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Nijo Castle

Visit the world of the wealthy and powerful shogun, in this opulent 17th-century castle complex.

Nijo Castle is a testament to the power of the Tokugawa Shogunate during the Edo period (1603-1868). The castle was the stronghold of the family who essentially controlled Japan during this time, leaving the emperor to rule in name only. To create a defence against enemies, the castle was built with two palaces, two stone walls and two moats.

To make the most of your visit to Nijo Castle, consider renting the English audio guide from the kiosk at the entry at the impressive Eastern gate. With an audio guide, you’ll learn more about the site’s fascinating stories and facts.

Explore Ninomaru Palace, a World Heritage Site. This palace has more than 30 rooms, furnished with many tatami (woven) mats and featuring opulent paintings. Much about the palace is designed to awe and many surfaces are coated in gold leaf. Tour the retainers’ workroom, the rice store, the meeting rooms and the living quarters of the shogun. It’s best to walk lightly, though, since the floors were built to squeak, to warn sleeping inhabitants of intruders.

Visit the remains of Honmaru Palace, ravaged by fire during the 18th century. Explore the rooms where servants lived and cooked, and the areas where guests were entertained.

Don’t miss the palace gardens,which feature designs that have remained largely unchanged for hundreds of years. Ninomaru Garden has a pond with three islands connected by bridges. To the north of the complex, Seiryū-en garden combines traditional Japanese and Western aspects, as well as two teahouses, which are used for cultural events. At certain times of the year, you’ll also have the added pleasure of seeing the plum and cherry trees in blossom.

Bus trips from Kyōto Station, the city’s main transportation hub, to Nijo Castle take about 20 minutes. There is also a nearby train station and metered car parking. The castle has an entry fee and is open most days, except Tuesdays during certain months of the year.

Popular Activities at Nijo Castle

There are so many ways to enjoy this place. We've put together a list of things you can do at Nijo Castle:

If you'd like even more options, peruse our Kyoto things to do page.


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Nijō Castle

See all 2,148 Properties near Nijō Castle
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto ¥8,283
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

1 Taimatsu-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, HigashiHorikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nishihonganji Temple, Kyoto Tower, and Kyoto Aquarium. Higashi Honganji Temple and Toji Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kyoto Station is 9 minutes by foot and Kyoto Toji Station is 12 minutes.

    Hotel M's Plus Shijo-Omiya ¥4,855
    Hotel M's Plus Shijo-Omiya

    Hotel M's Plus Shijo-Omiya

    114, NishikiOmiya-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kyoto Art Center, Nishiki Market, and Nijō Castle. Kawaramachi and Shijo Omiya are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kyoto Shijo-omiya Station and Kyoto Omiya Station are within a 2-minute walk.

      Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto ¥4,158
      Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto

      Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto

      410-3 Shimomaruya-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Honnoji Temple and Pontocho. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 10 minutes. Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station and Shiyakusho-mae Station are within a 5-minute walk.

        Kyoto Brighton Hotel ¥15,152
        Kyoto Brighton Hotel

        Kyoto Brighton Hotel

        Nakadachiuri, Shinmachi-dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
           
          4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Central Kyoto, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kyoto Imperial Palace and Doshisha University. Nijō Castle and Kyoto University are also within 1 mi (2 km). Imadegawa Station is 11 minutes by foot and Marutamachi Station is 13 minutes.

          ANA Crowne Plaza Kyoto ¥8,081
          ANA Crowne Plaza Kyoto

          ANA Crowne Plaza Kyoto

          Nijojo-Mae Horikawa-Dori, Nakagyo, Kyoto, Kyoto
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Central Kyoto, this romantic hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Nijō Castle and Shijo Omiya. Nishiki Market and Kyoto Imperial Palace are also within 1 mi (2 km). Nijojo-mae Station is only a 2-minute walk and Karasumaoike Station is 11 minutes.

            Smile Hotel Kyoto-shijo ¥3,367
            Smile Hotel Kyoto-shijo

            Smile Hotel Kyoto-shijo

            59-61 Nishinotoin, Shijo, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Nijō Castle, Gion Corner, and Kyoto Tower. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Sanjusangendo Temple are also within 3 mi (5 km). Kyoto Karasuma Station is only a 5-minute walk and Shijo Station is 7 minutes.

              Hotel Monterey Kyoto ¥7,912
              Hotel Monterey Kyoto

              Hotel Monterey Kyoto

              604 Manjuya-cho, Sanjo-sagaru, Kyoto, Kyoto
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Rokakkudo Temple and Nishiki Market. Kawaramachi and Shijo Omiya are also within 15 minutes. Karasumaoike Station is only a 4-minute walk and Shijo Station is 7 minutes.

                Musubi Hotel Kyoto Shijo-Omiya ¥7,419
                Musubi Hotel Kyoto Shijo-Omiya

                Musubi Hotel Kyoto Shijo-Omiya

                493 Fujiokacho, Kyoto, Kyoto
                   
                  2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Shijo Omiya, Nishiki Market, and Nijō Castle. Kawaramachi and Higashi Honganji Temple are also within 2 mi (3 km). Kyoto Omiya Station and Kyoto Shijo-omiya Station are within a 5-minute walk.