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Nijo Castle aerial shot

A must-visit in Kyoto | World Heritage Motoli Palace Nijo Castle | Witness the rise and fall of the Tokugawa family and the ups and downs of Japan's prosperity for hundreds of years

Last update date: 2022-06-19

Nijo Castle, also known as Nijo Imperial Palace, is located in Kyoto, Japan, and is the residence of the Shogun in Kyoto. Nijo Castle was built in 1603 and was the symbol of power of the Edo shogunate. There are tall walls of about 500 meters from east to west and 400 meters from north to south, and trenches are dug. There is a corridor in Nijo Castle called "Orioles floor", people walking on it will make a sound like the chirping of a yellow warbler. The Honmaru Palace and the Ninomaru Palace are the main buildings of Nijo Castle. The architecture of "Ninomaru" is very distinctive. There are famous paintings of hunting wild school painters on the walls and partitions of the hall, which are exquisite. The annual plum and chrysanthemum season is a good time to visit.

Some people will say it is two "Tiao" cities, others say it is two "Tiao" cities, but they are all talking about the same place

In 1994, wasUnited Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural OrganizationincludedWorld HeritagemiddleCultural properties of the ancient capital of Kyotoone. In a narrow sense, Nijo Castle isEdo periodThe city built, but in a broad sense, refers to the thirteenth generationMuromachi ShogunategeneralAshikaga Yoshikicity of residence,Oda NobunagaFor the fifteenth generation generalsAshikaga YoshiakiThe built city (the above information is taken from the wiki)

▌ Kyoto Nijo Castle related information

- transportation-

  • About a 3-minute walk from the Nijo-jo-mae train station
  • About a 2-minute walk from the city bus "Nijojo-mae" stop
  • About 15 minutes on foot from JR Nijo Station

The most valuable tickets:
One and two-day pass for Keihan Railway and Otsukyoyama Cable Car: Klook Deals
Keihan Electric Railway One and Two Day Pass: Kkday discount,Klook Deals

Kyoto subway is not very sound, if you want to walk a little less, you can considerTake a bus
If you are worried about getting lost, bring this Chinese version with youKyoto bus route map Bar

Kyoto Bus One Day Pass, you'll get your money back if you take three trips,KKday discount

– Addresses and Maps –

541 Nijo Castle Town, Nijo-dori Horikawa West, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City

– Tickets –

Kyoto Nijo Castle & Ninomaru Palace Admission Ticket:Kkday discount , Klook Deals

Half-Day Kyoto Walking Tour: Nijo Castle & Nishiki Market & Gion

– Opening hours –

8:45-16:00 (closed at 17:00)

to take a look firstClosing time, Honnomaru Palace, Ninomaru Palace closing time

▌ Nijo Castle has a different style

In the 12th year of Eiroku (1569), Oda Nobunaga began to build Nijo Castle at Ashikaga Yoshiaki's residence. In the first year of Tianzheng (1573), Nobunaga burned the city after exiling Yoshizaki, and then built another imperial palace in other places, and dedicated it to Prince Chengren. In the tenth year of Tianzheng (1582), the Honneng Temple Incident broke out. Nobunaga's eldest son, Nobunaga, set himself on fire at the Nijo Imperial Palace.
After the Battle of Sekihara, it was rebuilt when Ieyasu, who gained the world, met Toyotomi Hideyoshi in Kyoto. The Yuanli Palace Nijo Castle, which is listed as a world cultural heritage, was built under the order of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The main purpose of building the castle was to give Tokugawa clansmen and military commanders a place to rest when they visited Kyoto. The largest building complex in the city, the Ninomaru Palace, was completed in 1603. Then, the third-generation shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, expanded the city area of the city to its current size. In 1867, the 15th-generation shogun Tokugawa. Chuan Qingxi "returned the great policy" to the imperial court, and the ceremony of returning it was in the Ninomaru Palace of Nijo Castle.

▌ Nijo Castle Stone Monument and Todaemon Gate

There are a lot of people who come to Nijo Castle for sightseeing, because they have to buy tickets to enter, if they don't buy tickets in advance, they can only line up with everyone here. There are manual and automatic coin-operated machines on site to buy tickets. When I was queuing up to buy tickets, I heard that Nijo Castle is called "Your Uncle". Because Nijo Castle is pronounced Nijo-jo in Japanese, it is easy to become "Your Uncle" in Chinese.

▌ The Tang Gate of Nijo Castle

Tangmen is a gate that must pass before entering the Ninomaru Palace. It originated in the late Heian period. It was named after the Tang Dynasty architecture. The most obvious feature is the bow-shaped "Tang Pofeng" at the top. The roof of the Tangmen is not made of copper. tiles, but made of cypress bark.

On the door are carved cranes, pine, bamboo and plums representing longevity, as well as dragons, lions, tigers and other animals. It is said that it is to protect the palace and to show the public the power of a general.

In the entire Nijo City, only Tangmen and Ninomaru Palace have such exaggerated decorations. In addition to about half of Tangmen decorated with carved gold ornaments, there are also colorful wood carving decorations.

▌ Nijo Castle Ninomaru Palace

– Ninomaru Palace –

The Ninomaru Palace was first built by Tokugawa Ieyasu and added by Tokugawa Iemitsu. It is one of the samurai academy-style buildings representing the Momoyama era. The building is composed of Yuanshi Hall, Shitai Hall, Hall, Cycad Hall, Black Academy and White Academy, arranged in a geese pattern from southeast to northwest, with a total of 33 rooms.

In 1867, Tokugawa Keiki returned to the throne and returned the ruling power to the emperor. The existing Ninomaru Palace consists of six large academy-style buildings. The painting on the screen is from the handwriting of Kano. Fully expresses the essence of Momoyama's art including sculpture and metal utensil decoration

Ninomaru Palace - a place where famous painters of the Kano School such as Tanyou, Shanle, Shangxin, Changxin and other famous painters compete against each other. A group of Kano school painters headed by Kano Tanyou painted more than 1,000 murals here.

There is the unique chrysanthemum family crest of the Tokugawa family on the roof. AaforFUN always thinks this kind of family crest in Japan is super handsome

– Ninomaru Garden –

Ninomaru Garden, Honmaru Garden and Qingliu Garden are the three major gardens of Nijo Castle

Ninomaru Garden, built according to the traditional gardening method, has a Horai Island in the center of its pond. There are Crane Island and Turtle Island on the left and right. Chinese garden style design. It is also called "spring water swimming garden". Later, in order for the Emperor Gosuio to rest and enjoy the scenery while visiting Nijo Castle in 1626, a new palace was built on the south side of the pond, and the garden was also slightly modified.

– The fishing bell in the garden-

in the gardenbronze fishing bell, is used for warning and communication during the end of the period of war.

▌ Nijo Castle Honnomaru Palace

The Honmaru Palace was built by Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1626, but it was destroyed by a fire in 1788. What we see now is the relocation of the old Katsura Palace in the Kyoto Imperial Palace in 1893. The royal palace was completely preserved and was designated as such. It is an important cultural property. The Honmaru Garden on the south side was built in 1894, and the remains of the castle tower are located in the southwest corner of the Honmaru Garden.

The Honmaru Palace has been undergoing maintenance and renovation since 2017 and is currently closed to the public. It is expected to reopen the first floor after completion in 2023 for the general public to visit. If you plan to visit Nijo Castle in the future, it is recommended to check the official website first!

Nijo Castle was the residence of the Shogun in Kyoto. Inside, there are luxurious rooms filled with paintings gleaming with gold leaf. Pass through the huge, beautifully carved and ornately decorated front door, followed by a series of meeting rooms. The first hall reinforces the impression of the shogun's power with ornate paintings, frieze, and a ceiling adorned with flat paneling. The average person is not even allowed to walk into the first hall. The inner hall is for the reception of high-ranking officials, and the decoration here is more sophisticated and the cost is higher. To guard against acts of betrayal, the shogun installed "nightingale floors", which squeaked when slightly stepped on to warn of an intrusion. There was not a single tree in the beautiful garden at that time: the shoguns did not want to see the fallen leaves, and they did not want to be reminded of the death they would face.

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