In 1590 Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) entered Edo and chose the site for his headquarters. He renovated Edo Castle in 1592 with the most intricate defensive system that Japan had ever seen.
In 1622 the Honmaru (main castle keep), the Ninomaru (second castle keep) and the Nishinomaru (west keep) of Edo Castle were reconstructed on a larger scale by Tokugawa Hidetada (1579-1632), the second shogun. In 1636 Edo Castle was renovated and elegantly repaired by Tokugawa lemitsu (1604-1651), the third shogun.
The outermost enclosures of Edo Castle were entirely completed. It was then the largest castle in Japan, serving as the center of political power while symbolizing the prestige of successive shoguns. Edo Castle not only showed the shogun's majesty, but also it served as a deterrent against wars.
In 1657 many enclosures of Edo Castle including the donjon were destroyed by the Great Fire of Meireki, leaving nothing behind but the pedestal of the donjon.
In 1868 Tokugawa Yoshinobu (1837-1913), the last shogun, vacated Edo Castle following the Meiji Restoration. The Emperor Meiji moved to Tokyo, or "Eastern Capital" (renamed from Edo) from Kyoto which had been the imperial capital for more than 1000 years. After the restoration of imperial power in 868, the former site of Edo Castle became the new Imperial Palace (Kojo) in 1869.
In 1888 "Kojo" (Imperial Palace) was situated on the site Edo Castle, the home of the successive Tokugawa. It has been the official residence of the Imperial family since the Meiji Restoration.