Chiyoda: Japan's Historic Heart
The history of Japan, especially its recent history, is closely linked with Tokyo’s political center. A hub of government since before the Meiji reforms, it holds the city’s most historic buildings, and the location of the national decision-making . Go with your private and expert guide around these sites and gain a new appreciation for Japan’s past.
- Visit the Yasukuni Shrine
- Climb the ruins of Edo Castle
- Go around the Yushukan and Showakan
- Look at the art collection of former emperors in the Imperial Collection
The Problems of the Past
Japanese history – especially of the Showakan period – is riddled with controversy. This tour will not provide an answer for a rather glossier image of the period than that held by Gaikokujin. It will, however, help you better understand this view by visiting the best places to see history in action.
Join your guide as they take you to the Yasukuni Shrine, where the fallen from wars are remembered. Your guide will talk about its history and also explain why it remains a source of controversy to some. If you wish, you can go inside the Yushukan, a museum dedicated to the war dead that reviews the actions of the Japanese military between 1937 and 1945. Your guide will also take you to the Showakan, a museum covering how people lived during the reign of Emperor Hirohito. Covering the tribulations of the Allied bombing, and later occupation, its approximately 800 exhibits on display focus on the hardships faced by the Japanese in this period.
Ruins and Memory
Leaving the 20th century behind, you will walk with your guide around the ruins of Edo Castle. The former base of the Tokugawa Shoguns for over 260 years, it boasts a history dating back to the 15th century. Although much has been destroyed over the years, a great deal of the original stonework has remained, including the famous Otemon Gate. Your guide will also take you through the scenic East Gardens of the Imperial Palace to the Imperial Collection, where artworks belonging to the Imperial Family are shown to the public. This includes a number of important pieces of Japanese art, especially Moko Shurai Ekotoba’s Illustrated Account of the Mongol Invasion and Kano Eitoku’s Chinese Lions.
Travel Curious Tip: In order to help familiarise yourself with Japanese history before your trip, we recommend picking up a copy of Yasukuni Shrine: History, Memory, and Japan's Unending Postwar, written by Akiko Takenaka.