The National Treasure: State Guest House, Akasaka Palace Splendid Building and Afternoon Tea!
The State Guest House, Akasaka Palace is a Western-style Neo-Baroque building that blends the beauty of Japan and the West. It functions as a place to host state dignitaries from all over the world.
We take you on a tour inside the palace, and also enjoy afternoon tea together with us in the beautiful front courtyard garden of the Palace.
Visiting the State Guest House Akasaka Palace
State Guest House, Akasaka Palace has been designated as a national treasure , and luckily for us the inside is open to the general public for viewing. The main building and the garden do not require bookings to enter, and you can take advantage of an audio guide for 200 yen per person.
However, visits to the Japanese-style annex do require advance reservations, and the annex is not open to children under elementary school age. Please check the official website for details.
Opening Hours: 10: 00-17: 00 (Last reception 16:00, gardens only open until 16:30)
Admission fee (main building / garden): General: 1,500 yen, University students: 1,000 yen, Junior and senior high school students: 500 yen, Elementary school students and under: Free
* Admission fees may vary during special exhibitions.
Official web: https://www.geihinkan.go.jp/en/akasaka/visit/
The first Western-style palace building in Japan
Get off at Chuo Line / Sobu Line “ Yotsuya '' station, about 7 minutes on foot from Akasaka Exit
Get off at Yotsuya Station on the Marunouchi Line, about 7 minutes on foot from Exit 1
Get off at Namboku Line “ Yotsuya '' station, about 7 minutes on foot from Exit 2
[History] From the "Togu-gosho, Crown Prince's Palace" to the "State Guesthouse"
Completed in 1909 as a residence for the Crown Prince, Akasaka Palace (known as Togu Gosho at the time) was the first Western-style palace building in Japan, and is regarded as the pinnacle of Japanese Western-style building. After the Crown Prince was crowned Emperor, the residence became the Imperial Palace, and was later transferred from the Imperial Household to the Japanese government to be used as the National Diet Library, etc. It was revived as the State Guesthouse in 1974, and became a venue for hosting guests such as monarchs and presidents from around the world. This building is the only neo-baroque palace in Japan designed by esteemed Meiji architect Katayama Tōkuma.
Designed by architect Katayama Tōkuma
[Highlight] Japanese elements within Western-style palace architecture
The palace is famously known as the pinnacle of Japanese Western-style building, but in fact many Japanese elements were scattered throughout it. For example, Chrysanthemums (the national emblem of Japan) are placed on the upper part of the iron door at the main entrance, and Kiri or Paulownia (the emblem of the Japanese government) are used to decorate either side of the main entrance door.
In addition, the unique beauty of Japan is blended wonderfully into the Western designs, such as the statues of samurai in fine armor standing proudly on the roof of the main building, and the traditional Japanese crafts displayed in each room. The bold and delicate beauty of the combination of Japanese and Western styles is a unique and appealing trait of the State Guest House, Akasaka Palace.
Chrysanthemum Emblem at the main gate
Fine samurai armor displayed on the main building roof
[Main building] The entrance hall welcomes many dignitaries
The front entrance hall glows splendidly with beautiful white walls and crimson carpets. The checkered pattern on the floor is made of Italian representative marble "Bianco Carrara" in its white, and the black is "Genshoseki" slate from Miyagi. A lovely mural of the morning sun greets arriving guests at the top of the stairs, and there is a sunset mural opposite the morning sun which farewells departing guests as they leave the building down through the entrance hall.
Beautiful checkered pattern on the entrance hall floor
Asahi (the morning sun) welcomes guests
The sunset farewells guests
[Main building]Beautifully renovated "Asahi no Ma"
After ascending the grand stairway to the second floor from the entrance hall, you’ll find the Asahi Room, which is said to be the most elegant room in the State Guest House, Akasaka Palace. In this room, meetings and ceremonial welcomes for VIPs are held, and it’s also where Emperor and Empress say goodbye to state guests.
"Asahi no Ma", the most elegant room
A painting of the goddess, the symbol of this room
[Main building] Find good luck within the beautiful "Sairan no Ma"
The "Sairan no Ma" is used by the Prime Minister for summit talks with foreign heads of state and treaty signings. The name of the room is derived from the mythical bird "ran", a type of phoenix originating from ancient China. "Ran" appears when the nation is prospering and has the power of luck and happiness.
"Sairan no Ma" featuring large mirrors
Ran, the bird of happiness
[Main building] The most beautiful room "Kacho no Ma"
Kacho no Ma is the most beautiful room in the State Guest House, Akasaka Palace. This unique room is a banquet hall to host banquets with foreign guests. The chic and dignified interior was designed in the style of Henry II, popular in France in the late 16th century.
The most beautiful room, "Kacho no Ma"
The ceiling art depicting flowers, birds and game
[Main building] "Hagoromo no Ma" dancing gracefully like an angel in heaven
Named after a Noh play and once a ballroom, inside “Hagoromo no Ma” we can see various music-related items in place around the room, such as orchestra boxes and reliefs of Japanese and Western musical instruments on the wall.
“Hagoromo no Ma” created as a ballroom
Ceiling painting that depicts the sky when an angel descends towards the ground
[Garden] Stroll through the main garden and observe its stunning fountain
On the south side of the main building is a beautiful main garden that hosts a mixture of Japanese and Western elements, and boasts a stunning fountain in its center which is a national treasure. The garden’s left-right symmetry is characteristic of classic western-style garden design.
Beautiful “Main Garden” in the Western European stye
“Griffon” surrounding the fountain
[Garden] Elegant afternoon tea in the palace’s front courtyard
Afternoon tea can be enjoyed in the front courtyard, which spreads out expansively from the main building’s anterior. Tables are arranged on cobblestones emulating a European garden cafe. This experience is gaining popularity as it gives people the chance to enjoy a light meal and tea in front of the beautiful main building. You order your food from a food truck, with selections that include sandwiches, scones, and cheesecakes, then find a table to your liking, and await your order which comes served to you on crate trays with class. It is no exaggeration to say that this is the most elegant afternoon tea in Japan.
Enjoy afternoon tea in the front courtyard
1 set (2 servings) with tea
Please be aware that the Palace opens 10 a.m. and there are many customers seeking the limited afternoon tea spots, so it may be sold out in the afternoon. Furthermore, if you want to take beautiful pictures we recommend that you secure a seat near the main building; so come early to guarantee your chance of having the tea and finding the best seat. The menu changes every season, so you can enjoy this elegant dining experience as if it were the first time no matter how many times you visit.
Price: 1 set for 2 people ¥ 4,800 (tax included) (The admission fee is also necessary.)
* The Afternoon Tea is limited to only 20 meals per day.
Business hours: From 10:00 to 17:00 (last order 16:30)
Number of tables and seats: Normally 12 sets of 48 seats
The menu changes every season
A wonderful experience together with the main building
Why not visit the Akasaka State Guest House, located near the Olympic main stadium!