Nijo-jo Castle is one of Kyoto’s most popular and impressive sights. It shows the power that the Shoguns wielded over the emperors throughout the Edo Period
With huge stone walls surrounded by deep moats, Nijo-jo Castle graphically demonstrates the power that the Shoguns (military warlords) wielded over Japan for much of its history. Unlike the more famous Himeji-jo Castle in Himeji, which soars skyward, somewhat in the manner of European castles, Nijo-jo Castle is characterized by low but nonetheless imposing and grand structures, all of which are surrounded by gorgeous gardens. You can enter the Ninomaru Palace, which is famous for its “nightingale floors” (squeaky floors that would alert occupants to the presence of intruders). The decorative panels and carvings here – almost rococo in their flamboyance – reflect the enormous power and attitudes of the warlords who occupied the castle. After touring the Ninomaru Palace, take a leisurely stroll through the wonderful Seiryu-en Garden, which surrounds the buildings of the castle. The only downside to this wonderful complex is that it’s on everyone’s “must-see” list, and it’s often packed with hoards bus tourists and Japanese school students out on school excursions. Try to beat the crowds by going just after opening.
541 Nijojo-cho, Nijo-dori, Horikawa Nishi iru, Nakagyo-ku
8.45am-5pm, last entry 4pm
Closed Tuesdays in December, January, July, August, and December 26 – January 4
High & junior high school students: 350
Elementary school students: 200
Non-smoking area: Yes
5min walk from Nijojo-mae Station, Tozai subway line
See hotels near to Nijo-jo Castle on Agoda.com
Official website (English)
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Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
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