Monday is the absolute worst day for hanging out at Chiyoda -- all the museums are closed, and the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace are also closed. As luck would have it, Monday was my Chiyoda day -- if you can't avoid Mondays here, some feedback for you:
1. The hour and a half tour of the Imperial Palace is informative enough. Non-Japanese speakers get an audio guide, so nothing is lost in translation (hopefully). The cockney accent of the audio guide voice is a bit strange, but the English is still English so it should be okay.
Sometimes the guide will joke and everyone else will laugh. The pains of having an audio guide. Feel free to add your awkward laughter; no one will judge you (hopefully).
2. Definitely in the afternoon/not sure in the morning: you have to get your souvenirs at the start of the tour. The shop will be closed by the time the tour ends.
3. Bring comfy shoes. Wear them. You will need them as this is truly a walking/standing around type of tour, with no seats and no restrooms along the way.
4. As a tour, it's not fascinating or fun. It's educational, as far as "we use this building for this purpose" goes. Between the guard that guides you and the audio guide, no razzle-dazzle. Prepare to walk with a herd of sweet looking old people who will ask Doko desu ka? Yep, I'm not from here and they can tell.
Book your spot online at the Household Agency website. Bring your confirmation print-out on the day of the tour.
One day I will go to Chiyoda to check out the East Gardens and the museums. No real need to go back here, though -- once is okay.
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