Did you know that you can find a palace as majestic as the Palace of Versailles in Tokyo? This is surely a place both tourists and photographers will appreciate its duality.
Akasaka Palace is one of the two State Guesthouses of the Japanese government that was built between 1899 and 1909 for the then-Crown Prince Daijo Tenno by architect Tokuma Katayama. It's a fire and earthquake-resistant, three-level building that survived even the Second World War. Katayama wanted this palace to be one of a kind in Japan, so he studied under a British architect and lived in Europe to get a full grasp of neo-baroque architecture. Many have likened Akasaka to Buckingham Palace in London, with its interiors similar to the Palace of Versailles.
Since this estate is the residence of several members of the imperial family (current resident is Crown Prince Naruhito), the palace is highly guarded who are constantly on the watch for anything or anyone suspicious. But that doesn't mean it's completely off-limits. There's one section of the palace which is open to visitors. Find the elaborately designed white-and-gold gate! Our Lomographer Stephane, a.k.a. toscan is one of the few among our community to have tried to capture the area:
“First, you have to check about the possibility to enter this place to visit the gardens, it's only possible in autumn and sometimes you have to ask for and make a reservation. Don't hesitate to ask local Tokyo resident about the place, they usually call the place Geihinkan and not Akasaka Palace, and check the opening time there. If it's not possible to go through the gates it's still possible to shoot from outside, like the pictures I've done!”
The most important aspect of this Palace is its unique nature and hybrid design. Since it's mostly designed in baroque architecture, you might expect Western embellishments — take a look again! One of the most interesting parts of the Palace is how Japanese symbolism is imbued in the details, statues, and design. You'll see sculptures of samurai armor, firebirds, Japanese drums, chrysanthemums, and more.
To make your compositions even more interesting, toscan also suggested referencing Japanese elements into the photos:
“This place is a Japanese palace build according to foreign culture architectural standards, so, you should add some Japanese style element in your frame like a typical Tokyo taxi, some people, focus on the garden, the trees, and of course the best idea I can share about shooting there is to wait for the golden hour, the colors are so great when you shoot with film at this moment, I think it's the greatest moment to shoot this amazing building.”
Lastly, don't forget to upload your photographs on your LomoHome!