Nijo Castle, Kyoto

Nijo Castle, Kyoto (must see)

The moat and stone walls are impeccably maintained, though compared to castles elsewhere, their dimensions are relatively modest. However, what lies within is a palace renowned for its exceptional artwork. Established in 1603, the castle served not as a display of military might, but rather as a strategic base from which the Tokugawa shoguns could oversee the emperor.

Upon entering, visitors are guided through a magnificent Chinese-style gate leading to the Ninomaru Palace. Built in 1626 for a ceremonial visit by the emperor, it symbolized a unification of imperial and shogunate factions, prompting the employment of top artists of the era to adorn its rooms. Additionally, these were intended to serve as the shogun's residence in Kyoto.

Comprising five interconnected buildings arranged hierarchically, the palace delineates spaces for functionaries, Outer Lords, Tokugawa allies, and private chambers. A unique feature is the Nightingale Corridor, which functions as an alarm system by emitting squeaks when walked upon, safeguarding the palace's wealth of artwork, including over 1,000 paintings. Noteworthy among them are depictions of sturdy pine trees, symbolizing Tokugawa power.

Adjacent to the palace lies a pond garden featuring rugged rocks evoking military strength. The path encircling the grounds leads past an ancient villa, scenic viewpoints, and tea houses. Abundant cherry trees dot the landscape, particularly enchanting when illuminated during springtime. Together, the castle and cherry blossoms conjure images of samurai and fleeting beauty, offering a profound connection to the essence of Japanese culture here at Nijo.

Tips:
Be sure to wear socks, as shoes must be removed to explore the interior. For a deeper understanding of the complex's history, consider renting audio guide headphones. Alternatively, you can join the English language tour, which runs daily at 10 AM and 12:30 PM.

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 Apple App Store or Google Play Store. 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

Creating your own self-guided walk in Kyoto is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
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Kyoto Shopping and Food Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Higashiyama Walking Tour

Higashiyama Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Imperial Kyoto Walking Tour

Imperial Kyoto Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
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Among its notable landmarks is the Minamiza Kabuki Theater, a venue where...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
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Undoubtedly, the most popular attraction here is the iconic Bamboo Grove, a mesmerizing forest of towering bamboo stalks that sway gently in the breeze, creating an ethereal atmosphere. This serene setting is a must-visit for travelers seeking tranquility amidst...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


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