Tour Report on 4th of March 2017, Saturday
- East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
We thank many guests joining the tour. On that day we welcomed 32 guests from Germany, USA, U.K., Canada, Argentina, Chile, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and India. We divided into 5 groups.
It was a mild spring day. The temperature is getting higher these days.
During the tour, in the East Garden, formerly a castle of Tokugawa Shogun, guests view mainly outerior of the exhibited buildings. We go outside all the way. So warmer climate is good for us.
However, there is one facility that guests can enter inside. It is called Fujimitamon. It is located on periphery of the East Garden, and functioned as a defense house. It is high above the surrouding moat. Guards in those days monitored surrounding areas from the windows of the house.
When one is getting in, taking off shoes is requested. That was lifestyle of the Samurai feudal era. Even in public place like guard house, taking off shoes and sitting down on floor was required. In modern time taking off shoes in private residencial space is required. Inside one can find more of customs of that era. No window glasses but stone grids and wooden shutters. From there the roof of imperial palace can be seen. That side behind the moat is exclusive area of the Imperial Palace. In feudal area, before the Emperor was relocated from Kyoto, it was residence for the Shogun’s relatives.
Another notable thing is short door height and celing. Some taller people should feel very oppressive but that was the standard of that era. People of that era was 10 cm (4 inches) or more shorter than modern Japanese and they sat down on the floor, not on chairs. Not only this house but other old houses in Japan were like that. One old country house in Gunma Prefecture of the below picture is a good example.
From outside it looks a big house but inside are very low doors and ceiling. Even a Japanese man of national average height, 170 cm might bump his head.
Sometimes it is not suitable for the tour spot because taking off shoes is troublesome for some guests. But if you do not mind doing it, please get in and feel the old time way of life. It is like time slipping to the middle age.