Kyoto’s Nijo Castle – Incredible Architecture Designed for War
Japan has been known as a castle country. It refers to the number of castles across this country that is basically quite a lot. Among the most popular castles, Nijo Castle in the center of Kyoto is regularly visited by a lot of local and international tourists every year. This is among the most original castles in Japan that give a glimpse of life during the Shogun era. Despite of being not fully rebuilt, this castle gives a clear glimpse about how outstanding the old castle was. The castle is built in Nijo-jo style that can be characterized by its extensive reception areas and also more private rooms.
Nijo Castle Design and Decorations
What makes this castle an attractive tourism spot is its design and decorations. Nijo Castle has just been rebuilt but it still has its original design. This castle simply represents the taste of Ieyasu for symbolic and opulent castle. Made by one of the Japan’s greatest artist in history that was graduated from Kano school, Nijo has made with sliding doors displaying the images that symbolize the New Tokugawa’s regime grandeur and power and also made with beautiful painted screen. The images include the images of pine trees that are known for their strength and longevity and other images of leopards and its prey, ferocious tigers, cherry blossoms and gracious peacocks.
Among the most breathtaking features of this castle is its layout. As a castle that was used to defend against the enemy, Nijo castle is surrounded by numerous stone walls with moat and turrets at the corner. The original layout didn’t involve any trees on the yard so the trees that you see today are actually recent addition. When you come to this castle in spring, you will see cherry blossom and plum.
To enter the castle, you have to go through Otemon the East Gate and the Shiyakumon or Karamon gate. The gate is beautifully decorated and was once a part of the Fushimi castle that was belong to Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Once you pass the gate, spacious yard filled with pine trees will welcome you. Entering further into the castle, you will see beautiful garden and lake that was created by Kobori Enshu, one of the most skilled landscape gardener and tea master in Japan.
Here is the unique thing about Nijo Castle; you are not allowed to enter the Ninomaru palace with shoes on. Therefore, you have to remove the shoes first before you enter it. And, you are also not allowed to take pictures inside the palace. This rule may be a bit inconvenience to you but this will not be something that discourages you from coming into this palace.
Nijo Castle Location
Specifically, this castle is located near the Kyoto Imperial Garden. It is open every day from 8.45 AM to 5 PM while its last entrance is at 4.00 PM. To get to this place, you can use public transportation like Tokaido Shinkansen or Raku Bus 101. Even though you don’t speak Japanese, but this will not be an issue for you.
Pictures of Nijo Castle