Introduction to Tokyo Tour, with Imperial Palace Gardens and Nihonbashi

Get acquainted with Tokyo and its history with a leading expert
From US$71 for 1 person
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • Imperial Palace Gardens
  • Tokyo Station
  • Nihonbashi Bridge
  • Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi
Photos & Highlights
  • Dive into Tokyo's captivating journey from a small village to a bustling city, exploring landmark areas with the insights of a local guide.
  • This tour lays the perfect groundwork for your Japan trip, offering a comprehensive understanding of Tokyo's history and culture.
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Tour Description
Uncover the fascinating history of Tokyo’s development from a village called Edo into Japan’s largest metropolis in this introductory tour of the city led by a local expert. Your tour will center around the Nihonbashi area and the neighboring Imperial Palace Gardens - an area that had flourished into a mercantile center even before Japan’s capital was officially relocated from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1868.

Please note: This tour visits the Imperial Palace East Gardens on the days they are open to the public. If your tour falls on a Monday, Friday, or national holiday, you will visit the Imperial Palace Outer Gardens (Kokyo Gaien National Garden) instead.
Also, although the gardens surround the palace, the view of the Imperial Palace is blocked by high protective walls.

Starting at Tokyo Station, your expert will peel back the layers of history in this district, showing you how the city changed and developed over time. From here, you’ll make your way over to the Imperial Palace Gardens, where you’ll learn the fascinating story of Japan's capital relocation from Kyoto to Tokyo, a pivotal moment in the nation's history.

The next stops on your route will vary depending on your interests and your guide’s expertise, but you may make your way down to Ginza, Tokyo’s premier shopping district, or head straight up to Nihonbashi to take a look at the Tokyo Stock Exchange or the Bank of Japan’s Currency Museum to learn about the evolution of Japanese commerce. You’ll finish with a visit to Nihonbashi Bridge, where you’ll learn about the city’s changing relationship with water, and Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi - Japan’s oldest department store. You’ll part ways with your expert, having gained a newfound understanding of how Tokyo came to be.
  • It’s your first time in Tokyo and you want to learn more about the history of the city
  • If you're traveling with children under the age of 12, we recommend our family-oriented Tokyo Pop Culture Tour for Kids
  • Imperial Palace Gardens - the gardens surrounding the Imperial Palace and former site of the Edo Castle’s circles of defense
  • Tokyo Station - the city’s busiest station in terms of trains passing through daily
  • Nihonbashi Bridge - a modern reconstruction of the 17th-century bridge that played a vital role in Edo-Kyoto trade
  • Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi - Japan’s oldest department store, which can trace its history back to the 17th century
General Information
  • There will be a break in the tour to stop and use bathroom facilities as well as opportunities to stop and rest along the way if needed. Please communicate any mobility needs or concerns with our team at the time of booking. 
  • This tour has an optional meeting point transfer if you'd like a private car to pick you up from your accommodation. If you choose to add this service, please add the address to your accommodation in the Additional Details section
Wheelchair accessibility
  • The Imperial Palace Gardens are partially wheelchair accessible - some paths are a little steep and some are covered in gravel, but most are usable.
For more information about Context tours, please visit our FAQs.

Is this a walking intensive tour?
This walk usually covers at least 3 miles overall at a moderate pace. There are occasional opportunities to sit, use the bathroom, and get something to drink if needed.

Will we visit the Imperial Palace Gardens from the inside? 
The visit includes only the gardens, without any buildings. Furthermore, the gardens are generally closed twice a week, so the guide reserves the freedom to replace this stop with another venue or point of interest.

Is it okay to tip my guide in Japan?
Context clients generally tip anywhere from 10-25% of the purchase price of a personal service such as this, depending on the quality of the experience and their tipping habits.
Book with confidence — see Context's flexible cancellation policy here.
Where You'll Start
(4.7) 81 Reviews

Reviews can only be left by Context customers after they have completed a tour. For more information about our reviews, please see our FAQ.

Maciej, was very knowledgeable. We learned a lot and enjoyed the tour. Thank you
Rafael was a fantastic guide!! He provided us with an excellent orientation to Japanese history and culture. We thoroughly enjoyed our walk though the Imperial gardens and over to the Nihonbashi area. The knowledge he shared really elevated our understanding and awareness for our entire Tokyo visit. Thank you!!
Yoki did well in very difficult circumstances (rained the whole time). Explained the history and importance of Tokyo Station, Palace Gardens, etc. we truly appreciate his contacting us in advance to be sure he knew my grandson’s particular interests