Day 489 of Traveling the World, Tokyo, Japan. June 15, 2019.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Without comment, we present to you….Japan’s Imperial Palace! It is shown in the first two photos. We took a tour of the Palace grounds, and before we went up a small curved driveway that hid it from our view, our guide noted that the Imperial Palace was very simple, but she thought that made it even more beautiful. And we walked up, and saw…the building in the first two photos. After having seen the castles in Nagoya and Osaka, we weren’t quite ready for this view. All the concrete in front of the Palace is a gathering place for the public, about 50 feet deep. Every year on December 23, the Emperor and Empress appear on the balcony to greet the public, which draws tens of thousands of people.

The Palace is in the center of Tokyo, and you can see office buildings in some of the photos of the grounds. Online, the Palace is described as a series of interconnected buildings, one of which looks more like a castle. It was formerly in Kyoto, dismantled, and reconstructed here. That is shown in the fourth photo. We weren’t told that the Palace was several buildings…we were just taken to the building you see in the first two photos and told that was “the Palace.” In the third photo is the Imperial Household Agency, where matters of State take place. It was the first building on our tour, and is adjacent and down the hill from the Palace. Meetings with Heads of State occur here, while banquets and State dinners are held in the Palace.

The fifth photo doesn’t look like much, until we found out that the two half-dome vegetation structures are a cluster of many trees planted close together to form the shape of two turtles, long-lived creatures, symbolizing that same hope for the Emperor. Following that are a few photos from around the grounds, including the “eyeglass” bridge. Under the right circumstances, the arches reflect in the water to create the illusion of a pair of eyeglasses.

The final photo is fun. We are guessing that the woman is employed in child care…she and another woman both were pushing a four-seater cart, each with four children inside, ranging from infants to about 3 years old. They were all getting their sunshine for the day!