Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle © Iry

Nijo Castle

The Edo era shogunate founder Ieyasu Tokugawa ordered a stronghold in Kyoto of which the construction started in 1601, and was completed in 1603. Following that, the stronghold was commonly used for war councils and ceremonies. In 1626 an outer citadel was constructed as an expansion of the castle, and was near the very scale it exists today. It exists in the heart of Kyoto at about 500m east to west and 400m north to south.

After 1626 some buildings were destroyed by lightning and/or fire. The inner palace was rebuilt but the castle tower was not rebuilt after it was destroyed by lightning in 1750. Some people may think it's unusual for a castle not to have a tower, but there was indeed a fantastic 5-layer castle tower at one point.

During the mid-Edo period the shogunate had begun to decline, and so the shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu performed "Taiseihokan" in Nijo Castle, relinquishing rulership to the emperor. Strangely enough, Nijo Castle is where the Edo shogunate's glory began and also where the curtain fell on its rule. In the Meiji era (from 1868 ~ onward) the castle fell under the management of Kyoto Prefecture and as with numerous other historical buildings it is protected. In 1994 UNESCO registered it as a World Heritage Site. It is one of Kyoto's premier tourist destinations.

Ninomaru Palace

A national treasure, it is said to be respresentative of traditional architecture from the Edo era. There are wall paintings everywhere (over 3000), so everywhere you look you will find gorgeous wall paintings in the building. There are works from the Edo era painter Kano Tanyu and his disciples here. One of the striking features of the palace are the "nightingale floors", which squeak like birds when walked upon (used to prevent sneak attacks by intruders). The inner palace is private and currently not open to the public.


Inside the castle are the Ninomaru Gardens, the Honmaru gardens, and the Seiryu Gardens. The flowers bloom in all 4 seasons for your enjoyment at any season, but most the enjoyable moment is when the cherry blossoms are in bloom and are lit up at night.


On the Tozai Line subway get off at Nijo Castle-mae station. (二条城前駅). The city bus also goes straight to the castle.

Image Gallery: Nijo Castle

Description: Nijo Castle

Sights Nijo Castle (二条城)
Address 604-8301, 541 Nijojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Phone / Fax Phone: 075-841-0096 / Fax: 075-802-6181
Duration 1Hour(s)
Business Hours Monday:08:45-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Tuesday:08:45-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Wednesday:08:45-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Thursday:08:45-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Friday:08:45-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Saturday:08:45-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Sunday:08:45-17:00 (Last entry by: 16:00)
Closed dates Specific dates NEW YEAR'S HOLIDAY
Admission Fee Pay admission: 600yen
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
Recommended target Family Groups Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller

Map: Nijo Castle