Nijō-jō Castle was built in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu who intended it as his official residence in Kyōto. His grandson Iemitsu added some structure from Fushimi-jō Castle in 1623.
Its ostentatious Momoyama style was meant for the shōgun to supersede the emperor in prestige.
The Ninomaru Palace (lit. "secondary palace") is divided into five buildings occupying a land area of 7,300 m2 (78,500 sq.ft.). These are further partitioned in 33 chambers.
In the Edo period, rank determined who could access the various chambers, the innermost being restricted to the highest dignitaries. The Fourth Chamber (Ohiroma Yon-no-ma) is reputed for its sumptuous wall paintings.
Ieyasu installed "nightingale floors" to prevent undesirable intrusions. These floors were designed so that the flooring nails rubbed against a jacket or clamp, causing chirping noises, assuring that no one could sneak through the corridors undetected.
Tokugawa Iemitsu constructed the adjoining Honmaru Palace ("main palace"), but it burnt to the ground in the 18th century and the present building is a 1893 reconstruction.
Also note the large Kara-mon Gate and the Seiryū-en Garden designed by Kobori Enshū (1579-1647).
Opening Hours & Admission
The castle is open from 8:45 am to 4:00 pm. Admission to grounds is free, but entry to the Ninomaru palace and gardens costs ￥500.
How to get there
Nijō-jō's entrance is on Horikawa-dōri Avenue, between Marutamachi and Ōike Avenues.
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