Despite almost every day having great weather, there was one day where it rained. Since every place I wanted to go in Tokyo was outside, I planned to visit one area where there might be some inside time. But of course, I wanted to see more than that despite the rain. So I ended up outside at a moat.
This interesting building is the offices of Japan Family Association. I have no information about the history of the building. As for that moat, that I know. It's Ushigafuchi, the north east moat that boarders the grounds of the Tokyo Imperial Palace.
I wished the weather was better. I would have explored more. But there was one thing I did want to see. Something I have heard about for most of my life. And I did not want to waste a day of my trip. So on to Tayasu-mon (gate) I went. Along with a lot of other people. Just to note, the lantern, built in 1871, belongs to Yasukuni Shrine even though it is across the street from the actual shrine.
Just a few of the crowd of people. With a lot of young ladies wearing hakama adding a little color to this grey day.
I threaded my way through people, pausing to get a few photos of the ichi-no-mon (outer or first gate) of Tayasu-mon and the sakura trees which were just days away from blooming.
Despite the rain I attempted to get a shot of this onigawara. It appears to be a dragon which makes sense since it was believed that dragons guarded the four points of the compass. This would be the northern gate of the Imperial Palace grounds.
Just a glimpse of an interestingly shaped building and a bit of the thick stone walls that surround the Imperial Palace. All created by hand.
How the gates are fortified on both sides.
Looking back at the amazing details of the inner side of the Korai-mon styled outer gate.
The main Tayasu-mon gate. You enter under the smaller gate and then turn 90 degrees to your right to walk through here. This layout of gates is called Masugata-mon and was done as a form of protection.
Another look at the outer side of the ni-no-mon (inner or second gate). Impressive in size. It is one of the few things of the Kitanomaru Koen area of the Imperial Palace that remains from the Edo days.
Just inside the gate are two stone very lion looking komainu outside which guard Yayoi Memorial Hall and shrine which I did not check out due to the rain.
What I did want to see was this. One of the most famous concert venues in the world, Nippon Budokan. Despite being built as a sports arena for the 1964 Olympics, it became one of the premiere places for bands to record live albums and videos. The eight sided shape is modeled after the octogon Yumedomo (Hall of Dreams) at Horyu-ji temple in Ikaruga-cho. It is still used for concerts and sporting events. From the looks of it, it's also used for school graduations.
While I wished I could have strolled through Kitanomaru Koen, the rain was getting the better of me so I decided to head to my next stop. Before re-entering the gates there was this stone marker. Unfortunately I do not know what is carved on it.
Once again the inner side of the ni-no-mon and the difficulty of taking photographs in the rain.
The tree from which they took that massive wood beam must have been gigantic. The natural shape is stunning in what would be a rather sedate looking structure.
And the ichi-no-mon in the rain as I head out to explore more of Tokyo.