I’m actually shocked it took me this long to get to Nijô Castle. When I travel to Kyoto, I’m perpetually hanging out near Sanjô/Kawaramachi/Teramachi, but when my parents came to visit, we had dinner plans in Osaka and no plans for the morning. Normally I take my new-to-Kansai friends to geek out in DenDen Town or enjoy the onsen of Spa World, but my parents, being neither into the anthropology of otaku culture nor “public bathing,” merited going out of my standard destinations. Nijô Castle (Nijôjô) was close to where we were staying in Kyoto, so we decided to head there.
I was not disappointed! Nijôjô was the residence of the Shogun when he visited Kyoto, and since I’ve got Ôoku (「大奥」) mania, I was happily squeeing over the the recreated scenes of Shoguns receiving the daimyô and explaining about the fashion of 裃 (kamishimo, the wide-shouldered formal “jacket”) and 袴 (hakama, the pleated “pants” worn over a kimono).
Nijôjô isn’t like the other castles I’ve visited. Instead of having the characteristic multi-floor tower, Nijôjô lies close to the ground, and is famous for its squeaky “nightingale” floor, which would alert residents to intruders or incoming guests.
I tend to travel to Kansai in late March and almost always miss the peak of the sakura season (forever too early). There were a few trees blooming that day, though.
Inside the grounds is a lovely garden.
Even though it was a bit early for cherry blossoms, the plum (ume, 梅) grove was still in full bloom.
The camellias (tsubaki, 椿) were also still in bloom.
I told my parents that I was going to move in at the end of my contract–after all, what combines my love of Kyoto with my new fandom better than this? Now, to find myself some kamishimo…
〒 604-8301 京都市中京区二条通堀川西入二条城町541
Entrance: 8:45-16:00 (closes at 17:00)
Closed 12/26-1/4 and on Tuesdays in December, January, July, and August (or the following day in case of a holiday)
Admission: Regular: 600 yen
From Sanjo-Keihan (三条京阪) station, take the subway to Nijojo-mae (二条城前駅), and the castle is across the street. (Easiest)
From JR Kyoto Station (JR京都駅), take the 9, 50, or 101 city bus to Nijojo-mae.
From Hankyuu Karasuma Station (阪急 烏丸駅), take the １２ or １０１ city bus to Nijojo-mae (二条城前).