kilometres. During the height of the 1980s Japanese property bubble, the palace grounds were valued by some to be more than the value of all of the real estate in the state of California. After the capitulation of the shogunate and the Meiji Restoration, the inhabitants, including the Shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu, were required to vacate the premises of the Edo Castle. Leaving the Kyoto Imperial Palace on 26 November 1868, the Emperor arrived at the Edo Castle, made it to his new residence and renamed it to Tōkei Castle. At this time, Tōkyō had been called Tōkei, he left for Kyōto again, after coming back on 9 May 1869, it was renamed to Imperial Castle.
Previous fires had destroyed the Honmaru area containing the old donjon. On the night of 5 May 1873, a fire consumed the Nishinomaru Palace, the new imperial Palace Castle was constructed on the site in 1888. A non-profit "Rebuilding Edo-jo Association" was founded in 2004 with the aim of a correct reconstruction of at least the main donjon. In March 2013, Naotaka Kotake, head of the group, said that "the capital city needs a symbolic building", that the group planned to collect donations and signatures on a petition in support of rebuilding the tower. A reconstruction blueprint had been made based on old documents; the Imperial Household Agency at the time had not indicated. In the Meiji era, most structures from the Edo Castle disappeared; some were cleared to make way for other buildings while others were destroyed by earthquakes and fire. For example, the wooden double bridges over the moat were replaced with iron bridges; the buildings of the Imperial Palace constructed in the Meiji era were constructed of wood.
Their design employed traditional Japanese architecture in their exterior appearance while the interiors were an eclectic mixture of then-fashionable Japanese and European elements. The ceilings of the grand chambers were coffered with Japanese elements; the floors of the public rooms had parquets or carpets while the residential spaces used traditional tatami mats. The main audience hall was the central part of the palace, it was the largest building in the compound. Guests were received there for public events; the floor space was more than 223 tsubo or 737.25 m2. In the interior, the coffered ceiling was traditional Japanese-style; the roof was styled to the Kyoto Imperial Palace, but was covered with copper plates rather than Japanese cypress shingles. In the late Taishō and early Shōwa period, more concrete buildings were added, such as the headquarters of the Imperial Household Ministry and the Privy Council; these structures exhibited only token Japanese elements. From 1888 to 1948, the compound was called Palace Castle.
On the night of 25 May 1945, most structures of the Imperial Palace were destroyed in the Allied firebombing raid on Tokyo. According to the US bomber pilot Richard Lineberger, Emperor's Palace was the target of their special mission on July 29, 1945, was hit with 2000-pound bombs. In August 1945, in the closing days of World War II, Emperor Hirohito met with his Privy Council and made decisions culminating in the surrender of Japan at an underground air-raid shelter on the palace grounds referred to as His Majesty's Library. Due to the large-scale destruction of the Meiji-era palace, a new main palace hall and residences were constructed on the western portion of the site in the 1960s; the area was renamed Imperial Residence in 1948, while the eastern part was renamed East Garden and became a public park in 1968. Interior images of the old Meiji-era palace, destroyed during World War II The present Imperial Palace encompasses the retrenchments of the former Edo Castle; the modern palace Kyūden designed for various imperial court functions and receptions is located in the old Nishinomaru section of the palace grounds.
On a much more modest scale, the residence of the current Emperor and empress is located in the Fukiage Gardens. Designed by Japanese architect Shōzō Uchii the modern residence was completed in 1993. Except for Imperial Household Agency and the East Gardens, the palace is closed to the public, except for reserved guided tours from Tuesdays to Saturdays; each New Year and Emperor's Birthday, the public is permitted to enter through the Nakamon where they gather in the Kyuden Totei Plaza in front of the Chowaden Hall. The Imperial Family appears on the balcony before the crowd and the Emperor gives a short speech greeting and thanking the visitors and wishing them good health and blessings; every year a poetry convention called Utakai Hajime is held at the palace on January 1. The old Honmaru and Sannomaru compounds now comprise the East Gardens, an area with public access containing administrative and other public buildings; the Kitanomaru Park is the former northern enceinte of Edo Castle. It is the site of the Nippon Budokan.
To the south are the outer gardens of
Shugakuin Imperial Villa
The Shugaku-in Imperial Villa, or Shugaku-in Detached Palace, is a set of gardens and outbuildings in the hills of the eastern suburbs of Kyoto, Japan. It is one of Japan's most important large-scale cultural treasures. Although styled as a "detached palace" translated as "imperial villa", there were never any large-scale buildings there, as there are at the Katsura Imperial Villa; the 53-hectare grounds include three separate gardens, the Lower Garden, Middle Garden, Upper Garden, of which the latter is the most important. The Imperial Household Agency administers it, accepts visitors by appointment; the Shugaku-in was constructed by the retired Emperor Go-Mizunoo, starting in 1655, with the initial construction completed in 1659. The site had been occupied by the Enshō-ji nunnery, founded by his oldest daughter, Princess Ume-no-miya; the Upper Garden contained a large artificial pond, created by building an earthen dam across a ravine. Unlike the typical Japanese garden, it is a large stroll garden, making extensive use of the technique of borrowing of scenery.
The Lower Garden was much more informal than what is now there. After Go-Mizunoo's death, his daughter Princess Mitsuko became a nun, established another temple there, the Ryinku-ji, in what became the Middle Garden; the gardens and buildings fell into disrepair, with some of the buildings either being destroyed or removed. During the rule of Tokugawa Ienari, the 11th Tokugawa shōgun, the Shūgaku-in was renovated. In 1883, the Shugaku-in came under the control of the Imperial Household Department, the large building, in the Middle Garden was moved there. Other changes, such as the building of fences around the Lower and Middle Gardens, the enclosure of the paths between them, soon followed, giving the Shūgaku-in the character it has today; the Lower Garden consists of an outer, landscaped area with walking paths, an inner garden with villa, separated by a series of two bamboo fences each with a simple, wooden doorway. The villa is irregularly shaped, with three principal rooms of 15, 12, 5 tatami mats in size.
The garden features a small brook and pond divided by a walkway embankment, is set off from the villa by a region of coarse, white sand with white stepping-stones. The Middle Garden contains an inner garden area with two principal buildings, again set within an outer and inner fence, it features a fine pond predating the garden, with stone bridges. Rakushi-ken contains two principal rooms of 6 and 8 mats in size, features two paintings by Kanō Tanshin. Kyaku-den, the reception hall, contains two principal rooms and an altar room added after the building was moved to this site in 1678 from the palace at Tofuku-monin, it contains a celebrated shelf of zelkova wood, known as the "Shelf of Mist", paintings by Kano Hidenobu, fine paintings on wooden panels. The spectacular Upper Garden is reached through a simple gate and short climb through clipped shrubbery, at which point the entire garden vista is revealed. A simple pavilion of several rooms and wooden porch provides an excellent vantage point, with superb views of the pond, its islands, the surrounding Kyoto hills.
The nearby waterfall is about 10 meters in height, built of rough-hewn stones, set within a picturesque surrounding. The pond is ornamented with two major structures: Chitose-bashi, a ornate bridge of two large, stone piers connected by a central walkway, each capped with a wooden pavilion, one of which sports a Chinese phoenix of gilt copper; the pond features two smaller bridges, a stone boat-landing, a second, smaller waterfall. The pond's west bank is long and remarkably monotonous, with lawn, trees and clipped hedge running atop the large, earthen-work dam that created the pond; the three gardens are linked by two straight allées, each 100 meters in length and lined by regular plantings of pine trees, that run through surrounding rice plantations and offer excellent views of both the plantations and the nearby hills. Yoshiro Taniguchi, Jiro Harada, Tatsuzo Sato, The Shugakuin Imperial Villa Teiji Itoh, Takeji Iwamiya, Imperial Gardens of Japan covers the gardens in great detail Tadashi Ishikawa, Imperial Villas of Kyoto: The Katsura and Shūgaku-in Michio Fujioka, Shigeo Okamoto, Kyoto Country Retreats: The Shugakuin and Katsura Palaces Imperial Household Agency | The Shugakuin Imperial Villa Shugaku-in Imperial Villa Stone lanterns of the three Shugaku-in Rikyu gardens
Hyogo is one of nine wards of Kobe in Japan. It has an area of 14.56 km2 and a population of 106,322. The area's location with a natural harbour near the Akashi Strait which links Osaka Bay and the Seto inland sea has been an important location throughout the history of Japan; the capital of Japan was located in the area for a short period in the 12th century. Today the area is an important manufacturing zone; the modern ward of Hyogo was formed as Sōsai-ku when the City of Kobe adopted the system of wards in 1931. Its name was changed to Hyogo in 1933 and its current boundaries were settled in 1971; the floral emblem of the ward is the pansy. The literal meaning of the two kanji that make up the name Hyogo is "weapons warehouse". From the Heian period, the area was known as Ōwada-no-Tomari; the features of the natural harbour around Wadamisaki Peninsula has meant the port in Hyogo has been an important gateway to the Seto inland sea since the 8th-century Nara period. In the 12th century, in the latter part of the Heian period, Taira no Kiyomori recognized the strategic benefit of the location and developed the harbor, including the building of Kyogashima, a man-made island completed in 1173 and described as 37 hectares in size in The Tale of the Heike.
Kiyomori, the de facto ruler of Japan between 1160 and 1180, moved his official residence to Fukuhara, in what is modern-day Hyogo. Fukuhara became the capital of Japan for a brief period near the end of Kiyomori's rule. A monument erected shortly after his death, the Kiyomori-zuka, stands in the gardens of a shrine opposite Kiyomori Bridge named in his honour. During the Edo period Hyogo was within the Yatabe District of Settsu Province. Although Japan was placed under isolation by the ruling Tokugawa shogunate, Hyogo Port remained an important route for domestic trade. Given its importance, Hyogo Port was under the direct administration of the Shogunate via the Osaka machi-bugyō. In 1868, at the end of the Edo period, Hyogo port was one of the first to be opened to foreign vessels, ending Japan's 250-year long isolation; as part of the Shogunate's efforts to protect Japan from Western colonial forces, the defence of Hyogo Port was upgraded with the construction of the Wadamisaki Battery, one of six land batteries built around Osaka Bay under the design of Count Katsu Kaishū.
It was completed in 1864 after 18 months of construction at a cost of 25,000 ryō. The outer enceinte was built of granite from the Shiwaku Islands and the inner two-storey structure was made of keyaki wood harvested from the Nunobiki and Tekkai Mountains in Kobe. In 1921 the battery was the first place in Hyogo Prefecture to be designated as a historic site by the prefectural government; the Wadamisaki Lighthouse was completed in 1871 under the guidance of the "father of Japanese lighthouses", Englishman Richard Henry Brunton, brought to Japan by the Shogunate under an 1867 agreement with the United Kingdom to build five western-style lighthouses around Osaka Bay. The original lighthouse, first illuminated in 1872, was a wooden octagonal structure; this was replaced with a 17m tall, three-story, steel hexagonal structure in 1884. The steel lighthouse was moved to the Suma Kaihin Park in Suma-ku in 1967 and in September 1998 it was registered as a national tangible cultural asset under the name Old Wadamisaki Lighthouse.
On 1 September 1931 the city of Kobe was the 6th city in Japan to adopt the system of dividing the city into wards. The area of the previous Hyogo town which lay west of the Minato River became Sōsai-ku; the area of Hyogo town which lay east of the Minato River became part of Sōtō-ku. On 1 January 1933 Sōsai's name was changed to Hyogo in recognition of the area's historic name; the concentration of military and industrial manufacturing facilities including Kobe Steel, Kawanishi Aircraft Company Kawasaki Aircraft Industries and the Kawasaki and Mitsubishi Shipyards made the city of Kobe a primary target of bombing by the United States during World War II. It suffered the highest fatality rate of the five major Japanese cities; the first attack upon Kobe was by one B-25 bomber as a part of the Dolittle Raid on 18 April 1942. With Japan's success in expanding its territory through south-east Asia at the time, an attack by foreign aircraft was not expected at the time and it was reported that some residents waved flags at the plane as it flew overhead, thinking it was a Japanese aircraft.
One resident of Hyogo ward was the only fatality of the bombing of Kobe on that day. In 1945 the United States changed tactics from strategic bombing of military sites to indiscriminate bombing of cities, including the use of incendiary cluster bombs; the first successful firebombing raid against Japan was an attack on Kobe on 4 February 1945. The bombing was centred upon Minato wards. With the final attack upon eastern Kobe in June 1945, the United States command determined that Kobe had been destroyed to the extent that further attacks upon the city were not required. By the end of the war, Kobe had suffered more than 8,000 deaths due to the air raids. Hyogo suffered buildings destroyed. At 5:46 on 17 January 1995 the Great Hanshin earthquake devastated Kobe and the surrounding cities of the Hanshin region. Along with buildings that collapsed due to the earthquake, large areas of wooden houses and buildings burnt uncontrolled for many days in Nagata and Hyogo wards. A total of 6,434 people died in the earthquake
Akasaka Palace, or the State Guest House, is one of the two State Guesthouses of the Government of Japan. The palace was built as the Imperial Palace for the Crown Prince in 1909. Today the palace is designated by the government of Japan as an official accommodation for visiting state dignitaries. Located in the Moto-Akasaka, Tokyo, the building took on its present function in 1974, having been an imperial detached palace. In 2009 the palace was designated as a National Treasure of Japan. Location: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Moto-Akasaka-chome No. 1 Site area: 117,000 m² Total floor space: 15,000 m²The building has 15,000 m² of floor space, together with a smaller structure in the Japanese style, occupies a 117,000 m² site. The main building is a Neo-Baroque style Western building, it is one of largest buildings constructed during the Meiji period. The palace is surrounded by a footpath unobstructed by road crossings; the footpath is 3.25 km long. The railroad station nearest the Palace is Yotsuya Station.
The territory that Akasaka Palace now occupies was part of the residence of Kishū Domain, one of the major branches of the ruling Tokugawa clan, during the Tokugawa period. After the Meiji Restoration, the Owari presented the land to the Imperial Household. Designed by the architect Katayama Tōkuma, the Neo-Baroque structure was constructed between 1899 and 1909 as a residence for the Crown Prince, it was named Tōgū Palace but was renamed Akasaka Palace when the Crown Prince's residence was moved. Regent Crown Prince Hirohito resided at Akasaka Palace from September 1923 until September 1928, two months before his coronation; the move lasted five years. During the renovation of his contemporary residence, Hirohito intended to lodge temporarily at Akasaka Palace, moving in on August 28, 1923. Four days Japan was hit by the Great Kantō earthquake on September 1. During his residence in Akasaka Palace, Prince Hirohito married, fathered two daughters, Princess Sachiko and Princess Shigeko. After WWII the government of Japan relieved the Imperial household of Akasaka Palace.
Several governmental offices were installed in the palace, including the National Diet Library, founded in 1948, Cabinet Legislation Bureau and Organizing Committee of Tokyo Olympics 1964. Through the economic revival of the country after WWII, the Japanese Government established a state guest house; the former residence of Prince Asaka Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, had been used as the state guest house, though it was too small for that purpose. It was decided in 1967 to renovate the former Akasaka Palace as the new state guest house; the renovation was led by architect Togo Murano, took more than five years and 10.8 billion yen, was completed in 1974. The first official state guest at the renovated palace was Gerald Ford in 1974, the first visit of the incumbent President of the United States to Japan. Since the palace has provided accommodations for state and official guests and a venue for international conferences, which have included the G7 summit meetings and APEC summits; the venue was closed from 2006 to 2009 for renovation, was reopened in April 2009.
In December 2009, the main building, the main gate and the garden with fountain were designated as a National Treasure of Japan. It was the first designation of assets after Meiji Restoration as a National Treasure of Japan. Location: Kyoto, Kyoto City, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-Gyoen National Garden Lot size: 20,140 m² Structure: Reinforced concrete construction, 1st floor above ground Total floor space: 16,000 m² During the Edo period a Garden House and multiple mansions of aristocrats stood in the northeastern part such as of the Yanagihara family and Kushige family; the Kyoto Imperial Palace is in the northern part of Kyōto-Gyoen National Garden. It was constructed in 1331 and the Emperors lived there until 1869. There are Sentō Imperial Palace gardens. In 1994, to commemorate the twelve-hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the ancient capital of Heian-kyō, there was growing momentum toward building a Japanese-style guest house in Kyoto. In October 1994, approval was obtained from the Cabinet of Japan for "the construction of a guest house facility."
The government decided to build a state guest house within the Kyoto Gyoen National Garden. In March 2002, construction of the Kyoto State Guest House started. Construction completed in February 2005 and the Kyoto State Guest House was opened on 17th April 2005; the total floor space of the new facility is 16,000 m² and the lot is 20,140 m². Since July 2016 the Kyoto State Guest House's all-year public opening started, it was designed by Nikken Sekkei. The Western-style of the Akasaka State Guest House contrasts with the Japanese-style buildings of the Kyoto State Guest House; the first state guest after the opening of the Kyoto State Guest House was Nguyễn Minh Triết, former President of Vietnam. Imperial Hotel, Tokyo Blair House, the state guest house of the United States Hyderabad House, the state guest house of India Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, the state guest house of the People's Republic of China Grand Hotel, the state guest house of the Republic of China Cabinet Office's official site
Kyoto Imperial Palace
The Kyoto Imperial Palace is the former ruling palace of the Emperor of Japan. The Emperors have since resided at the Tokyo Imperial Palace after the Meiji Restoration in 1869, the preservation of the Kyoto Imperial Palace was ordered in 1877. Today, the grounds are open to the public, the Imperial Household Agency hosts public tours of the buildings several times a day; the Kyoto Imperial Palace is the latest of the imperial palaces built at or near its site in the northeastern part of the old capital of Heian-kyō after the abandonment of the larger original Heian Palace, located to the west of the current palace during the Heian period. The Palace lost much of its function at the time of the Meiji Restoration, when the capital functions were moved to Tokyo in 1869. However, Emperor Taishō and Shōwa still had their enthronement ceremonies at the palace; the Palace is situated in the Kyōto-gyoen, a large rectangular enclosure 1,300 metres north to south and 700 metres east to west which contains the Sentō Imperial Palace gardens.
The estate dates from the early Edo period when the residence of high court nobles were grouped close together with the palace and the area walled. When the capital was moved to Tokyo, the residences of the court nobles were demolished and most of Kyōto Gyoen is now a park open to the public; the Imperial Palace has been located in this area since the final abandonment of the Daidairi in late 12th century. However, it was much earlier that the de facto residence of the Emperors was not in the Inner Palace of the original Heian period palace, but in one of the temporary residences in this part of the city and provided to the Emperor by powerful noble families; the present palace is a direct successor—after iterations of rebuilding—to one of these sato-dairi palaces, the Tsuchimikado Dono of the Fujiwara clan. The palace, like many of the oldest and most important buildings in Japan, was destroyed by fire and rebuilt many times over the course of its history, it has been destroyed and rebuilt eight times, six of them during the 250-year-long peace of the Edo period.
The version standing was completed in 1855, with an attempt at reproducing the Heian period architecture and style of the original dairi of the Heian Palace. The grounds include a number of buildings, along with the imperial residence; the neighboring building to the north is the sentō, or residence of the retired Emperor, beyond that, across Imadegawa Street, sits Doshisha University. The Imperial Household Agency maintains the building and the grounds and runs public tours; the main buildings are, among other halls, the Shishinden, Seiryōden, Ogakumonjo, a number of residences for the Empress, high-ranking aristocrats and government officials. Dignitaries with special permission for official visits used to enter the palace through the Okurumayose entrance; the Shodaibunoma building was used as a waiting room for dignitaries on their official visits to the palace. They were ushered into three different anterooms according to their ranks; the Shinmikurumayose structure was built as a new carriage entrance on the occasion of the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Taisho in 1915.
For state ceremonies, the dignitaries would enter through the Kenreimon, which has a cypress-wood roof, is supported by four unpainted wooden pillars. This gate would have been used on the rare occasions of the Emperor welcoming a foreign diplomat or dignitary, as well as for many other important state ceremonies. Passing through the Kenreimon, the inner gate Jomeimon would appear, painted in vermilion and roofed in tile; this leads to the Shishin-den, the Hall for State Ceremonies. The Gekkamon is a smaller gate on the west side of the main courtyard. Another gate in the outer courtyard is the Kenshunmon, which has a similar architectural style to the Kenreimon. Located next to the Kenshunmon is a square; the Shunkōden was constructed to house the sacred mirror on the occasion of the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Taisho in 1915. The roof is modern in that it is made out of not wooden shingles; the Shishinden is the most important ceremonial building within the palace grounds. The enthronement ceremonies of Emperor Taisho and Emperor Showa took place here.
The hall is 33 by 23 metres in size, features a traditional architectural style, with a gabled and hipped roof. On either side of its main stairway were planted trees which would become famous and sacred, a cherry on the eastern, left side, a tachibana orange tree on the right to the west; the garden of white gravel played an important role in the ceremony. The center of the Shishin-den is surrounded by a hisashi, a long, thin hallway which surrounded the main wing of an aristocrat's home, in traditional Heian architecture. Within this is a wide open space, crossed by boarded-over sections, leading to the central throne room; the Takamikura is the Imperial throne. It has been used on the occasion of the enthronement ceremonies commencing in 707 in the reign of Empress Genmei; the present throne was modeled on the original design, constructed in 1913, two years before the enthronement of Emperor Taishō. The actual throne is a chair in black lacquer, placed under an octagonal canopy resting on a three-tiered dais painted with black lacquer with balustrades of vermilion.
On both sides of the throne are two little tables, where two of the three Imperial regalia (the s