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The free area of the Imperial Palace Gardens
Price: 0 yen
Kokyo Gaien National Garden or Outer Gardens of the Imperial Palace are the part of the palace grounds that require neither money nor a reservation to enter. The park is at its best in November and I really recommend visiting it then to see the autumn leaves and/or gingko trees.
I enter from Sakuradamon station over Iwaida bridge to get a prime view of the moat. You can also enter from three other gates, each very picturesque. The park has roads going through it, but it is often pedestrianized at the weekends. This part of the park is home to the famous statue of Kusunoki Masashige on horseback. There is a restaurant near this statue and the management offices are the park are here too. There are some really nice lawns in the area and you often see people lying out. However, there are some areas where you are not supposed to walk on the grass. They have those areas fenced off so you know not to enter. There are plenty of benches in the park. Some of them are under cherry blossom trees. There is a lovely free rest area Fountain Park with a water feature with a fountain show. There are seats in this area. It is in front of Wada Kura Fountain Park restaurant. This restaurant has a great view of the fountains. On the North West end there are often ducks in the moat and it is a popular spot for a photo as you can see the remains of a guard house of the Edo castle on Kikyo moat. This part links up with the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace.
This part of the park is open twenty four hours. There is no parking for cars in this part of the park. (Tour buses can park).