A truly impressive fortified complex, Nijō Castle was built in 1603 as the official residence of the first Tokugawa shogun. With its moats, walls, secret passageways and hidden chambers, the heavily fortified castle stands as a defiant symbol of the shogun's power.
Entered through an elaborate main gate, the castle complex includes two palaces, Ninomaru and Honmaru. Only Ninomaru is generally open to visitors.
A visit to Ninomaru Palace reveals spectacular artworks, including painted screens and intricate gold leaf ceilings. Known as 'nightingale' floors, the squeaking floorboards were designed to alert the shogun’s bodyguards to the presence of intruders.
Review by pola, April 2013
Doing what: Kyoto Full-Day Sightseeing Tour including Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu Temple
Kyoto has a lot of very interesting and beautiful places to see. This full day tour may not cover all of them but it includes most of the must-see places. Lunch is included which is just ok. Our tour guide for the afternoon tour, Yuki, was very knowledgeable and fluent in English. My only complaint is that we were all in a rush especially the morning tour, and it seemed that we didn't have enough time to take in the beauty of the places we've been to. One family who was part of our tour group was left behind in the Golden Pavilion and had to take the taxi to rejoin the group in the Imperial Palace. The pacing of the afternoon tour was better, we even had time to buy some souvenirs in the shops near the Kyomizu Temple.
Review by Beverley R, Australia, April 2013
Doing what: Kyoto Morning Tour - Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle
Tour guides are almost as important as tour itineraries, and we were very lucky on this tour to have 'Casey' as guide. His commentary on the three wonderful sites we visited was not just informative but enlivened with a gentle humour and the addition of fascinating snippets of historical and contemporary detail.
The organisation of the tour was efficient, and overall it provided an excellent introduction to Kyoto and its treasures and pleasures.
Review by Agnelo C D, April 2013
Doing what: Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle
Kyoto and Nara are beautiful places, worth a visit. Nara , a peaceful park full of Deers and lovely gardens too. Lunch was also well served and delicious. We even had enough time to have a coffee and sweets. Well organised and excellent guide.
Nijō Castle is in the southwest of the city. The closest train station is Nijo-jo-mae, on the Tozai line.
The traditional palace gardens provide a tranquil retreat for a stroll. Designed by a tea master, they offer seasonal photo opportunities of camellias, blossoms, azaleas, maples, water and rock gardens.