The next day, we had just a single tour scheduled. And that was a good thing as it would allow us to go shopping downtown later that afternoon. The first stop was the Nijo-jo Castle which was built in the 16th century. The castle was used as the headquarters for official business and as a residence for the Tokugawa Shoguns while they were in Kyoto.

In the photo, we are about to enter the main gate, Higashi-Ote-mon noted on the bottom-right of the map below.

On the mouse over picture, we are entering the inner gate, Kara-mon. That is the Ninomaru Palace directly ahead of us.


This is a map of the castle grounds. We had time only to tour the Ninomaru Palace, Kuro-Shoin and Shiro-Shoin complex. After we toured the buildings, we walked through the Ninomaru Garden. We did not have a chance to see the Honmaru complex that is surrounded by the inner moat. 

Before we entered the main complex, we were required to remove our shoes and place them in these cubbies. Once again, Jennifer has garnered some fans as they requested a picture with her.


We were not allowed to photograph the inside of the complex, but you can see the outside here taken from the Ninomaru Garden. Just inside those white panels are halls built with a type of flooring called nightingale boards. As you walked down these halls, the boards would make a singing, squeaking sound. Much as Jennifer and I tried, we could not trod them quietly. This was just one additional safeguard to warn against intruders.

On the mouse over picture is another view of the main complex and the gardens.

The gardens and paths surrounding the complex were beautiful and a tranquil pleasure to wander along.

This time I was asked to join in the group picture. For some reason, that two fingered victory sign is really popular for photographs.

If you look at the map above, this is one of the small paths on the Seiryu-en at the top of the map. We were running short on time and really had to get back to the bus, but I did take just a moment to enjoy the peaceful serenity.