The State Guest house, Akasaka Palace, welcoming foreign dignitaries and state guests

The State Guest House, Akasaka Palace is a Palace Building incorporating a fusion of Neo-Baroque style architecture and Japanese design

The historic State Guest house, Akasaka Palace was completed in 1909, designed by a contingent of noted local architects and artists of the time. The Akasaka Palace was furnished with fine items imported from both Germany and France and there was even an electrical generator and heating equipment installed that were imported from overseas. Due to the increase in visiting dignitaries after the announcement that Tokyo would host the 1964 Olympics, it was decided that the former Palace would be renovated and remodeled as the new Official State Guest House, which was completed in March of 1974. The Akasaka Palace, which although is the only building in Japan built in the typical style of Neo Baroque Architecture, also includes some elements of Japanese design, such as the materials and construction used in the roof of the building, which represents the form of the armour of a traditional Samurai warrior. Since the completion of its renovation in 1974, the Guest House has accommodated and provided traditional Japanese hospitality to many Royal Families, Presidents and Prime Ministers from around the world.

The State Guest house, Akasaka Palace was the first building to be completed after the Meiji Restoration in 1868 that was designated a national treasure. It was opened daily to the public from April 2016 with the intent to provide as many people as possible with access to this unique landmark, apart from times when hosting official State guests.

Yushintei, The Japanese Style Annex building within the grounds of the Akasaka Palace is also open to the public

Yushintei, a typical tradtional Japanese style building, was constructed using the very best craftsmanship at the time of the renovation of the State Guest House. The building was designed by well known architect Yoshiro Yaniguchi, who also was responsible for buildings such as Crown Princes’ Palace (Togu Gosho) and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. The building covers an area of 1,700sqm (2033sq yd), which is used for official dinner receptions and tea ceremonies for dignitaries and official guests. Yushintei is also open to the public.

After passing the large pond, follow the approach to the entrance of the building featuring a one hundred year old Bonsai plant. The approach is lined with many trees that have been planted by visiting dignitaries over the years, including an English Oak tree planted by Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II. The timber and stones that were used in the construction of the Yushintei were sourced from around Japan, displaying the understated beauty of a traditional Japanese building.

Guests enter the building from the main entrance and walk along the grand hallway which leads to the main room, dining room and tea room. The noted view of the pond and surrounding traditional garden from the main room is definitely not to be missed. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, famously hand fed the Carp in the pond during her visit, which is commemorated with a photo displayed in the building.

Guided public tours of Yushitei, Japanese style Annex Building are conducted ten times daily.

The State Guest house, Akasaka Palace and Yushintei, the Japanese style Annex Building are important venues of diplomatic affairs, and are still used to host many official functions for visiting dignitaries. A visitor can truly experience the beauty of traditional Japanese architecture and appreciate the skill of the craftsmen that built them when visiting these unique historic buildings. The Akasaka Palace is generally open to the public all year, but with the exception of times when hosting visiting dignitaries, so it’s best to check the availability of the building before visiting.

The garden and court yard in front of the Akasaka Palace is open to the public daily, however an application, which is accessible via the website, is needed to enter the State Guest House or Yushintei. The State Guest house, Akasaka Palaceis closed on Wednesdays as well as other random times when dignitaries are visiting. Availabilty can be checked at the website below.

The State Guest House, Akasaka Palace

Getting there: 7 minute walk from Yotsuya Station on the JR Chuo Line or Sobu Line, or Yotsuya Station on Marunouchi and Nanboku Subway Lines.