Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nijo Castle

Hello and it's good to finish one post!

This was our first stop after our long trek of getting to Japan. The pics below are pics of Nijo Castle in Kyoto Prefecture which at one time used to be the capital of Japan. I have included a brief history of Nijo from Wikipedia to give it some context.

"In 1601, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, ordered all the feudal lords in Western Japan to contribute to the construction of Nij┼Ź Castle, which was completed during the reign of Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1626. Parts of Fushimi Castle, such as the main tower and the karamon, were moved here in 1625-26.[1] It was built as the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns. The Tokugawa Shogunate used Edo as the capital city, but Kyoto continued to be the home of the Imperial Court. Kyoto Imperial Palace is located north-east of Nijo Castle."

One of the cool designs of this palace are the wooden floors of the hallways. I could not take any pics of inside the main building as it's not allowed but let me explain a bit anyway. Inside are many rooms of course, but as Japan was a cast society, certain rooms were for certain casts. There were rooms for just the Shogun ruler and attendants as well. As you walk through the hall ways the floors squeak. Thin metal inserts were put under every floorboard and set in such a way that as weight was put upon the board, the metal would bend slightly causing a squeak making it impossible to sneak up on the Shogun. No Ninja sneaking up at night to kill anyone inside and the way it's designed, you can tell exactly where the "intruder" is at location wise. Pretty clever!

This is the outside moat leading to one of the main gates. The idea being that if attacked, the attackers would be funneled into a narrow area for easy killing as there is but one bridge. Pretty much the same idea for every moat ever made. Got to love the art of war. :-P

In case you are wondering, it's a fish. All the castles I've seen so far have giant fish as decorative additions. Not sure why a fish.

This is just inside the castle gate. Just trying to show the size of the place. It was pretty impressive in its size.

Looking back at the gate from the inside.

The Guardhouse is below.

Here you are looking just past the end of the Guardhouse at an inner wall that you saw in the pic from just inside the gate.

The doors are actually pretty big. I have some shots using my wonderful assistant to show some size in scale.

Eiko is just over 5' so as you can see, these are no small doors!

This is the inside of the outer wall. Some nice shots coming up.

The Chery Trees and other flowering trees are just coming out. We got some good shots at the Palace we went to. I'll get those up later.

Just to give you some idea of what you are looking at pic wise. We came in at the bottom left entrance and you'll see pics from all the way around. :-)

Again, just trying to show the size and scope.

This is another gate leading to the inner areas.

Here we are just inside the last gate looking at the main building housing the Shogun. This is where he would hold court and conduct official business as well as live.

This gate was on the other side after having walked through the maze of hallways on the inside.

Another large court yard

I played a giant version of find the pea and got to keep the prize! =) Ok, really, we are just passing through another wall following the path that takes you to the rock garden.

click on the pics :-)

If you remember from the map pic from earlier, there were moats on the inside as well. We are
getting close to the back gate of Nijo Castle. We walked all the way around to get back out though.


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