The Tokyo Imperial Palace
is the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is a large park-like
area located in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo and contains buildings including
the main palace, the private residences of the Imperial Family, an archive,
museums and administrative offices.
It is built on the site of the
old Edo Castle. The total area including the gardens is 1.15 square kilometres.
During the height of the 1980s Japanese property bubble, the palace grounds
were valued by some to be more than the value of all of the real estate
in the state of California.
On the night of 25 May 1945,
most structures of the Imperial Palace were destroyed in the Allied firebombing
raid on Tokyo. According to the US bomber pilot Richard Lineberger, Emperor's
Palace was the target of their special mission on July 29, 1945, and was
hit with 2000-pound bombs. In August 1945, in the closing days of World
War II, Emperor Hirohito met with his Privy Council and made decisions
culminating in the surrender of Japan at an underground air-raid shelter
on the palace grounds referred to as His Majesty's Library.
Due to the large-scale destruction
of the Meiji-era palace, a new main palace hall and residences were constructed
on the western portion of the site in the 1960s. The area was renamed Imperial
Residence in 1948, while the eastern part was renamed East Garden and became
a public park in 1968.