Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 Nov: Kyoto: Nijo Castle

Still dark outside, we left the hotel few minutes after 6 in the morning.  We were able to reach Osaka station before the schedule.  However, there were several trains that got delayed.  Upon reaching Kyoto station, we were on running to reach Miyako Hotel, which is the pick-up point of our one-day guided tour. 

Nijō Castle (二条城 Nijō-jō)
541 Nijojo-cho, Nijo-dori Horikawa-nishi-iru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

The castle was originally built in 1603 as the official Kyoto residence of the first Tokugawa Shogun, Ieyasu.  Nijo Castle is one of the finest examples of early Edo period and Momoyama culture in Japan.

Ninomaru Palace, characterized by the elegant, yet simple shoin-zukuri architectural style, which was favored by the warrior class.  It includes waiting rooms, reception rooms, four grand rooms, and inner audience chambers.

Rules: Any visitor should take-off their shoes and photography is not allowed inside the palace.

Insider notes shared by our guide: 
  • While walking, there are parts that of the palace that produce squeaks (short high-pitched sounds), these are the public areas, it is an alarm system to anyone that someone will arrive of somebody might try to assault.  As for the area that do not have noise, those are the private/secured area where only trusted people can enter.

  • Would you know the reason why the feudal lords are wearing long trousers?  So that if someone attack the emperor other feudal lords can immediately stepped on the clothes and he’ll not be able to reach the emperor.

  • What makes Japanese garden unique?  Compared to other garden which has multi-colorful flowers, Japanese garden has 3 elements - rocks, water and variety of trees - that bring serenity in the soul.