Nijo Castle (NijoJO- 二条城) was belonged to the Imperial House and was given to the
city of Kyoto in October 1939, is situated to the west of Nijo Horikawa.
At the time of the Restoration in 1868 the palace was made the temporary sent of government,
and it was from here that the Emperor Meiji issued the Edict abolishing the Shogunate.
Between 1871 and 1884 the palace was used as the Kyoto Prefectural Office and almost
incredible damage was done to the priceless objects of art which it contained.
Since it was made one of the Imperial Palaces much has been done to restore its old splendor,
but some of it was beyond recall. It will be noticed that the Imperial Crest, the sixteen-petaled
chrysanthemum, has been substituted for the Tokugawa crest of the aoi leaves wherever possible.
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In 1893 the palace of Prince Katsura, till then in the grounds of the Imperial Palace,
was removed to the sited of the main keep of the Nijo Castle, which had repeatedly
been destroyed by fire in the 18th century.
It was this palace that the great banquet, which formed part of the Enthronement Ceremony of 1928.
The palace grounds, which cover an area of bout 70 acres, are surrounded by substantial stone walls
with turrets at the corners and moats outside. Visitors are usually come to the Karamon, also callded
Shikyakumon Gate, which is decorated with beautiful wooden carvings and exquisite metal work and
once formed part of Hideyoshi’s Fushimi Castle.
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Inside the gate is a spacious court planted with pine-trees, across which visitors reach
the Mi-Kurumayose(Honorable Carriage Approach), which is highly decorated with
carvings of peonies and phoenixes attributed to the noted sculptor Hidari Jingoro.
First Building is the largest structure in the former Nijo Palace and consists of numerous chambers,
which are most profusely decorated. The paintings on the sliding screens, attributed to
Kano Tan-yu(1602-1674) and his school, are remarkable for their unusual size and boldness of design.
The chief chamber, Jodan-no-ma, known as the “Imperail Messenger’s Chamber” has some
beautiful carvings on the shelves and cabinet next to the alcove, and the ceiling is cofered and highly
decorated. In the Ni-no-ma(Second Chamber) there si a painting of a large white firtree on a gold
background which is worthy of note, and in the next chamber, Tozmurai-no-ma, are found some
interesting mural paintings of bamboo and tigers. The other chambers are all similarly decorated.
Second Buildings, reached by a galley from the First, consists of three chambers, of which
the middle chamber was for the Ministers of the Shogun when they attended him on his
visit to Kyoto. All the chambers, which are divided into apartments in some cases, are
decorated with mural and other paintings, those on the wooden doors in the third chambers,
Yari-no-ma, representing cherry-blossoms and long-tailed birds,
excellent examples of the art of Kano-Tan-yu.
Third Building consists of the Great Hall and four other chambers.
The great hall constituted the audience chamber of the Shogun, with the raised seat where
he sat above the daimyo, whotook their seats far down. The floor ofthe alcove consists of
a single piece of keaki wood, 18 ft in length and 7 in thick, and shelves and cabinet are
highly decorated. On the sliding doors, which are painted immense pine-trees, and the ceiling
has elaborated designs on a gold ground. The Sliding doors, which partitioned off the
raised seat of the Shogun from the rest of the hall, are exquisitely and profusely decorated.
The second chamber has on its transom window on the north side some carved openwork,
pine and peacock, attributed to Hidari Jingoro. The last chamber, known as the Sotetsu-no-ma
(Japanese-fern-palm Chamber), contained a famous picture of a sotetsu or Japanese fern palm
on the sliding door at the entrance, but it became defaced through neglect, and has been
replaced with plain gold-paper.
JAPAN, The Official Guide
Edited by Tourist Industry Division,Ministry ofo Transportation
Published by Japan Travel Bureau(JTB), June 25th 1954