Nijo Castle

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Why the
Nijo Castle
is special

This Kyoto complex is historically significant. Powerful shoguns lived and ruled Japan from within it.

Nijo Castle
tips and insights


The castle was initiated in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu (he unified Japan and founded the famous Tokugawa Shogunate). It was finished in 1626 by his shogun grandson.


Nijo Castle's inner citadel is surrounded by a wall-and-moat sytem which in turn is surrounded by another wall-and-moat construction.

Ninomaru Palace

Of the castle's many components, the Ninomaru Palace is the most interesting tourism attraction.

Artistic glories

The picturesque Karamon Gate is an architectural masterpiece. And leading artists painted magnificent wall murals and created intricate carvings.

Waiting rooms

Many existed. The visitor's social status determined which one was used.

Security measures

Some floors were intentionally made to squeak like a bird when walked upon. These so-called "nightingale floors" helped give warning of ninja assassins and other intruders. Moreover, only female attendants were allowed in the living quarters.

Earthquake risk

The Kyoto government recently warned that a major earthquake could collapse or severely damage parts of Nijo Castle. Structural reinforcements are planned.

Location in Japan

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