Saturday, May 29, 2010


I went to Nijo Castle with Bethany on our free time on Friday and it was absolutely stunning. We has to walk the complete length of it to get to the front gate to be able to cross the FIRST mote surrounding the castle. This castle was so important it has two motes for protection.
After walking through the front gate two tour guides asked us if they could give us a free tour so that they could practice. We were surprised but very grateful for the offer. I knew we would not have gotten as much out of the castle had we simply walked through it on our own.
We were able to take pictures of the outside of the castle but once again were unable to take pictures inside the building and for good reason; nearly every wall was covered in gold leaf screen paintings. It was possibly one of the most beautiful things I have see in my life.

But it wasn't just the walls that were special. The wood floors were gorgeous. I could feel the knots in the wood were the rest of the boards had been worn down and smoothed from being walked on for hundreds of years. The tour guides said they were called nightingale floors because they squeak when you walk on them. They were made with nails and clamps under the floor so that when someone steps on the board it presses the clamp to rub against the nails and creates a high pitched squeaking noise. The shogun used these floors as a safety precaution so that when an intruder would come in he would be heard walking through the halls.

There is so much history in Nijo Castle that I think anyone who is interested in Japanese history has to go see this castle. Even those who are not interested in history will find this site fascinating. This is a definite must see in Kyoto.

1 comment:

  1. The Nijo Castle is a symbol of the power of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Its construction was ordered by the first Tokugawa Shogun, Ieyasu, in 1603. Nijo Castle is very nice destination to visit with family and friends.