Nijo Castle, Kyoto

Nijo Castle, Kyoto (must see)

The magnificent Nijo Castle is the former residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Opened to the public in 1940, this is one of the few palaces in Kyoto where visitors are allowed to view the interiors.

The castle was built in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, and was later enlarged by his descendant, Tokugawa Iemitsu, who added a five-floored tower, called Honmaru, which was later destroyed by fire. Nijo was also the site where the last Tokugawa Shogun, Yoshinobu, restored to power Japanese Emperor in 1867.

Unlike other palaces, the Nijo Castle is not fortified but, instead, is surrounded by gardens and a moat. The complex comprises two structures: the outer Honmaru tower, and the main building and residence of the Shogun, called Ninomaru. The unique feature of Ninomaru is its squeaking floors, aka “nightingale floors” (uguisubari). The noise made by the floor planks, when walked upon, was to warn residents about someone entering the building. The interiors of the castle abound in beautiful paintings and sliding doors. There are also wax mannequins dressed up in ancient costumes so as to recreate the ambiance of a historical royal residence. In 1994, the Nijo Castle was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Why You Should Visit:
To experience first-hand the Shogun's lifestyle, to see where official ceremonies and meetings took place, and so on.
Truly amazing gardens outside, with a tea-house and an indoor food/drink/souvenir rest area.

Tip:
Make sure to wear socks, as you will be required to take your shoes off to explore the interior.
Consider renting audio guide headphones for some valuable info that will help you understand the history of the complex better.
Otherwise, consider joining the English language tour running daily at 10am and 12:30pm.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8:45am-5pm (admission until 4pm); entry to Ninomaru from 9am-4pm
Closed: Tuesdays in Jan, Jul, Aug, Dec (or the following day if Tuesday is a national holiday), Dec 29-31

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Kyoto. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Nijo Castle on Map

Sight Name: Nijo Castle
Sight Location: Kyoto, Japan (See walking tours in Kyoto)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Kyoto, Japan

Create Your Own Walk in Kyoto

Create Your Own Walk in Kyoto

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Kyoto Shopping and Food Tour

Kyoto Shopping and Food Tour

The cultural capital of Japan, Kyoto is just as famous as a shopper’s paradise and is, without saying, the best place in the country to buy traditional and modern Japanese goods. Souvenirs, food, bargains and various “one-of-a-kind items” are all up for grabs here. If you would like to walk around Kyoto on your own two feet and enjoy shopping and authentic Japanese cooking, follow this...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Gion District Walking Tour

Gion District Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Higashiyama Walking Tour

Higashiyama Walking Tour

Kyoto is a city catering for tourists, especially the ones with love of history, religion and, of course, Japanese culture. Many of Kyoto's attractions are located in the eastern part of the city, which itself is split into wards. One of them is the Higashiyama Ward, home to several famous temples of Kyoto, including centuries-old Zen and Shinto sites such as lantern-lit Yasaka shrine and...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Walk on Philosopher's Path

Walk on Philosopher's Path

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It's...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Imperial Kyoto Walking Tour

Imperial Kyoto Walking Tour

The former capital of Japan, Kyoto is the city of tradition, history and culture. Attesting to this is the central part of the city, replete with historic attractions – centuries-old imperial palaces, castles and shrines that have seen a lot in the turbulent past of Kyoto. The explore the most prominent of them and to feel the breath of antiquity, follow this self-guided walk.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Arashiyama and Bamboo Grove Walking Tour

Arashiyama and Bamboo Grove Walking Tour

The Arashiyama district is slightly out of way for tourists – but that just means one can enjoy it more comfortably. While arguably the most popular attraction here is the 'bamboo path' with its magnificent, towering bamboos, you should also enjoy other scenic attractions such as the Ōi River and Mount Arashi, or the Monkey Park, all within walking distance and selected/described in...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles

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