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A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

Imperial Palace Winter Light Up

At night, the outer gardens of the Imperial Palace are normally dark.  Until January 6 2019, things will be a little different as about 2,000 lights have been set up to provide an interesting for anyone walking in the area from 5 pm to 9 p.m.  The Nijubashi and Meganebashi, two of the famous bridges at the palace plus the keeps are also being lit up as well.

Meganebashi (Eyeglasses Bridge) with Seimon (Main Gate on the left) and Fujimi Keep behind

I’ve been to the area many times during the day, but this was my first time to go there at night.  And to be honest, I kind of regretted it. Why? It was so cold. I’m not sure what the actual temperature was, but with the wind it felt like it was below freezing.  In the end, I left earlier than planned as I couldn’t keep warm enough. Next time, I’ll take a few for sure.

But, until I left it was a beautiful scene, as the there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and with the cold weather, it was close to perfect conditions.  The only problem was the wind. I think if conditions had been a little calmer, we would have got really great reflections in the water.

If the wind hadn’t upset the surface of the water you would have seen why this bridge was named after eyeglasses!

During my short time there, I took pictures of Meganebashi (Eyeglasses Bridge), but couldn’t get Nijubashi.  Nijubashi is right behind Megabashi, so unless you have a ridiculously tall tripod, you’re not going to get it.  And unfortunately at night, the area around Seimon (Main Gate) is roped off, so you can’t move further up the slope to get into a better position.  A real pity.

I also took some pictures of Tatsumi Keep with Fujimi Keep in the background.  For me, that was probably the best shot I got because with the light and moat, those towers looked a little ghostly.  Once again, if there had been no wind, I think the shot might have looked much better. Still, what I got wasn’t great but not entirely bad either!  Hopefully I’ll get another chance one day.

Tatusmi Keep with Fujimi Keep behind

If you go to take pictures before January 6, just remember that while the grounds are lit up and look great, it isn’t quite enough for good handheld photography.  Make sure you take a tripod with you. For those wanting to learn more about the Imperial Palace, click here.