Judging from the parking lot full of sightseeing buses, you could assume the Imperial Palace is only a tourist attraction. Actually, it is the heavily guarded residence for the Emperor of Japan and the Imperial Family. This role has a long history. Jimmu was the first Emperor of Japan in 660 BC. It wasn’t until the 5th century when the emperor ruled the entire country. Shoguns assumed power in 1192 before it transferred back to the emperor in 1868 at the start of the Meiji Restoration. After WWII, Japan was forced to adopt a new constitution creating a parliamentary system of government. Since then, the Emperor position as head of state is mostly symbolic.