Nijo Castle

While we were in Kyoto, we stayed at the Kokusai Hotel which was directly across the street from the Nijo Castle. Since we were so close, of course we'd have to go and check it out. Follow me...

I have a theory about touring places like this especially when they won't let you take pictures of the inside. My theory is "if you've seen one you've seen them all." This theory pretty much works for cathedrals and castles in Europe too, with the exception of Notre Dame and Neuschwanstein Castle.
Nijo Castle was built by the first Tokugawa shogun in 1603. It has 33 rooms and one of the most interesting features are the nightingale floors. Because the shogun was very paranoid about protecting himself from his enemies, the floorboards in the castle were made to creak when a person walked on them. This was done by installing nails between the floorboards. You can hear them squeak as you pad around in your stocking feet.

Well, wasn't that tour intriguing? I guess my attention span that day was lacking or maybe it just bored me to death. Or, maybe it was the audio tour that bored me to death. As I've said in the past, audio tours just don't float my boat.

What I really liked about the Nijo however, are the fabulous and extensive gardens. These koi were very entertaining and they were huge!

The gardens were designed by the famous Kobori Enshu.

C'mon, let's take a stroll.....



I also liked the architecture on the outside. Like these two doors for example...


And this bridge along with the rock wall...

Or this marker..

And the details on the roof...

Or the names on this bench...
My favorite was the path leading to the garden at the top of this post.

Tip-o-Day: Don't bother renting the audio tour. Just stroll around the grounds on your own.

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