Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

The entry to the residence of the Shogun_s family residence, Ninomaru-goten Palace, which was moved to and expanded within Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first S

The entry to the residence of the Shogun’s family residence, Ninomaru-goten Palace, which was moved to and expanded within Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Shogun of the Edo Shogunate (1603-1867)

 

“Nijo-jo Castle was constructed in 1603 in Kyoto, Japan, by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Shogun of the Edo Shogunate (1603-1867).  In 1626, during the reign of the third Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, the castle was greatly increased in size for the Imperial visit by Emperor Go-Mizuno-o.  In addition, it was at Nijo-jo Castle in 1867 that the fifteenth and last Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu decided to surrender his authority to rule the country to the Emperor, bringing 700 years of samurai rule to an end.  From 1884, the castle was used as an occasional residence by the Imperial Family until 1939 when it was presented to Kyoto City.  In 1994, the castle was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the ‘Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto’.” — Nijo-jo Castle signboard

 

Our visit to Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, coincided with the height of Sakura (Cherry Blossom) season

Our visit to Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, coincided with the height of Sakura (Cherry Blossom) season

 

Elaborate, gilded paintings on the screen walls within Ninomaru-goten Palace in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan; this room was the waiting room for daimyo lords and foreign dignitaries wait

Elaborate, gilded paintings on the screen walls within Ninomaru-goten Palace in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan; this room was the waiting room for daimyo lords and foreign dignitaries waiting for an audience with the Shogun

 

The family crest of the Tokugawa Shogunate was on each door in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan; note that after rule of Japan was returned to the Emperor and the Castle became an Imperial r

The family crest of the Tokugawa Shogunate was on each door in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan; note that after rule of Japan was returned to the Emperor and the Castle became an Imperial residence in 1884, most of the crests were replaced with the Emperor’s family crest

 

“It was here in the Ohiroma of Ninomaru-goten Palace in Nijo-jo Castle in 1867 that the fifteenth Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu made the pronouncement known as Taiseihokan (Restoration of Imiperial Rule) which handed back political power to the Emperor, thus bringing to a close the 265-year reign of the Edo Shogunate.  At the end of the Edo period, the movement to bring down the Shogunate, which was centered primarily on the Satsuma and Choshu domains of southwestern Japan, intensified, and imperial forces were also on the point of joining in the struggle.  In view of this, Yoshinobu resolved to bring the long history of the Tokugawa Shogunate to a close himself, as the last Shogun, working under the assumption that the Tokugawa family would be able to continue to dominate Japanese politics.  In response to petitions from all sides to surrender his political authority, it was here in the Ohiroma that, on the thirteenth day of the tenth month of 18967 (by the old calendar), Yoshinobu assembled senior vassals from forty domains who were resident in Kyoto, and circulated a consultative paper, thus indicating to the domains his intention to return political control of Japan to the Emperor.  On the following day, Yoshinobu tendered a memorial to the Imperial Court, and on the fifteenth, the Emperor sanctioned the return of political power, and the Restoration of Imperial Rule was completed.  Nijo-jo Castle thus was the stage on which the appointment of the first Shogun was announced, and where the end of the shogunal government was decided.” — Nijo-jo Castle signboard

 

The beautifully decorated and painted Ohiroma of Ninomaru-goten Palace in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, where the Shoguns sat on the upper level and received daimyo lords and foreign dig

The beautifully decorated and painted Ohiroma of Ninomaru-goten Palace in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, where the Shoguns sat on the upper level and received daimyo lords and foreign dignitaries who stood on the lower level

 

The moat around Ninomaru-goten Palace in Sakura season, within Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

The moat around Ninomaru-goten Palace in Sakura season, within Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

 

One of the beautiful Japanese gardens in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

One of the beautiful Japanese gardens in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

 

Several of the buildings of Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, set in the gardens, with modern-day Kyoto in the background

Several of the buildings of Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, set in the gardens, with modern-day Kyoto in the background