Nijo Castle

Rain and scaffolding somewhat diminished our visit to Nijo Castle, the residence of the first Tokugawa shogun, Ieyasu. After an hour of walking in the drizzle (Google Maps made it seem much closer to Kyoto station than it was…) we found the main entrance closed and almost invisible beneath tarps and scaffolding and workers in hard hats. Followed the signs around the corner to the temporary entrance, paid our fee at the demountable ticket booth set up on the gravel path.

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The highlights for me were certainly the ornate painted screens, with some of the original panels preserved and others mounted in the attached museum, as well as the famous ‘nightingale floors’. We squeaked our way through the main building – down wide wooden hallways and past ostentatious, though now bare, state rooms – in rubber slippers. Unfortunately, no photos could be taken inside.

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The grounds and gardens were very beautiful but persistent rain kept us from lingering. You could imagine that it would be very beautiful in the spring – Nijo-jo is renowned as one of the best places in Kyoto to view the cherry blossoms. So, maybe I’ll be back!

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