Today’s destination is Nijō Castle, the stately Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa shōguns.
The castle was within walking distance of my hotel in Kyoto, so it was the first major attraction that I visited after arriving in the city. Thankfully enough, the rain clouds that had been following me around for part of my trip failed to make an appearance that day, leaving me with clear skies and perfect conditions for a leisurely afternoon stroll.
The photographs can speak for themselves so from here on, I’ll try to keep the commentary down to a minimum. For a complete historical background and other boring minutiae, check out Wikipedia.
600 yen gets you across the outer moat and through the castle’s monumental main gate.
Around the corner stands the Kara-mon, the main entrance to the Ninomaru Palace compound.
Within the gate stands the sprawling Ninomaru Palace.
Visitors are allowed inside but photography is strictly forbidden. A shame, because the palace’s richly decorated interiors are some of the most splendid I’ve seen anywhere in Japan. Considered individually, the artwork isn’t all that much to look at – but taken together, the effect of the colourful wall paintings, intricate woodwork, brightly painted ceilings and lavish gilding is almost overwhelming in its beauty. And for all that, the palace actually seems like a comfortable place to live in! If I had a billion dollars to spend I’d probably burn much of it building myself a house exactly like this one.
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