Japanese Emperor: Tokyo Imperial Palace Bridge

In my last post I showed a medal with the Imperial Palace Bridge, so I thought I would give a brief background of this bridge, which is called Nijuu Bashi 二重橋 in Japanese.

Here is the photo I included in my last post that shows the bridge:

japanese medal

You can see this bridge on a number of commemorative items. It leads to the main entrance of the Tokyo Imperial Palace, but it is never used by the general public. In fact, it is only open for an Imperial coronation or an official ceremony (such as a funeral) of a member of the Imperial family. The bridge is usually considered a symbol of the emperor.

Actually, although this double bridge on the medal (and always depicted on items) is called the Nijuu Bashi by most people, strictly speaking it is not. There are two parts to this entrance bridge: the Main Gate Stone Bridge (Seimon Ishibashi 正門石橋), which leads from the outside to the main gate, and the Main Gate Iron Bridge (Seimon Tetsubashi 正門鉄橋), which leads from the main gate to the palace entrance. The former is popularly called the Nijuu Bashi, but that term actually refers to the latter. However, as time goes on, popular usage may alter the meaning. Anyway, the Iron Bridge just isn’t as visually striking as the Stone Bridge. Here are pictures of them, pilfered from Wikipedia. (I hope that is allowed…)

Main Gate Stone Bridge

Main Gate Stone Bridge

Main Gate Iron Bridge

Main Gate Iron Bridge

Tomorrow I’ll show a few sake cups with this design motif.

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