Nijo Castle (二条城)

Monday, 29 January 2018

On our third day in Japan, we started off our itinerary by visiting Nijo Castle (二条城), a castle built in 1603 as the residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川 家康), the first shogun of the Edo period (1603-1868). Although the central castle was burned down in 1750, many of the buildings have been restored and retained over the centuries. In 1994, Nijo Castle was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is now one of Kyoto's main tourist attractions.

Entry into the castle costs ¥600, and tickets can be purchased just outside the grounds towards the right. Once we passed through the main gate and then Chinese style Karamon Gate (唐門), we quickly reached the castle's main attraction, Ninomaru Palace (二の丸御殿) pictured above. We didn't go inside, but the palace is open to the public.

After passing the second circle of defense, we eventually made it to the inner/main circle of defense, which houses imperial residence from the Katsura Imperial Palace, now known as Honmaru Palace (本丸御殿). The palace is not regularly open to the public, but we could still walk around the gardens and climb up the stone foundation of the former castle—giving us 360 degree view of Nijo Castle and beyond.

I absolutely love the simplicity of the layout of Nijo Castle—particularly the two moats that surround and protect the castle's interiors. And luckily for us, autumn came early in 2017 :) Look at those colours!

While I wasn't too impressed with the architecture of the palaces, I enjoyed the stroll through the castle very much. There wasn't a lot of people while we went and the weather was just perfect.

Nijo Castle (二条城)
541 Nijojo-cho, Horikawa Nishi-iru, Nijo-dori, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto 604-8301
604-8301 京都市 中京区 二条通 堀川西入二条城町541

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