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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Imperial Palace Sakurada Moat Repairs

桜田濠の工事

For the past few days, the Sakurada Moat (Sakuradabori in Japanese) of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo has had a barge floating in it loaded with all sorts of construction-related equipment.

Sakurada Moat, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan, with barge doing repair work.
Sakurada Moat of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, with Marunouchi district in background.
The following sign in front of Sakuradamon Gate explained it all: "We're repairing the stone slabs in Sakurada Moat." Looking it up, it seems that this happens every two or three years.

Sakurada Moat repair information board, Imperial Palace.
Information board for the Sakurada Moat repair work
There are numerous moats - 15 to be precise - around the Imperial Palace, excavated during the rule of the first three Tokugawa Shoguns, Ieyasu (1543-1616), Hidetada (1579-1632) and Iemitsu (1604-1651). who inhabited what was then known as Edo Castle.

Sakurada Moat, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan, plus barge doing repair work.
Sakurada Moat of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, with Hanzomon district in background.
The Sakurada (literally "cherry blossom field") Moat is the moat that goes from about the "6 o'clock" to "9 o'clock" stretch of the perimeter of the Imperial Palace, or, in terms of landmarks, from Sakuradamon Station ("Sakuradamon" meaning "Sakurada Gate," one of the Palace's nine gates) up to about the National Theater of Japan.

Sakurada Moat, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan, with up-close of a barge doing repair work.
Sakurada Moat of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, with Hanzomon and Kojimachi districts in background.
Sakuradamon Gate has a somewhat bloody role in Tokyo history, having been the scene of the assassination of the Chief Minister of State at the time, Ii Naosuke (1815–1860), on March 24 1860 by disaffected samurai who protested his having signed the 1858 Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the United States, thus opening up Japan further to Western influence.

Sakuradamon Gate was also where a disaffected Korean nationalist tried to assassinate the Emperor on January 9 1932 by throwing a grenade at him.

Anyway - to return to the present - Sakuradamon Moat is currently a scene of great activity, as the photos show, complete with divers.

Sakurada Moat, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan, with two divers doing repair work.
Divers in Sakurada Moat, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, doing repair work on the stone walls of the moat.
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