A Visit To Kyoto’s Nijo Castle

by wired2theworld on July 4, 2011

Post image for A Visit To Kyoto’s Nijo Castle

After our morning filled with food, we finally make it onto the subway and exit across the street from Nijo Castle where we’d attempted to walk to the day before in driving wind and rain.

Tip: we bought a 600 yen subway day pass. This is a good value because the least expensive trip is 210 yen so anything after 3 rides in a day is bonus.

Nijo castle is surrounded by high walls and betrays little of what lays inside. The castle complex was built by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in the late 16th century. Like most of the ancient structures we’ve seen, this is a series of wooden buildings set on elevated platforms connected by covered halls and walkways.

Inside, everything is serene and there are extensive gardens.  The cherry blossoms are still in bloom here. The main buildings which were used for living and political functions are filled with beautiful murals as well as some odd life-size model reproductions of the shogun and his “people.”

Outside Nijo Castle, Kyoto

Outside Nijo Castle, Kyoto

Bell Top at Nijo castle

Top of large brass bell.

Nijo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

Nijo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

Nijo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

Nijo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

 
After touring the living and administrative quarters of the shogun, we are approached by a group of school kids on a tour. They are from a town in the Southern part of the country and ask if they can interview us. They read questions to us from a sheet of paper, asking us how we like Japan, where we’ve traveled and when they find out David is a teacher they’re thrilled. We wish them well, tell them to keep practicing, and move on into the gardens.
School Kids at Nijo Castle, Kyoto, Japan
School Kids at Nijo Castle, Kyoto, Japan
The gardens surrounding the castle are quite extensive, and include a very serene small lake and many pathways lined with cherry trees which are still filled with blossoms.
Lake at Nijo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

Lake at Nijo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

 
Scenes from within Nijo Castle Park

Scenes from within Nijo Castle Park

Looking over Nijo Castle

Looking over Nijo Castle

Nijo Caste Park

Scenes from within Nijo Castle Park

Cherry Blossom trees Nijo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

Cherry Blossom trees Nijo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

Cherry Blossom trees Nijo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

We wander through the gardens after touring the palace, and I’m now wishing I’d bought lunch in the depachica as there are places to sit along the way. Instead, we find ourselves outside the palace after lunchtime with no idea of where to go for something good to eat. Searching bento.com using my phone and the MiFi unfortunately yields nothing of interest in the immediate neighborhood.

Kyoto Subway
Kyoto Subway

We get back on the subway and then off again at one of the larger stations to see if we could find something inside the station. Unfortunately, this turns out to be an error in judgement and a waste of time. In the end, we buy a few sandwiches and some Crispy Creme donuts from shops inside the station (after wandering for 20 minutes in search of something better) and take them back to the hotel. While the egg salad sandwiches are actually pretty good, I am kicking myself for not getting something at the Daimaru Depachicka with all its beautiful offerings.

Egg Salad, Fried Pork, & Tomato-Cucumber Sandwiches

Egg Salad, Fried Pork, & Tomato-Cucumber Sandwiches

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kent @NVR July 4, 2011 at 8:03 am

30+ beautiful pictures with one post. What a treat. The gardens are gorgeous. Love the rocks.
Kent @NVR recently posted..How To Be Disruptive in Life and Work

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2 wired2theworld July 4, 2011 at 8:15 am

Yes, it was hard to narrow it down when we have so many pictures between the two of us. Those gardens were just so serene, I loved them.

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3 walkingontravels July 4, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I am so jealous you got to see the cherry blossoms in bloom at Nijo Castle. They were long gone by the time we got there. It definitely changes the terrain. So much more colorful. Not that I am complaining. We had loads of green and brilliant blue skies. Thanks for sharing so many beautiful photos that continue to remind me how gorgeous it is there and how much we really need to go back.
walkingontravels recently posted..Skipping the Royal Treatment in Kyoto

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4 wired2theworld July 4, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Yes, but it was cold and cloudy when we were there. It’s always a trade off, isn’t it? I’m pleased we got to see the blossoms but I could have used a little more sunshine. :-)

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5 Dave from The Longest Way Home July 5, 2011 at 1:59 am

again some great blossom photos, but It’s the lake photos I really like the most. From pink hair previously to the peace & tranquility of this place. Bravo for showing so many sides to Japan!
Dave from The Longest Way Home recently posted..Scams in Bangkok: smiling Thais & dumb tourists

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6 Angela July 7, 2011 at 12:58 am

Very nice castle, the gardening style reminds me a lot of Chinese gardening, here too they use a lot of rocks in their natural shape.
Angela recently posted..Photo Essay: Moments from an Indian wedding

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7 David and Helen July 18, 2011 at 11:23 am

Great post, brought back some awesome memories of Japan when we visited last year. Keep exploring x
David and Helen recently posted..Competition: July 2011

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8 Sara @ Walking Tours Rome July 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

Those cherry blossom trees are breathtaking – I’ve never seen them in so many different colors all right next to one another like that. Your photos are amazing – do you mind if I ask what type of camera you use?

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9 wired2theworld July 21, 2011 at 11:43 am

Hi Sara!
Thank you for the compliment. I use a Nikon D5000 DSLR and my husband David uses a Nikon D40x DSLR.

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10 Luke July 24, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Hi! Nice photos ! I see one of the kids is wearing a mask. Was he ill ? Or it just his choice ?

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11 wired2theworld July 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm

We were there in the spring and from what we were told about 1/3 of all Japanese suffer from allergies to pollen. A lot of people wear masks at that time of year. They also wear masks when they are sick so as not to infect others.

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