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Private Highlights of Kyoto Tour
"The tour starts at 9am from the Hotel Granvia Kyoto in the JR Kyoto Station building. You are requested to select one of two different courses Northwest-bound course or the Southeast-bound course. The Northwest-bound course visits the Bamboo Grove the Rock Garden (Ryoanji Temple) the Golden Pavilion and the Nijo Castle or the Nishiki Market. The Southeast-bound course visits the Sake Brewery the Fushimi Inari Taisha the Sanjusangendo Temple the Kiyomizudera Temple and the Ninenzaka or Sannenzaka Slope.Tour ends at 4pm near the Gion area
From JPY10,000.00
Half Day Tour of Nijo Castle and Golden Pavilion in Kyoto
"You will be picked up from your centrally located hotel in Kyoto at 9am and first head to Nijo Castle where you will spend approximately 60 minutes exploring. The Nijo Castle was the residence of the Shogun when they visited Kyoto on special occasions. T also marks the event when the last Shogun returned the governing power to the Emperor. The second stop will be the Kinkaku-ji Temple which was built by the third shogun of the Ashikaga clan in the 14th century. It is famous as """"Golden Pavilion"""" because of its gorgeous gildings. The shape of this building is reflected on the surface of the pond in the front creating a picturesque view. You can enjoy the view of the palace all four seasons of the year. Along with Nijo castle the Kinkaku-ji Temple is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.After visiting these amazing sights you will be dropped back at your hotel in Kyoto at around 1pm."""
From JPY16,000.00
Kyoto Full-Day Sightseeing Tour including Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu Temple
"Following a morning pickup from your Kyoto hotel meet your guide and hop aboard your air-conditioned coach to begin your city tour. Widely considered to be the cradle of Japan's cultural heritage Kyoto was the country’s capital and the Emperor's residence from 794 until 1868. Today it stands as Japan’s seventh largest city with a population of 1.4 million people and a modern face which belies its status as Japan's most traditional city. Head first to Nijo Castle noted for the stark contrast between its solemn appearance and beautiful interior. Built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogun Nijo Castle is a joy to explore. Wander past the inner walls to Honmaru Palace and its garden and hear of their history and heritage from your guide. Discover Ninomaru Palace with its five connecting buildings made of cypress — lavishly decorated in gold leaf — and admire the kitchens
From JPY13,200.00

Nijo Castle Tips (44)

At Ninomaru Palace tread lightly please....

Within the sturdy walls and moats of Nijo Castle, approached through the the grand Karamon gateway lies a paean to the glory of Tokugawa Ieyasu in the form of the glorious Ninomaru Palace, whose residence this once was. A highlight of the palace is one of the world's first burglar alarms!

During the Edo period, assassination by ninja was a very real threat. So the nightingale floor (Uguisu-bari), a effective if low-tech alarm system served to alert Daimyo or Shogun bodyguards that intruders of ill intent were on the prowl.

When one puts ones weight on the floorboards of the Ninomaru Palace, the surface bends and warps, causing the securing nails to rub against a jacket or clamp, generating low creaks reminiscent of chirping birds. This chorus of faux birdsong, alerting the palace guards, giving any would be assassin the choice of flight or death.
I guess fat assassins did not succeed, as the heavier the footfall, the louder the chirp!

And so it was that when the cacophony of tour guides 'listening-to-me'-ing their unfortunate followers subsided, the creaking palace floors did indeed sound like a twittering of many birds. There are 5 buildings in the complex, connected by corridors with the famous creaking floorboards, and it takes some time to wander through on soft socked feet, along passageways with fine square-panelled ceilings and elaborate wall paintings, viewed through the sliding panels of the interior rooms. The grandest rooms are the audience hall of the Shogun himself, where said potentate with sit on an elevated platform, flanked by bodyguards hidden in closets. Trusting times indeed.

I first read of the 'nightingale floor' in Lian Hearn's fine novel, 'Across the Nightingale Floor', so it was a special pleasure to be able to try one out for myself.

Another strict 'no photo' establishment (inside the palace), the entrance is included in the ticket to Nijo Castle (600 Yen in 2014). Opening hours of the castle are 8:45 to 17:00.
Opening hours are the same as for the castle.

Orchid's Profile Photo
Oct 25, 2014

A Flatland Castle

The most famous castles in Japan are located on spectacular naturally defensible landforms. Nijō castle though stands on a plain, now surrounded by the city of Kyoto. It is defended therefore by massive stone walls whose inhospitable rock drop precipitously into the surrounding moats. The walls are studded with white stuccoed defensive turrets.

There are concentric rings of fortifications, though the innermost keep is no more. The visitor arrives now through the Eastern Gate, and proceeds clockwise to the Koramon gate, which deposits one at the entrance to the
sublime Ninomaru Palace where one can attempt the nightinggale floors.

Outside, the pathway leads past the artfully arranged rocks in the pool of the Ninomaru Garden, across the Inner Moat, where the high walls surround the Honmaru Palace and Gardens. The platform of the Donjon, in the south west corner gives fine views across the castle grounds, and the curiously terraced inner fortifications.

After exiting the Inner keep, on can walk back to the East entrance though the new Seiryū-en garden, replete with plum and cherry groves, its paths lined with azalea hedges.

Entry to the castle is 600 yen, and it opens from 8:45 to 17:00 (earlier in winter)

Orchid's Profile Photo
Oct 25, 2014

Largest palace i've been to

From the Golden Temple, I hopped on a bus 201 to Nijo castle. I paid 230 yen again. Entrance fee is 600 yen. The whole castle is so big. Taking photos is prohibited inside the castle. The garden in this castle is wonderful as well and too bad my camera’s battery almost died. I spent an hour resting in a refreshment area in the castle ground.

heydelin's Profile Photo
Aug 02, 2014

An 'easier' castle to visit

Unlike many castles in Japan which can be 7 floors high, Nijo Castle is a one-story affair so touring it is more leisurely. Since Kyoto was spared from the ravages of war, everything within the castle is original which is why apart from being a World Heritage site it is also regarded as a National Treasure of Japan.

The main attraction of the castle is its lush, picturesque Ninomaru garden and the adjoining Ninomaru Palace, where one could view reproductions of the wall paintings. The originals were transferred to the 400th Anniversary Gallery (additional admission fee charged) just beside it where they can be viewed. When you walk inside the palace, you might notice chirping sound coming from the floor. The floors were intentionally designed to make such sound as a sort of intruder alarm particularly at night.

Footwear must be removed before entering. Once inside you cannot touch anything but the floor and no photos/videos. It can be a bit warm and stuffy inside especially in summer as there's no A/C and sliding doors/windows are shut so better bring a hand fan.

stamporama's Profile Photo
Jul 29, 2014
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Hotels Near Nijo Castle

538 Hachichome, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, 604-0074, Japan
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Nijojo-mae, Horikawa-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, 604-0055, Japan
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22-58 Ikenouchicho, Nishinokyo, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, 604-8375, Japan
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693 Kushigecho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, 602-8127, Japan
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Sanjo-agaru, Higashi-horikawa-dori, Nakagyo-ku,, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, 604-8263, Japan
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596 Tenbincho Kamigyoku, 602-8105
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Nijo Castle - Central Kyoto

Nijo Castle is one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, a UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The castle was begin in 1603 under Tokugawa Ieyasu, and completed in 1626 during the reign of his grandson Tokugawa Iemitsu.This stage of construction included a five-story castle yhat was built in the center of the fortress. The large castle, the centerpiece of the site, was destoyed by lightning and the ensuing fire in 1750. This remained a shogunate castle until around 1867 when power was returned from the Shoguns to the Emperor, and the castle was donated to the city of Kyoto in 1939.

Entrance to the castle complex is 600 Yen per adult, which includes a nice, long tour of the interior of the impressive, 33-room Ninomaru Palace, built with the original castle. To the west of the Ninomaru Palace is the Honmaru Palace, built with the original castle, and destroyed in 1788, the current structure was completed in 1847. On the north side of the castle grounds are the impressive Seiryu-en Gardens, which were built in 1965.

Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
Oct 19, 2013

Nijo Castle

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.

Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
Jun 18, 2012

Another Jewel of the many in Kyoto ....

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......

jlanza29's Profile Photo
May 04, 2012

Nijo Castle

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.

SallyM's Profile Photo
May 02, 2011
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"Kyoto is a must see for every tourist in Japan!"
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"Cultural Capital Kyoto"
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"WORLD OF ITS OWN (Kyoto,Nara,Osaka,Himeji & Kobe)"
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"City of two thousand shrines"
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A world heritage of Kyoto

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.

muratkorman's Profile Photo
Sep 12, 2009

Nijo Castle

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.

Rabbityama's Profile Photo
Jan 11, 2009

Visit Nijojo!

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.

Toshioohsako's Profile Photo
Jul 19, 2008

Nijo Castle

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.

yurxlnc's Profile Photo
Jul 13, 2008

Things to Do Near Nijo Castle

Things to Do

Togetsu-kyo Bridge

Moon River, wider than a mile / I'm crossing you in style some day Audrey Hepburn After Tenryuji Temple we were out on the main street and walked 5’ down to the riverside where we crossed...
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Arashaiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama

Crossing the Togetsu-kyo Bridge we saw the sign for the Monkey Park Iwatayama, I always love to see monkeys, I’m not sure why, maybe because of that old adventure game Monkey Island! :) It requires...
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Kyoto International Manga Museum

This museum houses a collection of manga (comic books) not only by Japanese authors/illustrators but international artists as well. Found TinTin comic books in French too! A good opportunity for kids...
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Shugakuin Imperial Villa

Shugakuin Imperial Villa is located up in the countryside of northeastern Kyoto. They were built by Emperor Gomizuno in the mid-seventeenth century. It is divided into three parts, the lower villa,...
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Go-o Shrine

Go-o Shrine was built to enshrine Wake no Kiyomaru from Wake (a small town in Okayama Prefecture). He was exiled from the capital after he foiled an attempt to take the throne by a Buddhist priest...
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Kaleidoscope Museum

The Kyoto Kaleidoscope Museum is a small but fun museum, especially if you have kids. Explanations are in English and Japanese, although most of the kaleidoscopes are easy to try on your own. There...
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Getting to Nijo Castle


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  • Sunday 08:45 to 16:00
  • Monday 08:45 to 16:00
  • Tuesday 08:45 to 16:00
  • Wednesday 08:45 to 16:00
  • Thursday 08:45 to 16:00
  • Friday 08:45 to 16:00
  • Saturday 08:45 to 16:00