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Home > Chiyoda city Course > From Ote-mon Gate to Chujaku-mon Gate (The Route for Feudal lords)

Recommendation course

Chiyoda city Course

1 From Ote-mon Gate to Chujaku-mon Gate
(The Route for Feudal lords)

Ote-mon Gate was one of the front gates of the former Edo Castle. Feudal lords had to enter the castle from this gate or from the Inner Sakurada-mon Gate (Kikyo-mon Gate). Feudal lords were usually required to reduce the number of their attendants before entering the inner castle compound, so most members were forced to wait the outside of the current Imperial Palace area. Especially at the time of a New Year's period when many Feudal lords visited the shogun to offer their greetings, it is said that this area became bustling with many merchants coming over to do business with the waiting members.

① Ote-mon Gate


Current Ote-mon Gate

Ote-mon Gate of Edo Castle was a "Masugata" gateway. That is, for defense, the gateway was surrounded square with stone walls, and was constructed not to be able to go straight. Inside the gate, there soared a solemn structure of Watariyagura-mon Gate which had a turret for an arsenal. As Ote-mon Gate was the main entrance for feudal lords, going through the two gates, from Korai-mon Gate to Watari-yagura-mon Gate at the inner-right side. The two of the "Fudai" feudal lords (vassal before the TOKUGAWA Shogunate) stipend more than 100,000 koku, were assigned by turns to take in charge of keeping guard day and night, armed with guns, etc. Ote-mon Gate was burned down by the Great Fire of Meireki, and was reconstructed in 1659.

Other portion of Ote-mon Gate, except for Korai-mon Gate, was burned down by the Great Kanto Earthquake and the World War II air-raids, etc. and was reconstructed in 1966 at the time the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace was opened to the public.

Only Korai-mon Gate has still remained through all these disasters since 1659, showing the original presence of the Edo period.

Inside the Korai-mon Gate, there is an ornament of "shachi" (dolphin) which used to be on the roof of the original Watari-yakugura-mon Gate.

② Otesan-no-mon Gate

This gate is also called Gejo-mon Gate (dismount gate). Originally, in front of this gate, there was a moat dividing San-nomaru from Ninomaru.

The building on the right side in this old photograph is a Doshin Bansho (guard house) which was transferred to inside of the gate.

In the Edo period, the feudal lords except for the three branch families of the TOKUGAWA Clan, had to dismount from their horses or palanquins at this gate, so there were signs written with the words "Dismount/Get off". It is said that many vassals, while waiting here, exchanged various information with their counterparts from other families.


Current Otesan-no-mon Gate


Otesan-no-mon Gate,1871
'Honmaru Gejo-mon Zu' National Important Cultural Property "Photograph Album of the Former Edo Castle"

③ Nakano-mon Gate

Otesan-no-mon Gate and Nakano-mon Gate were the front gates leading to Honmaru, therefore, together with Chujaku-mon Gate, made one pivotal gate, performing an important role to protect Honmaru, linked up with Hyakunin Bansho (one hundred guard house) and O-Bansho (superior guard house).

In the Watari-yagura stood on the stone walls, O-yumimochi o-mochizutsu kashira Yoriki Doshin (head of shooting and firearms troop) stood guard for the shogun.

Yoriki and Doshin were TOKUGAWA government officials who worked for general affairs and police.

Shoin-Banto (head clerks) were also stationed in O-Bansho located at the inner-right side of the gate.

The stone of walls in this area, were big enough to overwhelm feudal lords.

According to the excavation conducted by the Imperial Household Agency and Chiyoda City Board of Education, the reconstruction after the Great Fire of Meireki (1657) was conducted by HOSOKAWA Family of Kumamoto Domain, and the stones are transported all the way from Setonaikai and Kii Peninsula, and was again reconstructed after the Great Earthquake in 1703 by IKEDA Family of Tottori Domain.


Current Nakano-mon Gate


Hyakunin-bansho, 1871 'Honmaru Terasawa Niju-yagura Zu'
National Important Cultural Property "Photograph Album of the Former Edo Castle"

④ Chujaku-mon Gate

This gate is also called Goshoin-mon Gate leading to the front entrance of Honmaru Goten.

As the old photograph shows, the gate surrounded by Niju-yagura and Tamon-yagura buildings, was once strictly guarded to protect the shogun, but in 1863, the gate was burned down by catching fire from the Honmaru Goten.

Today, only a site of stone walls remains the dreadful mark of fire with scorched stones.


Current Chujaku-mon Gate (Only stone wall remain today)


Chujaku-mon, 1871 'Honmaru shoin Niju-yagura oyobi jubako-yagura Zu'
National Important Cultural Property "Photograph Album of the Former Edo Castle"

Opening times of the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace

Open :
From March 1 to April 14 / 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (entry up to 4:00 p.m.)
From April 15 to the end of August / 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (entry up to 4:30 p.m.)
From September 1 to the end of October / 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (entry up to 4:00 p.m.)
From November 1 to the end of February / 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (entry up to 3:30 p.m.)
Closed :
The Garden is closed on the following days and occasions.
Every Monday and Friday (open on National Holiday except the Emperor's Birthday, December 23)
In the event that a National Holiday falls on a Monday, the Garden will be closed on the Tuesday immediately following the National Holiday.
From December 28 to January 3
In circumstances where it is deemed necessary to close the Garden due to Imperial Court functions or other occasions.
Entrance and exit gates :
(Free of charge)
Ote-mon Gate, Hirakawa-mon Gate and Kitahanebashi-mon Gate.

∗ All of old photograghs are possessed by Tokyo National Museum.
∗ These photographs in the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace were taken with permission of the Imperial Household Ageney.