Explore Nijo Castle on a 60-minute guided tour conducted by an official guide. Learn why the best example of feudal era castle architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site is significant in terms of history, culture, and art history.
• Admission fees are not included in the tour price; please purchase Nijo Castle / Ninomaru-goten Palace admission tickets before the tour begins —General admission 1,300 JPY, junior high/high school students 400 JPY, primary school students 300 JPY —Admission prices are correct as of September 2022 and are subject to change without prior notice • This tour is only held in English; we are unable to provide tours in other non-Japanese languages aside from English • Please wear comfortable shoes appropriate for walking on gravel • Please be at the meeting point at least 10 minutes before tour time; the tour will depart on time • Free for one child (aged 0–12) for each participating adult • Children aged 0–12 must be accompanied by an adult to participate • Do not touch exhibits or take photos inside Ninomaru Palace • Tour content is subject to change without notice • Tour organizer is not liable for injuries sustained during the tour
Nijo Castle (Nijo-jo) was originally built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603 – 1867). After the Tokugawa Shogunate fell in 1867, Nijo Castle served as an imperial palace, before being donated to Kyoto City and opened to the public as a historic site. These buildings are arguably the best surviving examples of castle architecture from Japan's feudal era. Designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994, Nijo Castle is divided into three distinct areas: the Honmaru or main circle of defense; the Ninomaru or secondary circle of defense; and the gardens encircling both the Honmaru and Ninomaru. The castle grounds and the Honmaru are further protected by stone walls and a moat. You'll enter the castle grounds through the large gate on the east side of the castle. (The tour ticket booth is located just inside the gate.) Farther inside the castle grounds, you'll find the extravagant Karamon Gate, the entrance to the Ninomaru, and the castle's main attraction, the Ninomaru Palace. The Ninomaru Palace once served as the shogun's residence and office on visits to Kyoto and remains intact to this very day. The palace consists of multiple buildings connected by corridors lined with so-called nightingale floors due to the way they creak when walked upon—a security measure against intruders. The ornate palace rooms feature beautiful tatami mat floors, elegantly decorated ceilings, and beautifully painted fusuma sliding doors.