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Kyoto’s Famous Flatland Castle, Nijo-jo

Posted By on Aug 29, 2014


Many people visit Kyoto to get a feel for historical Japan. Filled with temples and teahouses, Kyoto is indeed a great city for exposing yourself to Japanese culture and history.

In the middle of it all lays Kyoto’s famous castle, Nijo-jo.


Because of its prime location in the center of the city, Nijo-jo is often frequented by visitors and is easy to get to using public transportation. It’s near Kyoto Station, although from there many people choose to still take a bus or transfer to the subway for Nijo Station.

It costs 600 yen to enter the castle grounds, which may seem high, but the price is well worth it.

The infamous Tokugawa Shogunate built Nijo Castle in 1603.  Its main purpose was to defend the nearby Kyoto Imperial Palace, although it was also often used as a place for shoguns to stay during their visits to Kyoto.


Many people are quite shocked when they actually lie eyes on Nijo-jo. The castle itself doesn’t quite have your typical “castle feel” to it and actually more so resembles a temple or shrine in layout. This is because the castle is a flatland castle, meaning it is only one story in height. I don’t think many people expect this when they plan their visits.

Throughout its history Nijo Castle has had various reconstructions and renovations.

It wasn’t even until nearly 400 years after its completion, in 1994, that Nijo Castle official became recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The castle itself is nice to visit and see in person; however, the real reason this became a registered World Heritage Site is because of the palace and landscaped garden located inside the castle walls, so be sure to save some time for exploring these areas.


The Ninomaru Palace is made up of many residential-styled buildings in a diagonal pattern alongside a large pond. Each room is unique with detailed features like ornate paintings; walls covered in gold leaf, and fragile tatami mats and rice paper sliding doors.

No visit to Kyoto is complete without stopping to see Nijo Castle!

Address: 541 Nijojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-8301, Japan


[post by Beth]

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Beth Williams

Originally from Chicago, Beth got her first true taste of travel when she studied abroad in Japan during her final year of university. She ended up loving Asia so much, she found herself moving right back upon graduating and is currently teaching English full-time in Hong Kong. Armed with her camera and a passion for travel, she is currently on a mission to photograph the world-- proving that you can work the normal “9-5” and still find time to travel on her blog Besudesu Abroad.

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