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Nijo Castle

Number-five of the fifty most visited sights in Kyoto, Japan.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 0.621 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  It was here,in 1867,in the Ninomaru Palace,where Tokugawa Yoshinobu (1837 to 1913),the last Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan,... more »

Tips:  Nijo-jo opens from 8:45am to 5pm (Last admittance to 4pm). Admittance is 600-yen.
I don't think there are many more central tourist... more »

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Points of Interest

This is the main entrance to Nijo-jo. As you walk from the street,and cross the bridge and enter through the gate, you will be stepping-back in time.

As you enter through the Main Entrance, pass the Guardhouse on your right,turn left then right, you will be greeted by this magnificent structure.
The Karamon Gates are often used as entrances to Japanese Castles,Buddhist Temples and Shinto Shrines, and have historically been a symbol of authority.

3. Ninomaru Palace.

The 3,300 square-meter Ninomaru Palace consists of five connected separate buildings.Inside the walls and ceilings are lavishly decorated with quantities of Gold-Leaf and elaborate Wood-Carvings, intended to impress visitors of the power and wealth of the Shoguns.

4. Interior art of Ninomaru Palace.

Viewing art such as this brings tears to ones eyes. We have to be grateful that it has been preserved and protected for others to appreciate.

5. Ninomaru Garden.

The "Chisen-kaiyushiki" style garden (a style dating-back to ancient times, with wandering ponds following the natural flow of the land)was designed by Kobori Enshu (1597 to 1647)and reconstructed in 1626. Enshu was a master of tea-ceremony,architecture,garden design, calligraphy and poetry during the early Edo culture.

6. Bridge, entrance to Honmaru Palace.

After your stroll through the Ninomaru Gardens, you are now ready for the Honmaru Palace.

7. Honmaru Palace.

The Honmaru Palace (Inner Palace) was added to the castle complex in 1626, upon the orders of the Third Tukugawa Shogun, Iemitsu. The Donjon (a five-story castle tower),which was part of the original construction, was struck by lightning in 1750 and burnt to the ground.
The structure is designated an "Important Cultural property".

8. Honmaru Garden

The Honmaru Palace and Garden are surrounded by the Inner-Moat and covers 16,800 square meters.The construction of the garden was completed in 1896. Starting with the "Karensansui Style" (stones & gravel employed to depict hills & water)the garden underwent a series of reformations, reaching it's present configuration in the artificial... More

9. Inner Moat and Dojon.

Once exiting the Honman Palace enclosure, the trail brings you through groves of Cherry Trees and Plumb Trees. During Spring,when the trees are in full bloom,these will make a very-picturesque sight.
As we leave the groves,we follow the Inner Moat to where we reach the base of the stone foundation where the Dojon once stood.

10. Kita-Otemon (Great Northern Gate)

As you follow the Inner Moat, passing-by other small buildings and gardens, you arrive at the Kita-Otemon Gate. This gate is a large "Yaguramon Style Gate" (Yagura comes from Ya, meaning arrow,and,Kura, meaning storehouse),which was used to store arrows, along with other kinds of weapons,food and supplies.

11. Exterior Moat and Walls.

After having left the Kita-Otemon Gate you return to the main entrance, the Higashi-Ote-Mon Gate,passing by other buildings such as the storage building,resting-room,toilets and Guard-house.
Upon exiting Nijo-jo, I recommend you take a stroll around the Outer Moat and Walls.