Built in 17th century as the Kyoto residence of the famous shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, Nijo Castle is an expansive historic precinct in the heart of Kyoto. A registered World Heritage site, Nijo includes the inner ‘Honmaru’ (primary defences) and outer ‘Ninomaru’ (secondary defences) defined by their imposing stones walls and moats, more than twenty historic buildings and structures and landscaped gardens. As such, visitors to Nijo should allow at least a couple hours to explore the castle completely.
On the eastern side of the Ninomaru, Nijo’s ‘Ninomaru Palace’ is considered the finest remaining example of feudal era palace architecture in Japan. featuring 33 rooms across 5 buildings. Each room was designed by artists from the ‘Kano School’, elaborately decorated the rooms are a splendid in every regard.
Crossing over to bridge to the inner sanctuary of the castle, Honmaru Place is not regularly open to the public and sadly, the 5-storey that once stood here was destroyed by fire in the 18th century. Like many former castle grounds, much of this area is today populated by hundreds of cherry blossom trees, maples and gingkos making spring and autumn especially beautiful times of year to visit.
08:45 to 17:00 (last entry at 16:00)
Open daily (closed Dec,29-31 along with Tuesdays in Jan., Jul., Aug. & Dec.)
JPY800 + additional JPY500 for entry to Ninomaru Palace
From Kyoto Station, take the Karasuma Subway Line to Karasuma-Oike Station and transfer to the Tozai Line to Nijojo-mae Station - a journey of 15 minutes / JPY260. The station is immediately across from the castle. Alternatively, take the Kyoto City Bus No.9, 50 or 101 - 15 to 20 minutes / JPY230