Nijo-jo Castle (二条城)

Japanese Castle Data Sheet

Nijo-jo Castle is an Edo Period castle located at Nijo-dori Horikawa Nishiiru Nijojo-cho, in Kyoto City's Nakagyo Ward.

Because Ieyasu TOKUGAWA's inauguration as Shogun and Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA's restoration of Imperial rule (Taisei Hokan) took place [here], it is a site that marks both the beginning and the end of the Edo Shogunate.

Outline

Located on the flat land of Kyoto city, it is one of the city's must-see tourist spots. The entire castle is designated a national historic relic, Ninomaru Palace is a National Treasure, the 954 wall paintings in 22 buildings and in Ninomaru Palace are Important Cultural Properties, and Ninomaru Garden is a Special Scenic Spot. Furthermore, in 1994, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the {Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto}.

Various Nijo-jo Castles

There are several buildings that have been called "Nijo-jo Castle" in Japanese historical texts. After the decline of Suzaku-oji Street Nijo-oji Street became the city's main street, and three Shoguns, from Takauji ASHIKAGA to Yoshimitsu, built their mansions there; these mansions were called either Nijo-jin (Nijo-jo Camp or Military Base) or Nijo-jo Castle. Later, the Shogun's house was still called Nijo-jin or Nijo-jo Castle, even if it was not on Nijo-dori Street. It was the only castle in Heiankyo's Sakyo area in the Muromachi Period. Incidentally, there was just one Saiin-jo Castle in Ukyo. Nijo-jo Castle and Saiin-jo Castle are known as the Two Castles of Heiankyo.

The residence of Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA, the 13th Muromachi Shogun.

The castle built by Nobunaga ODA for the residence of Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, the 15th Muromachi Shogun. It was not located on Nijo-dori Street.

Nijo Shin-Gosho, which was renovated as a mansion of Nobunaga ODA while he stayed in the capital; he later presented it to the crown prince.

The castle that Ieyasu TOKUGAWA built for himself while he stayed in the capital.

The present-day Nijo-jo Castle is 4. Although 1 and 2 were built at the same location there is no continuity between them. Though some (Comprehensive Dictionary of the Japanese Language, Heibonsha Japanese Historic Place Names) say that 2 and 3 were the same building, historical sources such as the Nobunaga Koki, excavations results and surviving place names support the currently prevailing view that they were separate. 1 though 3 came to be called "Nijo-jo Castle" after completion of 4 during the Edo Period, and they have also been referred to as "Kyu Nijo-jo" and "Nijo Kojo" (both meaning "old Nijo-jo Castle") in order to distinguish them from 4. The following section presents a brief outline of "Nijo-jo" in 1 through 3 as a prehistory of 4, the modern-day Nijo-jo Castle.

Muromachi and Azuchi Momoyama Periods

This section describes the Nijo-jo Castles prior to Ieyasu TOKUGAWA's as a prehistory of "Nijo-jo Castle."

Ashikaga Yoshiteru's Nijo Castle

A castle residence built between 1559 and the following year on Muromachi-dori Kageyukoji Street (present-day Kamigyo Ward, Bueijin-cho, near Heian Jogakuin St. Agnes School) where the former Kanrei Shiba Buei's house was located, it was the headquarters of Yoshiteru's Shogunate. However, during the construction to improve its defensive capabilities it was attacked by Hisahide MATSUNAGA and the Miyoshi Sanninshu in 1565 and Nijo-jo Castle burned down; even though Yoshiteru himself took up his sword and fought he was killed (Eiroku Disturbance). After that Shinnyodo Hall was built to memorialize Yoshiteru's spirit. Currently, there stands a stone monument with the following inscription: "Near Here, Ruins of The Shiba Clan's Buei Camp and Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA's Mansion." In reality its location is far away from Nijo-dori Street.

The Nijo Castle of Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA

After Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA took over the post of Shogun using Nobunaga ODA's military might as a shield, he stayed in Rokujo Honkoku-ji Temple but in 1569 suffered an attack from the Miyoshi Triumvirate. The vassals of Nobunaga who were in Kyoto at the time and the associates of Yoshiaki fought desperately and achieved successful defense; however, when Nobunaga heard the news he recognized the need for a castle with better defense and decided to build one for Yoshiaki. Its location centered around the place where Yoshiteru's Nijo-jo Castle once stood, but the lot was expanded to about 400 meters in four directions with double moats and a 3 layer castle keep added to the outline of the castle. Nobunaga himself took charge as director of construction, and appointed Sadakatsu MURAI and Hidemitsu SHIMADA to be the head carpenters in charge of building the palaces and other buildings. The Fujito-ishi Stone was brought from the old residence of the former Kanrei Hosokawa Keicho family, literally with a fanfare. Construction was completed only in 70 days, and Yoshiteru moved his headquarters there in April of that year. Gravestones and stone Buddhas gathered from all over Kyoto were used in the stone walls of this castle. Judging by the gilt roof tiles that have been excavated from the surrounding area, it is thought to have been a splendid palace especially for a palace that was built in haste.

The relationship between Yoshiaki and Nobunaga gradually worsened; after Yoshiaki found out that Shingen TAKEDA set off to the west in response to Yoshiaki's order to destroy Nobunaga and won the Battle of Mikatagahara, Yoshiaki raised an army against Nobunaga at Nijo-jo Castle in March of 1573. Although Nobunaga burned down the houses in Kamigyo and surrounded Nijo-jo Castle he refrained from attacking the castle itself; with an imperial command from Emperor Ogimachi they agreed to make peace. However, in July, Yoshiaki again raised an army at Makishima-jo Castle in Uji (Battle of Makishima Castle). At that time, although aristocrats Terusuke HINO and Nagasuke TAKAKURA, along with associates of Yoshiaki Sadaoki ISE and Fujihide MITSUBUCHI, were positioned to defend Nijo Castle, they surrendered without a fight when surrounded by Nobunaga's army. It is reported that the palaces and other buildings were pillaged and destroyed by soldiers at that time. Immediately after that, Yoshiaki at Makishima-jo Castle also surrendered and was banished from Kinai, bringing an end to the Muromachi Shogunate. The castle keep and gates that remained at Nijo-jo Castle were dismantled in 1576, taken to Azuchi Castle which was under construction then, and reused as construction materials. At that time it was called"Buke Gosho" or "Buko Gojo" (the first mention of this castle being at Nijo was on February 17, 1569, in Nobunaga Koki). From 1975 to 1978 an excavation of Karasuma-dori Street was carried out prior to the construction of Kyoto Municipal Subway's Karasuma Line, and remnants of the stone walls and double moats of Nobunaga's Nijo-jo Castle were confirmed. Stone Buddhas from the walls that were excavated at that time are now preserved in the Museum of Kyoto and in Nishikyo Ward's Rakusai Bamboo Garden. Portions of the stone walls have also been reconstructed in Kyoto Gyoen National Garden's Sawaragi-mon Gate and in the present-day Nijo-jo Castle. Now there is a stone monument in one corner of Heian Jogakuin St. Agnes Girls' School engraved with the words "Old Nijo-jo Castle Ruins".

The Nijo Shin-gosho of Nobunaga ODA and Prince Sanehito

The castle that Nobunaga ODA built near Karasuma-Muromachi-dori Oike Agaru.

When Nobunaga came to stay in the capital in April of 1576 he stayed at Myokaku-ji Temple in Nijo (different from its present location), but he was enamored with the view of the garden at the Nijo family's mansion which was adjacent to the temple on the east side. At the time, Nijo-tei (Nijo-dono) mansion was widely known as the most famous of the famous places that always appeared on panoramic screen paintings of Kyoto and environs. It was vacant because Nobunaga, jus prior to his visit, had arranged for the previous occupants, father and son Haruyoshi and Akizane NIJO (whose wife was an adopted daughter of Nobunaga) to move to a new mansion near Hoon-ji Temple (Tokitsunekyoki); Nobunaga ordered Sadakatsu MURAI, the Kyoto Shoshidai, to take possession of it and renovate it so that Nobunaga could stay in it while in the capital. Nobunaga occupied it for the first time in July of the following year, the improvements were finished at the end of August, and for about 2 years after that this "Nijo Goshinzo" was his residence in the capital. In November of 1580, Nobunaga gave this mansion to Crown Prince Sanehito. Right away Prince Sanehito and Prince Gonomiya (later Prince Kuniyoshi) moved into this "Nijo Shin-gosho" (it is thought that Nobunaga treated Gonomiya as a son, although there is a common misconception that this was Emperor Ogimachi's Gonomiya, Prince Sanehito, when it was actually the Prince Sanehito's Gonomiya).

In 1582, when the Incident at Honno-ji Temple occurred, Nobunaga's heir Nobutada ODA, who was at Myokaku-ji Temple, set out to join Nobunaga at Honno-ji [to fight] as soon as heard about it. However, Kyoto Shoshidai Sadakatsu MURAI and his sons came running with the news that Honno-ji had already fallen and they recommended him to move to the well-defended Nijo Shin-gosho. Nobutada was besieged there after he allowed Prince Sanehito and others to flee to the Imperial Palace; even though he fought desperately with the surrounding Akechi army Nobutada, Sadakatsu and over 60 others died in the battle, and Nijo Shin-gosho and the adjacent Myokaku-ji Temple were reduced to ashes. Now, there is a stone monument at Ryogaemachi-dori Oike Agaru with the words "Near Here are The Ruins of Nijo-dono" carved on it; another one at Muromachi-dori Oike Agaru that says "Nijo-dono Oike Remnants." There are areas in the vicinity called Nijoden-cho, Oikeno-cho, as well as Kamimyokakuji-cho and Shimomyokakuji-cho, which had connections with the Incident at Honno-ji Temple.

Currently, there is a popular story that says this Nijo Palace was built on the remains of Yoshiaki's Nijo-jo Castle. However, because at the time of Prince Sanehito it was called "Shimo no Gosho" in contrast to the Imperial Palace being called "Kami no Gosho," it is thought to have been located to the south of the Imperial Palace. Furthermore, based on the fact that Nobutada had moved from Myokaku-ji Temple at the time of the Incident at Honno-ji Temple, it can be surmised that these temples were located near each other; from reports that Tokitsune YAMASHINA "viewed the Udaisho family's new Nijo mansion" on October 5, 1576, and "viewed the samurai's old castle" on the following day of October 6 when he witnessed the stone walls being torn down and hauled away (Tokitsune Kyoki), it is clear that it [Nijo Shin-gosho] was at a different location.

The Nijodai of Hideyoshi HASHIBA (TOYOTOMI)

Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI also built a castle at Nijo. Hideyoshi had a mansion next to Nijo Goshinzo even while Nobunaga was alive, but in 1580 it was confiscated by Nobunaga and given to former Kanpaku Sakihisa KONOE, who was a favorite of Nobunaga (Kanemi Kyoki). Ironically, at the time of the Incident at Honno-ji Temple, it was said that after the KONOE family fled from this mansion the Akechi army occupied it and attacked Nijo Shin-gosho from there; before long there was a rumor that Sakihisa had given his support to Mitsuhide. Later, in 1583, Hideyoshi, who had made his headquarters in Osaka, built Nijodai as a base in Kyoto. It is also called Myoken-ji Castle because it was built on the former site of Myoken-ji Temple after it was moved. Since there was a moat around it and a keep, it seems more appropriate to call it a castle rather than a mansion. It was used as Hideyoshi's government office until the completion of Jurakudai, and Geni MAEDA usually lived there. It was located 200 meters east of Nijo-jo Castle, and there are still places around present-day Nakagyo Ward's Ogawa-dori Street and Oshikoji-dori Street called Furushiro-cho (old castle town) and Shimofurushiro-cho.

The Edo Period

Major renovations were undertaken in 1624, with 19 shinpan- and fudai-daimyo families, including the Owari and Kii clans, in charge of constructing the stone walls.

Construction

The Shogunate named it Nijo-jo Castle, but the Imperial Court called it Nijo-tei. Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, victorious in the Battle of Sekigahara, decided to build a castle at Omiya Oshikoji to be used as his residence during his stay in the capital; he began removing townhouses in May of 1600 and split the cost of construction and labor with the daimyo of the western provinces in December. He appointed Kyoto Shoshidai Katsushige ITAKURA to be the construction director and Masakiyo NAKAI as the master builder over the project. Work began on the palace and keep in May of 1602 and it was finished in March of the following year. However, the castle keep was completed in 1606. In February of 1603, he received the appointment to Seii Taishogun at Fushimi-jo Castle and in March and he moved into the newly completed Nijo-jo Castle, from which he started a procession to the Imperial Palace to hold the Haiga no Rei ceremony in accordance with the tradition since the Muromachi Shogunate. After that the statesmen and nobles were invited for an inaugural celebration at Nijo-jo Castle. The 2nd Shogun Hidetada TOKUGAWA followed this procedure upon assuming the office of Shogun 2 years later in 1605, as did the 3rd Shogun Iemitsu TOKUGAWA in 1623, but the 4th Shogun Ietsuna TOKUGAWA and the later Shoguns did not.

In 1611 a meeting was held in Nijo-jo Castle's palace (present-day Ninomaru Palace) between Ieyasu and Hideyori TOYOTOMI; it is said that at this time Ieyasu was surprised at Hideyori's growth, became afraid that the TOKUGAWA family might be overthrown and he decided to destroy the Toyotomi family. Then in 1614 the Siege of Osaka happened. With Nijo-jo Castle as the Ogosho (Ieyasu) headquarters Ieyasu made a move toward Osaka from Nijo-jo Castle following Shogun Hidetada's army that departed from Fushimi-jo Castle. During the Siege of the Summer of 1615, vassals of Shigeteru FURUTA on the Tokugawa side were apprehended as conspirators in a plot to set fire to Nijo-jo Castle and assassinate Ieyasu amidst the confusion. It was for that reason that Oribe FURUTA committed seppuku and forfeited his assets.

After Ieyasu died in 1616, Hidetada carried out renovations of Nijo-jo Castle starting in 1619 in order to prepare for the marriage of his daughter, Masako TOKUGAWA, to Emperor Gomizunoo. Hidetada himself worked on the basic designs, together with Takatora TODO (although Hidetada only made the final decision on one of the two proposed designs Takatora touted as the Shogun's own design). On June 18 of the next year (1620), Masako led in a procession from Nijo-jo Castle to the Imperial Palace.

Imperial Visits

Starting in 1624, the year after Iemitsu TOKUGAWA became Shogun and Hidetada TOKUGAWA became Ogosho, major renovations of Nijo-jo Castle began in preparation for an Imperial visit by Emperor Gomizunoo. Masakazu KOBORI and Toyonao GOMI (who later became Kyoto Gundai) were appointed to superintendents over the work. The imperial visit was held over 5 days from October 25, 1626, during which time performances of Bugaku and Nogaku were held as well as horseback riding, games of kemari and waka poetry. This imperial visit marks the golden age of Nijo-jo Castle. Many buildings were dismantled and removed, including Miyuki Palace, which was built for the imperial visit and later moved and rebuilt to become the palace of retired Emperor Gomizunoo. In July 1634, after the death of Hidetada, Iemitsu went to the capital with 307,000 soldiers; this was the last time that Nijo-jo Castle welcomed a Shogun, and the castle disappeared from the stage of history until the period of upheaval at the end of the Edo Period 230 years later.

Over the course of those 230 years, it fell into disrepair as buildings were lost one after another to storms, earthquakes, and lightning strikes. The castle keep went up in flames after a lightning strike in 1750. When the capital was burned down in the Great Fire of 1788, the flames leapt to the Honmaru Palace and the Sumiyagura corner tower and burned down. Repairs were done on the damaged areas, but the Edo Period ended without the destroyed buildings rebuilt.

In 1625, a Nijo Jodai (governor) and Nijo Zaiban (guards) were stationed at Nijo-jo Castle for its management and defense while the Shogun was not there. The Nijo Jodai was abolished in 1699, and his work was taken over by the Nijo Zaiban. In August of 1862 rotating Nijo Zaiban assignment was abolished and a regular guard (Nijo Teiban) was established in its place. Actually, because Kyoto Shoshidai, whose job was to monitor and negotiate with the Imperial Court, was governing from a mansion to the north of Nijo-jo Castle, in the Shogun's absence the castle was not used at all as an office of the Shogunate government.

The End of the Edo Era

The 14th Shogun Iemochi TOKUGAWA went to the capital in March 1863 at the request of the Imperial Court. Dilapidated Nijo-jo Castle underwent renovations beginning in 1862 in order to prepare for the Shogun's visit to the capital. The Ninomaru Palace had overall repairs done, and a temporary palace was built in the Honmaru. Although Iemochi came to the capital and entered Nijo-jo Castle again in 1865 he soon moved to Osaka-jo Castle to take command in the Bakucho War. However, he fell ill and died there in 1866. The Shogunate cabinet (Bakkaku) met in Nijo-jo Castle and decided on Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA to be the next Shogun, but he declined. After being urged not only by people connected to the Shogunate but also repeatedly by the Imperial court, he finally accepted the appointment of 15th Shogun at Nijo-jo Castle in December of that year. However, Yoshinobu did not move his residence from the Obama Clan's mansion in Wakasa Province to Nijo-jo Castle until the following September, in 1867. In October, he restored the rule of the Emperor (Taisei Hokan) and gave up the post of Shogun; in December, an order to resign and return domains arrived at Nijo-jo Castle from the Imperial Court. When that happened, 5000 of mostly Hatamoto soldiers of the Tokugawa family, about 3000 of the Aizu Clan soldiers and 1500 of the Kuwana Clan soldiers gathered at Nijo-jo Castle were outraged at the dealings of the Satsuma Clan who manipulated the Imperial Court. To avoid a military conflict, Yoshinobu set out for Osaka-jo Castle with these soldiers. About 200 soldiers of the Mito Clan, including Wakadoshiyori and Naoyuki NAGAI, stayed behind to defend Nijo-jo Castle. However, due to confusion over the chain of command the Shinsengumi, which had separately received an order to defend Nijo-jo Castle, arrived and got into a shoving match with the Mito Clan soldiers. Because of NAGAI's quick thinking the issue was resolved by sending the Shinsengumi to guard Fushimi-jo Castle.

The following year, around New Year's Day of 1868, the Battle of Toba Fushimi broke out. After replacing Naoyuki, who was recalled to Osaka, Magotaro UMEZAWA and the Mito Clan soldiers looked after Nijo-jo Castle; however, on January 29, [the care of the castle] was handed over to Yoshikatsu TOKUGAWA who received an order from the Imperial Court (the New Government), and Dajokandai was installed. In April the Dajokandai was transferred to the Imperial Court.

The Modern Era

After the transfer of the capital to Tokyo in 1870 Nijo-jo Castle came under the jurisdiction of the multiple capital system (Fukutosei), but in 1871the Ninomaru palace became a government office for Kyoto Prefecture. After its control was transferred to the War Office in 1873 it was transferred again to the Imperial Household Department in 1884, and the name was changed to Nijo Imperial Villa. After the Kyoto Prefectural government offices were moved to a new building in 1885, renovations of Ninomaru Palace were carried out until 1887.

Between 1893 and 1894, the old residence of Prince Katsura, which was located next to the Imadegawa-mon Gate of the Kyoto Gyoen Imperial Garden, was moved into Honmaru and it was named Honmaru Palace. In 1915, Nijo-jo Castle's Ninomaru was used to hold the feast at the coronation of Emperor Taisho, on which occasion buildings associated with Minami-mon Gate and Ninomaru Palace were added. In 1939, it was relinquished by the Imperial Household Department. Since then it has been called "Motorikyu Nijo-jo" (former Imperial Villa Nijo Castle). After World War II, tennis courts were built on the north side of Ninomaru at the behest of allied forces' General Headquarters, but that area was turned into a garden in 1965.

On April 6, 2006, it was selected as one of the 100 Fine Castles of Japan (#53); in June of 2007 a National 100 Fine Castles of Japan Stamp Rally was started.

Location

Nijo-jo Castle is located over an area that straddles the southeast corner of what used to be the Greater Imperial Palace of Heiankyo and the Emperor's garden, Shinsen'en, which was to the south of it. It is approximately rectangular, about 500 meters from east to west, and 400 meters from north to south, though it does have a slight 凸 shape, looking from the east. The portion on the west side that is narrower in length along the north-south line was added during Iemitsu TOKUGAWA's renovations in the Kanei period, so the eastern half was all there was at the time Ieyasu built it.

Layout of the Castle Grounds

The layout of the castle structures belong to the "Rinkaku style" in which Honmaru is surrounded by Ninomaru in four directions; However, Honmaru is positioned slightly to the west from the center. Honmaru is roughly square with approximately 150 meters per side; there is an inner moat between Honmaru and Ninomaru and there is an outer moat around Ninomaru. Ninomaru is divided into eastern and western sections by the Shikiri-mon Gates on the north and south sides of Honmaru (some documents refer to the western section as "Nishinomaru"). When it [the castle] was built by Ieyasu the eastern part of the current Ninomaru was the Honmaru, in the Tankaku style consisting only of Honmaru. Horikawa River runs on the other side of Horikawa-dori Street across from the square in front of Ote-mon Gate; even though it [the river] does not quite constitute Suguruwa [completely surrounding the castle with a moat or a wall], it might have been envisioned to provide the first line of defense.

The grounds of Nijo-jo Castle are about 3 degrees askew from the orientation of present-day Kyoto's streets that developed from the layout of Heiankyo. This is because a compass, brought to Japan by [Christian] missionaries, was used in its construction.

As a castle where Shogun would stay it is rather small and its defense capacity is questionable, and Ieyasu's vassals addressed these issues to him; it is said that he responded saying, "if we can hold off [the enemy] for a day or two reinforcements will come from surrounding regions" and "if it were to fall to an enemy, a strong fortress would be more difficult to retake."

Buildings

There is one gate on each side - north, east, south and west - for entering and exiting the castle. The main gate is the Higashi Ote-mon Gate that faces Horikawa-dori Street. The south gate was built anew in 1915, and the bridges across the moat for the south gate and the west gate have been removed, so these gates are not used. Kita Ote-mon Gate is also closed most of the time. There are an additional 5 gates in the castle. These are Kita Nakashikiri-mon and Minami Nakashikiri-mon Gates, which split Ninomaru into east and west sections, Naruko-mon and Momoyama-mon Gates, which are the entrances to the passageway between Ninomaru and Honmaru, and Yagura-mon Gate, which is the entrance across the inner moat to Honmaru from that passageway.

Ninomaru Goten, the central building of Ninomaru, stands in front and diagonally to the right when viewed from Higashi Ote-mon Gate. The Goten is surrounded by an earthen wall, with Kara-mon Gate on its south side. When you go through that gate you will see in front of you the Carriage Porch at the entrance to Ninomaru Goten. Ninomaru Goten consists of 6 buildings arranged diagonally one after another and connected by a hallway: Tozamurai, Shikidai, Ohiroma, Sotetsu-no-ma, Kuro Shoin and Shiro Shoin. There is a Japanese garden to the west of Ohiroma and south of Kuro Shoin. On the north side of Tozamurai and east of Shiro Shoin there is a kitchen and a building called Okiyo-dokoro for preparing individual tables for meals.

The Honmaru Goten is the former residence of Prince Katsura which was located to the north of the Imperial Palace; it was moved between 1893 and 1894. It is usually not open to the public except for limited periods in the spring and fall (since the spring of 2007, it is no longer opened because it is not sufficiently earthquake-proof). There is a western-style garden to the south of Honmaru Goten.

Castle Keep

In the Panoramic Screen Painting of Kyoto and Environs, the original keep was drawn as a 5 story keep in the northwest part of the castle (near present-day Seiryu-en Garden). That keep was moved to Yodo-jo Castle during the major renovation carried out by Iemitsu in the Kanei era. In its stead, the keep from Fushimi-jo Castle, which was dismantled the previous year, was put in the southwest corner of Honmaru (consequently, there was a short period when two keeps were present). This 5 story keep included a Toritsuke Yagura and Shotensu (Fukugo style keep). The keep was not rebuilt after it burned down due to a lightning strike in 1750. Today, only the foundation of the keep remains.

Ninomaru Garden

Also known as Hachijin Garden. It is a Chisen Kaiyu style garden (best viewed from the walking path around a central pond) from the Azuchi-Momoyama period which is often held up as an example of Enshu KOBORI's finest work. There are 3 islands in the pond. Horai-jima, the largest island, is located slightly north of the center of the pond, with Kame-jima to its north and Tsuru-jima to its south. The islands are made of stones, Kame-jima in the shape of a turtle and Tsuru-jima in the shape of a crane. Horai-jima is shaped so that when it is viewed together with Tsuru-jima it looks like a turtle, but when viewed with Kame-jima it looks like a crane; this arrangement is intended to always describe a pair of crane and turtle. There is a two-tiered waterfall in the northwest corner of the pond. The lawn that stretches south from the pond is where a palace was erected for the Emperor's Visit in the Kanei Period, and this side is the primary front of the garden. The design is a Three Fronts style, with a secondary front on the east (Ohiroma) side and a tertiary front on the north (Kuro Shoin) side.

Honmaru Garden

Construction began on the garden after the Honmaru Goten was moved here, and work was completed on this Western style garden in 1896. It differs from a Japanese garden in that it does not have a pond or a dry landscape, but instead it is made for walking with lawns and trees as its main features.

Seiryu Garden

Built near Ninomaru's Kita Ote-mon Gate in 1965, this garden is a blend of Western and Japanese styles.

Relocated Buildings (extant)

Honmaru buildings were moved to Sento Imperial Palace 4 times in the Edo Period, but there was a fire each time.

Choshukaku House (Mikasa House) was moved to Sankeien Garden in Yokohama City's Naka Ward and is still there; it is designated a national Important Cultural Property.

World Heritage

As one of the 17 historic buildings that make up the Old Town Kyoto Cultural Property, it was registered as a Cultural Heritage (World Heritage) in December 1994.

National Treasures

Ninomaru Goten: Designated a National Treasure according to the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties on March 29, 1952

Retainer's Rooms and Carriage Porch

Reception Room

Grand Chamber

Sotetsu-no-ma

Kuro Shoin (Shohiroma)

Shiro Shoin (Goza-no-ma)

Important Cultural Properties

After the castle was transferred from the Imperial Household Department to the City of Kyoto, on October 28, 1939 a total of 24 buildings including the aforementioned 6 buildings of Ninomaru Goten were designated National Treasures (former National Treasures) according to the Law for the Preservation of National Treasures, and 4 more were added in 1944. Later, in accordance with the 1950 Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties the former National Treasures were all re-designated as Important Cultural Properties.

Honmaru Palace (Former Residence of Prince Katsura)

Entrance

Goshoin

Otsune Goten

Kitchen and Kari-no-ma Room

Ninomaru Palace

Kara-mon Gate

Tsuiji

Kitchen

Meal Preparation Area

Gates of Nijo-jo Castle

Higashi Ote-mon Gate

Kita Ote-mon Gate

Nishi-mon Gate

Yagura-mon Gate

Naruko-mon Gate

Momoyama-mon Gate

Kita Nakashikiri-mon Gate

Minami Nakashikiri-mon Gate

Sumiyagura (Corner Towers)

Tonan Sumiyagura (Southeast Corner Tower)

Seinan Sumiyagura (Southwest Corner Tower)

Dozo (rice storage)

Dozo (north of Ninomaru Goten kitchen)

Northwest Dozo

Southwest Dozo

Tonan Sumiyagura Hoppo-tamonbei Wall

Ninomaru Palace Partition Paintings: Designated on June 5, 1982
954 Paintings

Historic Relics

On November 30, 1939, the entire Nijo-jo Castle complex, including the roads surrounding the outer moat, were designated a historic relic under the name "Former Nijo-jo Imperial Villa."

Special Scenic Spots

Nijo-jo Castle Ninomaru Garden: Designated on March 31, 1953