Local map

Places of interest in the vicinity

Nijo-jo castle

In the middle of the City, surrounded by a moat and enclosed by stone walls is Nijo-jo castle that is one of 17 World Cultural Heritage sites of Kyoto.

Primary attractions of Nijo-jo castle would be Ninomaru-Goten and gardens. Ninomaru-Goten, a national treasure, is a typical Buke-Fu Shoin-Zukuri (the shoin style of traditional residential architecture) of Azuchi-Momoyama era (1568-1603). The architecture itself and shoheki-ga paintings in it are worth to see. Shoheki-ga were painted by Kano Tanyu and his company. Photography is prohibited in the building so that no photos are displayed in this page.

Ninomaru teien has a magnificent characteristic peculiar to garden design in the early days of Edo era (1603-1867). The chisen-kaiyu-shiki teien has three islands, four stone bridges and many large stones.

History of Nijo-jo

Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616) gained a decisive victory at the battle of Sekigahara in 1600. In the next year he ordered feudal lords in western Japan to build Nijo-jo as the place to stay when he visited Kyoto. The construction (present day Ninomaru part) was completed in 1603, the same year when Ieyasu opened a Shogunate government in Edo (present day Tokyo).

The castle was expanded to the present day scale by the order of the third Tokugawa Shogun Iemitsu in 1626. In the year 1634, Iemitsu visited Nijo-jo with an army three hundred thousand strong. After this, no Shogun visited Kyoto until the 14th Shogun Iemochi's visit in 1863.

In the year 1750, the castle tower was reduced to ashes by fire of lightening and in 1788, the buildings of Honmaru was burned down by the great fire in the city.

The last Tokugawa Shogun Yoshinobu announced the Restoration of the Imperial Rule in this castle in 1867.

How to get to Nijo-jo

15 minutes by Kyoto City Bus No 9 or 50 from Kyoto Station to Nijo-jo-mae

15 minutes, including transfer, from Kyoto Station to Karasuma-Oike station by subway Karasuma line then to Nijo-jo-mae station by subway Tozai line, then one minute on foot

Hours and Admission Fee

Open except following days from 8:45 to 17:00 (reception will be closed at 16:00):

December 26-January
Every Tuesday in January, July, August and December (if national holiday, next day)

All except following: 600 yen
Junior high school students (7th - 9th graders) and high school students: 350 yen
Elementary school students (1st - 6th graders): 200 yen
Children under school age: free

Photos / Pictures

Click on a photo for a larger image.

Higashi-Ote-Mon Kara-Mon Ninomaru Goten
Higashi-Ote-mon, the entrance to Nijo-jo castle. An important cultural property.
May 26, 2001
Kara-mon, an important cultural property.
May 26, 2001
Ninomaru-Goten, a national treasure.
January 17, 2009
Side view of Ninomaru Goten Ninomaru Teien 01 Ninomaru Teien 02
Side view of Ninomaru-Goten.
January 17, 2009
Ninomaru teien. It is presumed that this garden was laid out when the castle was built in 1603, then modified by Kobori Enshu or his disciples around 20 years later.
January 17, 2009
One of four stone bridges of Ninomaru Teien.
May 26, 2001
Stone bridge of Ninomaru Teien Ninomaru Teien 03 A waterfall of Ninomaru Teien
A close-up view of a stone bridge in Ninomaru Teien. Abutments are made of cut stones that are not frequently used in a Japanese garden.
January 17, 2009
Horai-jima island on the left and Kame-jima (turtle island) on the right in Ninomaru Teien.
May 26, 2001
A waterfall of Ninomaru Teien
May 26, 2001
A close up view of the waterfall Kame-jima island and stone bridges East bridge over inner moat and Romon gate
A close up view of the waterfall in Ninomaru Teien.
January 17, 2009
Kame-jima island and stone bridges in Ninomaru Teien.
January 17, 2009
Higashi-bashi (east bridge) over inner moat and Romon gate.
May 26, 2001
Romon gate looked from Honmaru Honmaru-Goten Ishidoro in Honmaru Teien
Romon gate looked from Honmaru.
May 26, 2001
Honmaru-Goten and Honmaru Teien garden. Simply built Honmaru-Goten used to be a house of Katsura-no-Miya family which was moved from Kyoto Gosho and reconstructed here. The garden was laid out under strong influence of the Western garden design by the order of Emperor Meiji in 1896.
May 26, 2001
Ishidoro in Honmaru Teien.
May 26, 2001
The castle tower pedestal A stone wall and a bough of a pine tree Western part of Seiryu-en garden
The castle tower pedestal. The castle tower was lost by fire of lightning in 1750.
May 26, 2001
Ishigaki, a stone wall of the castle tower pedestal and a bough of a pine tree.
May 26, 2001
Western part of Seiryu-en garden that was laid out in 1965. Seiryu-en consists of this Japanese garden and a Westernized garden.
August 24, 2003
Koun-tei in the middle of Seiryu-en Eastern part of Seiryu-en Eastern part of Seiryu-en 2
Koun-tei in the middle of Seiryu-en. It was around 4:30 p.m. and a woman was closing the sliding storm shutters.
January 17, 2009
Eastern part of Seiryu-en garden, that was designed under influence of Western garden design.
May 26, 2001
Seiryu-en. On the right are Kitayama-sugi cedar trees.
May 26, 2001