2nd January 2017: Visiting the Imperial Palace {Japan, winter 16/17}

At roughly 9 am, we headed off to the Imperial Palace, the Kōkyo [皇居] for an audience with the Emperor. Sounds impressive, but so did several other some 80 thousand of people. We were going to the so-called “Visit of the General Public to the Palace for the New Year Greeting” (Kōkyo Shin-nen Ippan Sanga [皇居 新年一般参賀]) to wish the Emperor Nappy New Year.

We arrived in the Imperial Palace area maybe around late 9.30s. First we got our flags to wave. Then our bags were checked, then there was a pat-down to make sure that we did not take anything dangerous into the palace. The weather was nice and sunny so it was not too cold, and it was nice. We ended up at the beginning of one of the lines so we had a nice view of the Nijubashi [環境省] Gate, which is usually closed. Then we walked up the gardens until we got to the main building. We were not allowed to stop to take pictures, so excuse random angles and compositions.

We made it to the grounds just in time for the 11:00h audience. We got to see the adult members of the imperial family and hear the emperor speak for a couple of minutes. There was cheering and flags.

After the audience we got to walk down the gardens, and take pictures and think that everything looked awfully mundane for an Imperial Palace. There were traffic signs and the max speed is 30… I don’t know, it was a weird feeling.

Afterward we visited Itoya in Ginza [銀座], which is a huge stationary shop, and I wanted all the things. Afterwards we had some Australian beef and then we headed off to Shibuya [渋谷], where there was Taco Bell (because reasons) and karaoke with B**** and a donut afterwards. The order might not have been exactly that one though (⌒▽⌒)☆