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元離宮二条城 Nijo Castle

  • Palace / Castles
  • Shijo Kawaramachi / Nijo Castle Area
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Shijo Kawaramachi / Nijo Castle Area
541, Nijo Jocho, Nakagyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 604-8301, Japan
  • Palace / Castles
Opening Hours
8:45-17:00 (Ninomaru - 9:00-16:00)
Date of post:2016/08/16

Supreme luxury

  • Castle

A castle is generally constructed as a fortress against enemies.
Even when Ieyasu TOKUGAWA (first shogun/military director of the Tokugawa shogunate 1600-1863) gained ruling power in the beginning of the 17th century, the Emperor still retained its authority among the people of Kyoto.
Therefore, building a castle close to the Imperial Palace about two kilometers apart gave the emperor and the imperial family a lot of pressure. Kyoto has had more than 1,200 years of history since it was the capital of Japan in the 8th century.
Compared to that, Nijojo (Nijo castle) is "only" 400 years old so some locals think that it is too young.

The castle’s characteristics are "karamon", a respectable gate, Ninomarugoten, an excellent palace, and Ninomaruteien, a wonderful garden.

Located in the flat mid city, the castle is easily accessed by people using wheelchairs.
It’s a few minute walk from Nijojo Mae station on the Kyoto city subway, and within 20 minutes from Kyoto station on the JR railway.

Since the grounds are laid with gravel, wheelchairs have to be careful. Gravel and sand are required to be cleaned off from wheelchairs before entering the main hall. And then there is an entrance for wheelchair access. Others take shoes off at another entrance and proceed along a one-way route with their shoes in a bag.

The palace and outer fortress feature a typical warrior shoin style architecture, which takes its origin from Buddhist Abbot’s house structures.

Japanese cypress wood is considered as a building material of the finest quality for Japanese houses that is abundantly used for almost every part of the building.
In addition, paintings and sculptures of master artists are displayed on the walls, sliding doors, and Japanese?style transoms between two rooms.

The garden built around the pond represents a cosmic Buddhist world with the pond at the center that is surrounded by stones in various sizes and trees.
The “borrowed landscape” technique is also used in the garden.
Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of Nijojo.
Admission fee: 600 JPY, 350 JPY for junior high and high school students
Parking fee: 800 JPY for 2 hours for a van

Date of post:2015/04/23

The flat castle that played an important role in the Edo period

  • Historic / Cultural Experiences

The existent Nijo Castle was constructed by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Shogun of the Edo period (1603-1868). The construction was completed in 1603 and Ieyasu soon moved to the castle. He was appointed as Shogun by the emperor in that year and threw a celebration party in the castle. The castle remained to be the place to check the Imperial Court in Kyoto all through the Edo period because the Shogunate was placed in Edo, now Tokyo.

The castle is placed on the flat land while the most castles were constructed on mountain tops during the Age of Civil Wars. The castle has the factor as a fortress, of course, and the outside corridors have the mechanism to make sounds when someone walks on them. You can notice the sound when a Ninja is coming. The buildings are filled with beautiful decorations. Everything is gorgeous. But, be careful, you may be lost on the way because there are so many buildings connected.

Ninomaru Garden is another place to see. This garden was constructed at the same time as the buildings. It represents the world of immortality and was planned to be seen from every direction.

The castle is also famous for plum blossoms and cherry blossoms. You have to choose the season to visit in order to enjoy the beauty of this castle.

In 1866, Yoshinobu was appointed as the last Shogun and he restored the Imperial Rule to the emperor in the following year. The castle was the stage of closing of the Edo Shogunate. It has experienced the rise and fall of the Edo period.

  • * The information above is from the date of the review. Please be aware that some of the content may vary from the most recent information.
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