Now, if you follow this blog, you know I’ve been to Kyoto three times now (see my previous posts here and here). It’s one of my favorite places in Japan thus far, and every time we go back, Craig and I try to go somewhere new. This time, we chose to tour Nijo Castle with my parents when we took them out to Kyoto last month.
Built in 1603 (<– whoa), Nijo Castle has served as a home for shogun during the Edo Period (1603 to 1867) as well as an imperial palace. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, the expansive grounds and its structures remain remarkably intact. The best part of this tour is how much access you have to the buildings on site — you can actually walk through the Ninomaru Palace and see where shogun welcomed guests and conducted official business (sorry, no photos allowed).
One of the facts I learned about the palace I found interested was that when you walk along the wooden floors, they making a creaking sound similar to nightingales, which served as an early alarm system to alert the palace occupants of potential intruders. The masterfully preserved artwork and indoor/outdoor layout of the palace are a breathtaking sight worth making time for.
I’m sure we’ll be back to Kyoto at least once more during our time in Japan and I’m so glad I can add Nijo Castle to our list of sights seen in this incredible place. From the moats and stone walls to the pristine gardens, it really is a trip back in time. Each time we go back to Kyoto, I gain a greater appreciation for Japanese culture and how much pride the Japanese people take in preserving it.