Nijo Castle 二条城
Founder Tokugawa Ieyasu
Year 1603
Type Flatland
Condition Other Buildings
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Historical Value Top 100 Castles, National Treasures, Important Cultural Properties, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Historical Artifacts National Treasures:
Ninomaru Goten Kurumayose & Toozamurai, Ninomaru Goten Shikidai, Ninomaru Goten Ohiroma, Ninomaru Goten Kuroshoin, Ninomaru Goten Shiroshoin, Ninomaru Goten Sotetsunoma

Important Cultural Properties:
Ninomaru Karamon, Southeast sumi yagura, Ninomaru Goten Tsuiji wall, Ninomaru Goten Daidokoro, Ninomaru Goten Okiyodokoro, North Otemon, West Gate, Southwest Sumi Yagura, North dozo, South dozo, Naruko Gate, Momoyama Gate, North Naka Shikirimon, South Naka Shikirimon, dozo and nagayamon gate, Southeast Sumi Yagura Northern Wall, East Otemon, Honmaru Yagura mon, Honmaru Goten Goshoin, Honmaru Goten Genkan, Honmaru Goten Daidokoro & Karinoma, Honmaru Otsune Goten
Location Kyoto
Map Google Map
Access Kyoto Station, bus
Website Kyoto City Official Nijo-jo Site
Visited July 1992; March 23, 2004

Nijo-jo began as a mansion built by Nobunaga in 1569. The castle Nijo-jo was erected in 1603 to be Tokugawa Ieyasu's headquarters when he was in Kyoto. The main keep was struck by lightning and burned to the ground in 1750. It was never rebuilt. Ieyasu's palace is filled with beautiful works of art and is very well preserved. The Ninomaru Palace was mainly used for administrative affairs and reflects this in the many offices and meeting rooms it contains. It is designated a National Treasure.

The picture above is of the main entrance to the palace.

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Comment on this castle
  • ART    April 24, 2017 at 04:36 PM
    No Tenshukaku (donjon) remains at Nijou-jou, but you can climb the stone works and see hundreds of carp in the hori (moat). There is a space in the middle of the complex where a yagura stood which overlooks the whole site, and is very scenic when the blossoms are out. There are still several walls, turrets and gates surrounding the complex. I particularly liked the bridges over the moat. Kyoto was the capital of Japan for much of the country's history. It was raided frequently. At one point the elites built their homes like mini-castles to protect from cultist upraisings or the armies of adventurous feudal lords. Now streets lined with castles, wouldn't that be something to see?
  • johnsonb on My Page    November 13, 2016 at 07:10 AM
    Visited 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014
  • furinkazan on My Page    March 31, 2016 at 07:34 PM
    I visited this wonderful site again today. The great eastern gate is now being restored and completely under scaffolds. It remains the entrance to the castle. The exhibition hall was also closed, but we enjoyed the visit of the palace. I got my 100 meijô stamp under a tent to the right after entering the castle grounds.
  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    March 27, 2016 at 09:58 PM
    Liked it very much more like a palace than a castle/fort.
  • RaymondW on My Page    July 31, 2012 at 11:59 AM
    This is a great castle ruin to visit if you want to see one of the few extant castle palaces left in Japan. Other remaining ones from the Edo Period that I know of are at Kochi Castle, Kakegawa Castle and Kawagoe Castle Ruin. I took a friend who was visiting Japan here last weekend. There is a little bit of restoration work going on. The Karamon and parts of the walls surrounding the Ninomaru Palace are under wraps until 30th September 2013. The Ninomaru Palace remains unaffected and is business as usual. Also, there is a drive by the castle staff asking for donations to raise funds for preservation and restoration work.
  • a22cricket on My Page    May 16, 2011 at 07:05 PM
    Original castle in all of it's drafty splendor. The intentionally squeaky floor competes with the rattle of the wooden doors for noise awards. The details are subtle but great. Best suggestion is to look all around as you walk down the corridors.
  • Usagi on My Page    January 08, 2011 at 08:14 PM
    An unique and interesting style, with a very Japanese feel. Seeing the old foundations and a moat, make this well populated gardens castle a great visit.
  • James    January 06, 2011 at 06:11 PM
    If I remember correctly (it has been a few years) but the excellent Nijo Jinya is quite close to the castle and certainly worth a visit while you are in the area. This privately owned ‘ninja house’ was originally an inn that housed important visitors to Kyoto and features a great number of traps, secret rooms and tricks that were used to spy on (and sometimes assassinate) customers. Tours had to be booked quite some time in advance but even for those with little language skills everything is visual enough to fully understand with some (painful) demonstrations of how things worked.
  • furinkazan    August 04, 2009 at 02:07 AM
    I visited this one 5 years ago and last year. This is a real beauty. Certainly worth it's 5 stars.
  • MM    March 17, 2008 at 03:02 AM
    A great castle to go to. Even though the Tenshu dosen't exist anymore, it has many original buildings, particularly in the ninomaru.
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Nijo Castle views
Ninomaru Palace entrance Kara Mon Gate
Kara Mon gate Southeast Corner Yagura
East Main Gate West bridge and moat
Inner moat and main keep foundation Inner moat bridge and yagura
Ninomaru Palace Ninomaru Palace and gardens
Honmaru Palace Kita Nakashikirimon
Kita Otemon. storehouse and nagayamon of the ninomaru
Heijuumon style gate of Ninomaru Tsujibei walls
Nishi Gate Minami Gate
Map of the castle grounds