The gorgeous style of this castle was intended as a demonstration of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616)'s prestige.
Nijo-jo Castle was the residence of the Tokugawa shoguns in Kyoto, who had been ruling Japan for over 260 years from 1603 to 1868, and it remains an eloquent testimony to their power. The wide moat, massive stone walls, and heavy yet elaborate gates are still impressive, and were the only fortifications the inhabitants felt necessary, so firm was their grip on power. The grounds are large and contain several lovely gardens as well as groves of plum and cherry trees. The palace building itself is imposing, yet upon closer examination, is rich in decorative detail.
Inside the palace are several masterpieces of Japanese art, most notably the painted screens of the main chamber. In this room the shoguns met the daimyo (high-ranking warlord-administrators) who sought an audience. The screens were painted by artists of the Kano school and employ rich colors and large amounts of gilt to depict flowers, trees, birds and tigers. They were meant to impress. Also in the palace are the famous "nightingale floors," which were designed to squeak when steped on and thus alert guards to any intruders.
- 541 Nijo-jo-cho, Horikawa-nishi-iru, Nijo-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City
Access: A short walk from City Bus Stop Nijo-jo-mae (from JR Kyoto Station/Hankyu Railway Karasuma Station), or Nijo-jo-mae Station on the Tozai Subway Line
Parking: 30 buses: 2500 yen/ 2 hours, 216 cars: 600 yen / 2 hours
Hours: 8:45-16:00 closing at 17:00
Closed: 12/26-1/4 and Tuesdays (Jul. Aug. Dec. Jan.) (If the Tuesday is a holiday, the castle closes the following day.)
Entrance Fees: Adults: 620 yen (with entrance to Ninomaru Palace: 1,030 yen) /Junior High and High School Students: 350 yen / Elementary School Students: 200 yen
While you’re there, join the Nijo-jo Castle Official English Guided Tour!