Residence of the Shogun, this castle was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1601. The castle lacks the traditional keep of Japanese castles but contains a couple of palaces and large gardens in its expansive setting.
The ostentatious style of this castle was intended as a demonstration of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu's prestige.
Nijo-jo Castle was the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa shoguns, who ruled Japan for the over 200 years from 1603 to 1868, and it remains an eloquent testimony to their power. The wide moat, massive stone walls, and heavy yet elaborate gates are still impressive, and were the only fortifications the inhabitants felt they needed, so firm was their grip on power. The grounds are large and contain several lovely gardens as well as groves of plum and cherry trees. The palace building itself is imposing, yet upon closer examination, is rich in decorative detail.
Inside the palace are several masterpieces of Japanese art, most notably the painted screens of the main chamber. In this room the shoguns met the daimyo (high-ranking warlord-administrators) who sought their audience. The screens were painted by artists of the Kano school and employ rich colors and large amounts of gilt to depict flowers, trees, birds and tigers. They were meant to impress. Also in the palace are the famous "nightingale floors," which were designed to squeak and thus alert guards to any intruders.
Spent about an hour here and saw everything in a non-rushed way .... entrance fee was 600 Yens
Make sure you walk around the gardens ... just beautiful......
Nijo Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nijo Castle is different from the other castles we visited in Japan as the main building, the Ninomaru Palace, is a single-storey rather than a tower with steep stairs. It is built in the shoin-zukiri style, with linked sections. The wall paintings are by members of the Kano School. The complex was created by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616). In the first grand chamber there are dummies representing feudal lords paying their respects to the shogun.
The corridor floors are designed to squeak when they are walked on - to prevent intruders sneaking in. Because of the noise they make they are known as 'nightingale floors'.
In the castle grounds are beautiful gardens, including a cherry tree grove and plum tree grove, and the Seiryu-en Garden, constructed in 1965, which contains a large pond and two teahouses. There are also audio information panels in the grounds in 4 languages: Japanese, Chinese, English and Korean.
The castle gates open at 8.45 a.m., and the Ninomaru Palace opens at 9.00 a.m. - if you arrive early you can look round the gardens first.
The Nijo Castle itself is dated to the 17th century while Kyoto was still the Capital of Japan. During the years some parts of it been burned by fire and only in the mid 20th century it was given to the city of Kyoto and been opened to the crowed as a touristic site.
The Nijo Castle is a large complex of fortress and palaces spread on a large area of 275,000 square meters. When you plan to visit here plan about half a day for it if you want to see it all. In this tip I added photos of the fortress and gardens.
Nijo Castle is one of the 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto. The castle was originally built in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The palace building Ninomaru is kept in its original form and is famous for its Momoyama architecture, decorated sliding doors and squeaking floors when someone walks on them as a security measure for intruders. The other parts you can visit are Honmaru Palace, Seiryu-en Garden and Ninimaru Garden. The admission is 600 JPY. Opening hours are between 8:45 to 17:00.
When most people think of Japanese castles, they picture the large majestic buildings, like Himeji Castle. Nijo Castle was built with the Shoin-zukuri architectural style, so it does not look like a typical Japanese castle however, do not let this deter you from going. Nijo Castle is well worth the visit!
It is probably more appropriate to refer to Nijo Castle as an Imperial Palace, similar to the imperial villas, because the residents were indeed the Imperial Cabinet. The main section, the Ninomaru Palace, was commissioned by Tokugawa Ieyasu to be built in 1601 and was completed in 1603. The palace you see today is this very same palace; it was never burned down or reconstructed, so the building, as well as the beautiful paintings inside are all originals. The Nightingale floors have also been preserved, so as you walk in the palace, you will noticed the floorboards squeaking. These were used to indicate to those inside that someone was intruding, so outsiders could not easily launch a surprise attack or spy.
The Ninomaru Garden is also quite beautiful, and it dates back to 1626, so it was part of the original palace.
The Honmaru Palace was brought from Katsura Imperial Villa from 1893-1894 and dates back to 1847. The Seiryu-en Garden was built quite recently, in 1965, so it was not part of the original castle however, don't be too disappointed, because the Ninomaru Garden is both more beautiful and the original palace garden!
Nijo Castle is a beautiful historic site with great examples of original Japanese architecture, artwork, and gardens. It was designated as one of Kyoto's World Heritage Sites in 1994, an honor it certainly deserves!
The entrance fee is 600 yen.
Its a castle buit in 1603 by the first Shougun Tokugawa Iyeyasu for his Kyoto residence. This place is called "Ninomaru" (second castle). Its a typical masterpiece of "Momoyama" architecture. It has a large garden and enjoy taking pictures here.
The Nijo Castle is one of many UNESCO's World Heritage Site in Kyoto.
This was the former residence of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu , built as a residence for him and his successors.
It is now known as Ninimaru [secondary castle], built in 1803 and famous for its Momoyama architecture.
The main castle Honmaru had a five storied tower.
Admission 600 yen.
Open 8.45-17.00 daily, but closed on Tuesdays January, July, August and December. Also closed 26 December -4 January.
The Nijo Castle deserves its reputation as one of the highlights of Kyoto. Most likely if you are in the city you will visit it. The buildings are impressive and worth every moment you spend there, but don't skip the gardens either.
There are three of them: the Seiryu-en, the Green garden, and the Ninomaru, each different and special in their own way. The Seiryu-en has two parts, one with a large pone in the Japanese style, and the other with a spacious lawn mostly in the Western style. The large Ninomaru garden goes way back in time, with several small island in the pond. It's also worthwhile to walk along the path on the west and south sides of Honmaru, where there are cherry tree and plum tree groves, exceptional in their respective seasons.
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