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State Guest-House

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State Guest-House

Akasaka Palace (赤坂離宮 Akasaka rikyu?), or the State Guest House (迎賓館 Geihinkan?), is one of the two State Guesthouses of Government of Japan. The palace was originally built as the Imperial Palace for the Crown Prince (東宮御所 Togu gosho?) in 1909. Today the palace is designated by the government of Japan as an official accommodation for visiting state dignitaries. Located in the Moto Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo, the building took on its present function in 1974, having previously been an imperial detached palace. In 2009 the palace was designated as a National Treasure of Japan.[1]

Overview


The building has 15,000 m² of floor space, and together with a smaller structure in the Japanese style, occupies a 117,000 m² site.

The main building is the sole Neo-Baroque style Western building in Japan[2] and one of biggest buildings constructed during the Meiji period.[1]

Outside and around the palace area is a footpath unobstructed by road crossings. The footpath is about 3.25 km long (roughly 2 miles).

The nearest station to the Palace is Yotsuya Station.

History

The territory that Akasaka Palace now occupies was part of the residence of Kishū Domain, one of the major branches of the ruling Tokugawa clan family. during the Tokugawa period.[2] After the Meiji restoration, the Owari presented the land to the Imperial Household.

Designed by the architect Katayama Tōkuma (片山 東熊?) (a student of Josiah Conder), the Neo-Baroque structure was constructed between 1899 and 1909 as a residence for the Crown Prince. Originally it was named Tōgū Palace (ja. lit. "Palace for the Crown Prince") but was later renamed Akasaka Palace when the Crown Prince's residence was moved.[2]

Regent Crown Prince Hirohito resided at Akasaka Palace from September 1923[3] until September 1928, two months before his coronation. The move was intended to be temporary, but lasted five years. During the renovation of his contemporary residence, Hirohito intended to lodge temporarily at Akasaka Palace, moving in on August 28, 1923. Four days later, Japan was hit by the Great Kantō Earthquake[3] on September 1. During his residence in Akasaka Palace, Prince Hirohito married and fathered two daughters, Princess Sachiko (who died at 6 months old) and Princess Shigeko.

After World War II the government of Japan relieved the Imperial household of Akasaka Palace. Several governmental offices were installed in the palace, including the National Diet Library which was founded in 1948,[4] Cabinet Legislation Bureau and Organizing Committee of Tokyo Olympics 1964.

Through the economic revival of the country after the World War II, the Japanese Government found the necessity of establishing a state guest house. The former residence of Prince Asaka, currently Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, had been used as the state guest house, though it was too small for the purpose. It was decided in 1967 to renovate the former Akasaka Palace as the new state guest house. The renovation was led by the architect Togo Murano with more than five years and 10.8 billion yen, which completed in 1974.

The first official state guest who stayed in the palace was Gerald Ford in 1974, which was the first visit of the incumbent President of the United States to Japan. Since then, the palace has provided accommodations for state and official guests and a venue for international conferences, which have included the G7 summit meetings (1979, 1986 and 1993) and APEC[2] summits.

The venue had been closed from 2006 to 2009 for renovation, and it was reopened in April 2009. In December of 2009, the main building, the main gate and the garden with fountain were designated as a National Treasure of Japan.[1] It was the first designation of assets after Meiji Restoration as a National Treasure of Japan.

Kyoto State Guest House

A new 16,000 m² facility in Kyoto was opened on April 17, 2005. The 20,000 m² site is located in Kyoto Gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto.

See also

External links

  • Cabinet Office's official site (with photo gallery)

References


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