The Parents and I touched down in Tokyo at 5:30am. After getting through airport security, re-uniting with my Younger Sister and sorting out train passes, we dropped off our luggage at the hotel and went for a family breakfast at a Boulangerie Asanoya in Tokyo Station. The breads we tried were so good, and thick-cut honey toast is some kind of magic! My Younger Sister had to head off to work, so The Parents and I decided to make our way to the Imperial Palace gardens.
The Parents and I, not knowing a word of Japanese, decided to go with the flow of the crowd. There were hordes of people lining up, and we joined the queue. I vaguely recall a sign stating they were opening some sort of road through the Imperial Palace grounds for a few weeks only, which I assume is why there were so many people.
I’m no history buff, but my ‘Lonely Planet Tokyo’ guide states that the Imperial Palace was the largest fortress in the world, although the current palace (built in 1968) replaced the old one built in 1888 that was largely destroyed during WWII. We were lucky to be in Tokyo while the cherry blossoms were starting to reach peak bloom, making this a rather lovely walk — if you ignore the crowds. The Parents and I then made our way through the Imperial Palace East Garden.
Blue skies, green grass and an explosion of cherry blossom trees everywhere I look makes for one very happy tourist! After our walk through the gardens (and a tiny museum), we headed back to our hotel to check-in and rest. We had dinner down the road from our hotel, but otherwise we bunkered down and got some much-needed, comfortable sleep so we could be ready for another day of exploring.