Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Nijo Castle in Kyoto, Japan

Day 6 in Nara: New Miyako Hotel, A review - Heian Jingu Shrine and Garden - Nanzenji Temple and grounds - NIJO CASTLE - Golden Pavilion Temple

Apart from the many temples and shrines, if there is one castle that you must visit in Kyoto, it's the Nijo castle. A UNESCO world heritage site today, the castle originally dates back to the year 1603 (rebuilt in 1628) when it was built by the infamous Tokugawa shogunate (head of the feudal military government during the Edo period).

Main entrance to the Nijo Castle in Kyoto, Japan
The main entrance to the Nijo castle

The castle stood guard to the nearby Kyoto Imperial palace and served as a residence for the shoguns to stay when they visited Kyoto.

Ninomaru Palace and Garden

Two gates at the entrance – the Ninomaru Higashi-otemon and the Ninomaru-goten Karamon lead you to the spacious grounds of the Nijo castle. Here, as a living testimony to an era gone by, stands the Ninomaru palace.


Entrance to the Ninomaru Palace - Nijo Castle in Kyoto, Japan
Entrance to the Ninomaru Palace - Nijo Castle in Kyoto, Japan
The Ninomaru palace and grounds

A walking tour through the palace leaves you fascinated as you pass through a number of rooms, each containing decorative paintings and life-size figurines depicting the life and living of the shoguns as it was during the 16th century. Not only the room but the floors known as 'the Nightingale floors' are equally mesmerizing too as they let out a squeal when you walk on them – an efficient safety alarm that the feudal lords and military chiefs created to protect them against treachery and assassination attempts.

Adjacent to the Ninomoru palace is the extensive and beautifully landscaped Japanese garden called the Ninomaru Teien with rocks, stones, trees, flowers, fishes, waterfalls and of course, a lot of tranquility.

Ninomaru Garden, Nijo Castle in Kyoto, Japan
Landscape of the Ninomaru Garden, Nijo Castle in Kyoto, Japan
The pond in the Ninomaru Garden, Nijo Castle in Kyoto, Japan
Ninomaru garden

Honmaru Palace – Inner-Inner Nijo Castle Grounds

Cross a bridge, walk across a moat and one comes across the inner and the main circle of defense housing the Honmaru palace and grounds.

Inner moat,  Nijo Castle in Kyoto, Japan
Inner moat seperating the Ninomoru and the Honmaru sections of the castle

One of the best ways to view this ground dotted with Japanese-style palatial buildings and scenic gardens is by climbing an elevated terrace in the grounds.

Honmaru Palace view - Nijo Castle in Kyoto, Japan
Honmaru grounds view from an elevated terrace

Alternatively, one can also walk across the winding trails of the surrounding gardens and get a feel of the area.

Honmaru garden - Nijo Castle in Kyoto, Japan
Walking along the Honmaru trail

Note: The Honmaru palace remains closed for the common public barring some special days.

How to reach

Timings: 8:45 to 16:00
Admission fees: 600 yen
Access: Nijo castle is close to Kyoto station. You can take the local bus (a day bus costing around 500 yen is a great way of getting around in Kyoto). Alternatively you can take the subway to the Nijojo-mae Station.

Previous Posts from the Japan Trip -

1. Planning for Japan: Visa, Flight Bookings, Hotel Reservations, etc.
2. Sunrise pictures from the flight to Japan
3. Entire Day 1 of Japan (includes Review of Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi, Tokyo, Expedia Japan Office Meet: An Afternoon to Remember)
4. Entire Day 2 of Japan (includes SensoJi temple: Asakusa - Tokyo, Nakamise Dori Shopping Arcade in Tokyo, Sumida River Cruise, Tokyo, A Stroll in the Hibiya Gardens, Imperial Palace and East Gardens, The Tokyo Tower, Japan)
8. Where to stay in Kyoto: New Miyako Hotel
9. Heian Jingu Shrine and Garden, Kyoto


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67 comments:

  1. Wonderful castle!!!
    These trips my dear friend Arti, is life journey!
    As I read about the shogun, like seeing movie!
    I'm delighted for you!
    Thank you very much for the interesting tour!
    A hug and lots of kisses

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  2. This looks like the most peaceful place ever!!!

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  3. I live about 5 miles to a Japanese Garden, and go there a lot where I could feel the peace and tranquility. Stone pathways are one of the best sites.

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  4. Wow,what a place .Loving my virtual tour of Japan .

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  5. Arti...Enjoyed the walk around the Honmaru gardens..and the views of the castle grounds from the terrace look awesome. Even the rocks look so clean...
    Beautiful post, as always!

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  6. Once again a wonderful post, I love the picture of the fish ..... they are koi carp aren't they?

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    Replies
    1. Not sure about koi carp, Tracy but I googled to find out more and they do look similar. I'm sure someone here might be able to answer that better.

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  7. Hi Arti,

    The Castle looks magnificent and I love the grounds with all the green trees and carp pond.
    The gardens really do look so tranquil and thanks for showing us.

    Happy week
    Carolyn

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  8. I wen to Nijyo castle when I was a student I remembered it thanks to your beautiful photos :)

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  9. Everything looks so perfect. The architecture and the weather.

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  10. Arti, you saw and experienced so many different landscapes and architecture while in Japan. I've enjoyed traveling with you! My good friend, Sue, is now in your country - in Northern India. She sends me photos each day of the sights she's seeing. They traveled in snow in the Himalayas yesterday.

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  11. Nice pics as always Arti. I found the alarm concept of 'the Nightingale floors' very interesting! The concept hasnt changed since ages, its just that we have moved towards an electronic system now-a-days!

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  12. How very beautiful and so peaceful!

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  13. Wow! The place looks so beautiful and calm. Nice post on it.

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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  14. I’m recalling with you, Arti, not only the places we visited but also the distance of our walking. We walked a lot that day, but I didn’t feel tired at all. I wonder what magic was contained in our tour. All your photos are fabulous!

    Yoko

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  15. Beautiful pictures Arti... even at the cost of repetetion I must say everything looks so calm, serene and neat and clean...

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  16. Fascinating information, and such a site to see! I love the fact that you get to experience so many different parts of the world and chronicle them with beautiful photos.

    (Thanks for the kind comment on my mom's situation!)

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  17. Nice pictures of everything, cheers Arti.

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  18. It is not surprising to see the koi fish pond, here. smiles. We have a Ninjo castle in town, but it is the name of a restaurant. I would love to see this place.

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  19. The palaces and gardens are beautiful. You saw quite a bit of Japan on this trip.

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  20. @Arti, Awesome Post and wonderful photographs.Thank you so much for sharing.

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  21. I love your photos of the castle!! I have visited this place a few times. The beauty of the gardens fascinated me, and the number of rooms amazed me. I want to visit this castle and enjoy tranquil atmosphere again.
    Have a great week.
    keiko

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  22. Ah, those traditional roofs make these buildings so attractive. I'd like some nightingale floors :) What a great idea!

    Are cameras allowed inside the castle?

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    Replies
    1. Great idea indeed, quite novel too! Unfortunately, clicking pictures isn't allowed inside the castle :)

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  23. Those places in post work like a magnet through your posts Arti:)

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  24. Beautiful pictures and very well written...

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  25. I do love those carp / goldfish!

    The gardens look great.

    Cheers

    Stewart M - Melbourne

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  26. I too like hose roofs!
    Great captures from the place.

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  27. Love the garden. It gives a feeling of tranquility!

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  28. Love the architectural details of the castle! They fit so beautifully with the surrounding nature. And you are absolutely right -- the views from the terrace are spectacular! Ahh, lucky you to witness so much beauty. :)

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  29. The place is huge and very tranquil for a tourist place.

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  30. There are many device like a "nightingale floor" in a castle. We adopted a "nightingale aisle" in my house. We put many colored shingles on a small aisle in my garden. When even a cat walks on it, we can hear sounds shingles hit each other.
    Have a nice weekend!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing sarah, that is very interesting. We don't get to see such a concept in India.

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  31. It looks like a fantastic castle. But so I hear that all of Kyoto is quite special. Unfortunately I still haven't been able to visit the city, but I hope one day I will. Thanks for taking me along.

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  32. oh wow, I so love the landscape of the Japanese garden, it brings so much peace and inspiration Arti. Have a happy weekend.

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  33. ♪♫º♫♫º
    Olá, amigo!

    Lindas fotos, ótima reportagem, boas dicas de viagem.


    ღ°Bom fim de semana! ♪♫º
    ♪♫♫º Beijinhos.
    ♪♫º Brasil.♪♫♫º
    ♫♪•.

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  34. Enjoyed the castle and the garden. I wonder how you remembered the names and even if noted down, how you could have related to them. Incidentally during the month I played host to a Japanese Couple at Bhopal. Right now I am at Chennai.

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  35. I so loved that Garden. Man, what a place. As you say, it will automatically bring even the most disturbed minds to a state of tranquility :-) How I wish I got a chance to be in such a picturesque place :-)

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  36. Everything seems so calm and peaceful and serene.... and beautiful.

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  37. Hi! Did you enjoy this castle? I like this castle very much. The garden is beautiful too.

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely, I enjoyed the place very much just like you do.

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  38. Allow me to nominate you for the following award...
    Liebster

    For details, please log on to:

    Dear friend, allow me to nominate you for this award - Liebster Award... please have a look at the following link:

    http://matheikal.blogspot.in/2013/02/awards-and-their-joy.html


    And hats off to the great work you do with your blog.

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  39. Thank you for the lovely virtual tour!!

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  40. Majestic castle and lovely pictures of it, Arti. Good post!

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  41. Dear Arti, i'd really like to visit there too - so peaceful and pretty! It snows here ... Am sending you sunshine for a happy day, although maybe you'd prefer some snow?

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  42. wow!!! so wonderful!!!
    thank you for sharing!! im your new follower!!! see yah!!!

    The Girl with the Muji Hat

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  43. I just love the trees surrounding the water -- beautiful!

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  44. beautiful place...

    beautiful photos and nice write up

    thanks

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  45. A walk in a wonderful park through your site. I enjoyed the sceneries, Arti. Awesome place.

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  46. wowwwwww
    http://eyeswantstosee.blogspot.com/

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  47. Looks like a great place and the garden is so scenic...

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  48. Beautiful shots of the place, very picturesque.

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  49. Good article. I have seen that Nijo Castle in Kyoto, Japan .
    Kyoto is good place to visit
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6fDu-WeMA4

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  50. So this is how the Japanese castles look like. So far I had seen them only in video games :)

    The landscape gardens are so beautiful! :)

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  51. Very well written post and equally supported by awesome pics !wish pic size should be more :-)

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  52. Have not been to japan yet but your post makes it so inviting .. have bookmarked this page , quite useful one to plan a trip to Japna ... Sayo nara for now ;) :)

    http://thetalesofatraveler.com/2015/06/15/chinese-new-year-open-house-2015-perak/

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  53. Loved the write-up Arti. Very informative, plus the photos are beautiful.
    http://www.frommywindowseat.com

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  54. Got the feel of the place through your blog...Thanks

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  55. Looks like a great place that i would like to explore, should i ever visit Japan :)

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