A Samurai, A Turtle and the remains of Edo

Edo. Edo is a word I only used to associate with a particular kind of art but when I got to Tokyo I quickly realised Edo is the old name for Tokyo. This building right here is one of the last remaining three storey "keep" or a buildings that acted as a kind of watchtower, of Edo Castle.

So the grounds of the remains of Edo Castle apart from being really rather lovely to walk around, actually are the grounds for the Imperial Palace (which bizarrely I live within walking distance of. If someone told me they lived within walking distance of Buckingham Palace I wouldn't believe them but hey that's Tokyo!).

We can't see too much of the Imperial Palace now. The emperor still lives there and you have to pay a fee to walk around the Palace gardens, which we didn't do. The Castle grounds and ruins were enough for us.

I did kind of go expecting to see some grand castle full of dragons, like some sort of stone and gold shrine. However if I think of paintings from the Edo period and indeed just old Japanese buildings they are made up of tatami mats, fragile sliding screen doors, and beautiful dark wood. This isn't the best if you come under fire, and fires did happen hence why there's not too much left to see in the way of full buildings.

It was really gorgeous though. I would have loved to have been here during hanami season. There were so many kinds of blossom all just about over in the gardens open to the public. We made do turtle spotting. 

This guy is in a garden just over the road from the palace grounds. He was a real live samurai called Kusunoli Masashige.  I still find it incredible that this is country where samurai were as real as soldiers. In my head I associate them so closely with Ang Lee type movies. However a trip after this to the National Museum really took me out of that mind frame (more on that later). 

History lessons aside, it was so nice to find a little bit of wild life and a patch of grass in the middle of such a big busy place. Next post the Studio Ghibli Museum. 


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