A stunning cultural treasure — The palace is built within rammed-earth walls (tsuijibei) and has served as the imperial residence for more than 500 years! Centuries of architectural transitions can be observed through the several distinctive buildings inside the complex including the Okurumayose, Shodaibu-no-Ma, Shinmikurumayose, Shishinden, Seiryoden, Kogosho,Oikeniwa, Ogakumonjo, Otsunegoten, Gonaitei, Kogogu Tsunegoten, higyosha, Genkimon Gate, Sakuheimon Gate, Wakamiya/Himemiya Goten. Apparently, November is the only month open to visitors, hence extremely crowded.
You will need to bring your Passport to take the 10 a.m. English speaking tour around the grounds. The many palace gates are painted with the vermillion orange color for its power thought to ward off evil spirits. Most of the roofs are made from Japanese cypress which repels insects.
Probably a nice place to see but it is closed from 28 December 16 to 4 January 2017. Next time!
To get into the grounds, one needs to make a reservation to do so, but this is easy enough at the office nearby. The tour was interesting enough, but the grounds and buildings seemed to have very little presence on the ground. The group was taken through a small portion of the interior gardens, which were nice.