Strolling in Nijo-jo Castle

Nijo-jo Castle (10 September 2020)

Nijo-jo castle located not far from the Imperial Palace, which was built as the residence of the Tokugawa shoguns in Kyoto to guard the Imperial palace namely but actually to show the power of the shogun and for vigilance to Emperor. It was eyewitness of 260-year history of the Tokugawa shogunate from the announcement of appointment of first Shogun Ieyasu to the the declaration of last shogun Yoshinobu, returning the authority to the Imperial Court.

We can enter it through Higashi Ote-mon gate (east gate), typical massive gate may not be harmonized with surrounding elegant atmosphere.

東大手門 Higashi Ote-mon gate (east gate)

. The gate was altered for the visit of the Gomizuo Emperor to one-storey avoiding look-down.

The Karamon Gate, relocated from Fushimi Castle originally set up, it has typical decoration of Momoyama era magnificent and brilliant carvings of auspicious symbols.

唐門 Karamon Gate

唐門 Karamon Gate

Brilliant carvings of auspicious symbols, like pine, bamboo, Japanese apricot blossom, crane and turtle, symbolizing longevity and guardian animal like lion and dragon.

Ninomaru-goten palace, connected buildings, is archetypical of the shoin-zukuri style, visitors can admire wall paintings, carved transoms and exquisite metalworks of 33 rooms walking through “nightingale corridors”. As it is prohibited to take photos, please find form here if you want to see inside. https://nijo-jocastle.city.kyoto.lg.jp/introduction/highlights/ninomaru/?lang=en

二の丸御殿 Ninomaru-goten palace

Ninomaru garden was built according to the Shinsenhorai ideology forming paradise, which is designed to be enjoyed from Shogun seat in some rooms in the palace.

二の丸庭園 Ninomaru garden

二の丸庭園 Ninomaru garden

大広間外観 Outside view of Oohiroma

Outside view of Oohiroma, attached temporal ventilation system looks so bad.

The base of the keep tower, on this place a five-storey with 6 floors tower used to stand however was struck by lightning and burned down and never rebuilt.

天守跡 The base of the keep tower

From the base of the keep tower we can enjoy views of city of Kyoto.

I was able to relax in newly constructed Seiryu-en garden northside of the castle.

清流園 Seiryu-en garden

Seiryu-en garden laid out in 1965 is a fusion of Eastern and Western style

枝垂れ槐(えんじゅ) Weeping Japanese pagoda

。Weeping Japanese pagoda (Sophora japonica f. Pendulum) Weeping variety of Japanese pagoda tree, this is my first time to weeping type

 

Learn at Kyoto Imperial palace

 Kyoto Imperial palace (10 September 2020)

To visit the Kyoto Imperial Palace, I walked along with long earthen wall with few other visitors after passed in front of Kenreimon gate main gate of the Imperial palace.

正門である建礼門 Kenreimon gate main gate of the Imperial palace

This main gate is only used for important rituals such as enthronement and Emperor and national guests who can pass through this gate

築地塀 Earthen wall

Earthen wall surrounding the palace which 450m from north to south and 250m from east to west

I was attracted by elegant shape of a carriage porch.It is exclusively used for high ranking courtiers when they attend court rituals or had an audience with the emperor.

御車寄 Okurumayose, Carriage porch

I was able to feel dignity of the most important but simple design building, Shishinden, hall for state ceremonies, the most important building in the palace, simple but dignified design

朱塗りの月華門 Gekkamon, vermilion gate

Gekkamon, vermilion gate, one of the naikaku-mon gates that comprised the dairi and roof of Shishinden

承明門から見た紫宸殿 Shishinden from Jomeimon gate

Shishinden from Jomeimon gate

紫宸殿 Shishinden, hall for state ceremonies

紫宸殿 左近の桜 品種はヤマザクラ East side cherry tree in front of garden of Shishinden

East side cherry tree in front of garden of Shishinden

紫宸殿 右近の橘 West side Citrus tachibana tree in front of garden of Shishinden

West side Citrus tachibana tree in front of garden of Shishinden

高御座と御帳台 The Imperial Throne and August Seat of the Empress.

The Imperial Throne and August Seat of the Empress. Unfortunately, public exhibition was finished and only pictures are exhibited

清涼殿への通路 Corridor to Seiryoden

Corridor to Seiryoden, it is temporally closed because of under repairment

Kogosyo, it was used to hold ceremonies and imperial audiences with members of the samurai class. It is famous place held called Kogosyo meeting for discussions how to deal with the Shogunate during the Meiji Restoration.

小御所 Kogosyo

小御所の障壁画 Wall painting in Kogosyo

Wall painting in Kogosyo

Court yard for Kemari, between Kogosyo and Gogakumosyo, study place for Emperor, Emperor sometimes listened sound of game of Kemari.

蹴鞠の庭 Court yard for Kemari, ancient football game of the Imperial Court

蹴鞠の庭 Court yard for Kemari, ancient football game of the Imperial Court

Court yard for Kemari, ancient football game of the Imperial Court

I enjoyed inner gardens and Imperial residential Palace, Otsunegoten and felt ancient elegant atmosphere by them

御池庭 欅橋 Keyagibashi bridge Oikeniwa garden

Keyagibashi bridge Oikeniwa garden

ススキ Japanese pampas grass

Japanese pampas grass tells us autumn is coming

御常御殿 天皇陛下の儀式と生活の場所 Imperial residential Palace, Otsunegoten

Imperial residential Palace, Otsunegoten

Next destination is Nijyo-jo castle

 

Visit to Sento Imperial palace and Omiya Imperial palace

Sento Imperial palace and Omiya Imperial palace (10 September 2020)

The Sento place was served as a residence for the Emperor Emeritus and the next Omiya palace was built for Empress Dowager in Edo erta.

Main gate of Sento palace, only open fro the Imperial family or national guest.

仙洞御所 正門 Main gate of Sento palace,

The Omiya palace where Empress Dowager Eisho lived in 19th century. Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress and Their Majesties the Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita stay at this Palace during royal visits currently after the Imperial palace moved to Tokyo.

大宮御所御常御殿 Omiya palace Empress Dowager

Japanese apricot in the garden of pine, bamboo and Japanese apricot, in the Omiya palace

大宮御所 松竹梅の庭の梅 Japanese apricot in the garden pine, bamboo and Japanese apricot, in Omiya palace

Pine, in the garden pine, bamboo and Japanese apricot, in the Omiya palace

大宮御所 松竹梅の庭の松 Pine, in the garden pine, bamboo and Japanese apricot, in Omiya palace

Henon bamboo, in the garden pine, bamboo and Japanese apricot, in Omiya palace

大宮御所 松竹梅の庭の破竹(呉竹)Henon bamboo, in the garden pine, bamboo and Japanese apricot, in Omiya palace

North pond in Sento Imperial Palace.

仙洞御所庭園の北池 North pond in Sento Imperial Palace.

百日紅 Crape myrtle

Crape myrtle

Yushintei, a teahouse with thatch and shingle roof.

又新亭(ゆうしんてい)、茅葺と杮葺の茶室で落ち着いた雰囲気です。Yushintei, a teahouse with thatch and shingle roof.

又新亭(ゆうしんてい) 枝を残した四ツ目垣と円窓、Yushintei, teahouse, Yotsume-gaki lattice fence with small branch, and a round window  

Yotsume-gaki lattice fence with small branch, and a round window

South pond scene, shoreline called “suhama” with laid down flat and oval stones and some bridges including zig zag bridge called Yatsuhashi covered by wisteria vines.

仙洞御所庭園の南池 Suuth pond in Sento Imperial Palace.

Teahouse Seikatei, designed for tea ceremony of Sencha (middle class green tea) and enjoyable for tea, meal and drink sake. The view from this teahouse to south pond is a previous one.

醒花亭(せいかてい) Teahouse Seikatei

ベンガラ塗りの美しい壁 Beautiful wall with Bengal, iron oxide red

Beautiful wall with Bengal, iron oxide red

萩の花 Bush clover

Bush clover

Pine tree in the front garden of Omiya palace. Pruning called “Gosyo sukashi” to form branches horizontal and downward style

大宮御所 前庭の松 Pine tree on the front garden of Omiya palace

Let’s move to the Imperial Palace next.

Kyoto Gyoen National garden and Kan’in-no-miya residence

Kyoto Gyoen National garden (10 September 2020)

Kyoto Gyoen National garden is huge garden including Imperial palace and Sento imperial palace, but start from outside imperial palace. There are 9 gates at Kyoto Gyoen National garden, but most famous one is Hamaguri gate.

Hamaguri gate, literally Clam gate, the gate known as unopened except in a case of fire, so opened like heated clam. The official name is Shinzaemon.

Hamaguri gate

Huge gravel streets are designed in the garden

Main road in Kyoto Gyoen National garden

Also we can enjoy strolling along natural flow named demizu-no-small river

Demizu-no-small river

I visited Kan’in-no-miya residence, former one of the imperial families’ residence through an elegant shape of East gate.Elegant shape of East gate of Kan'in-no-miya residence.

I relaxed in a calm and tranquil old residence of imperial family’s residence

Middle court of Kan'in-no-miya residence.

Kan'in-no-miya residence.

Let’s move to Sento Imperial palace next.

The Imperial Palace visiting tour

The Imperial Palace tour (18 06 2020)

Tours are conducted twice a day (10:00am and 13:00 one-hour tour, admission free) except Sunday, Monday and national holidays.

You can join after registration in advance or on the spot 30 min. before start.

(currently numbers are limited 20 persons in advance and 30 persons on the spot by COVID19 influence)

伏見櫓 Fushimi yagura (keep)

The Imperial Palace, former Edo castle where Tokugawa shoguns lived in.

In the palace, it can be found mixture of buildings or construction built after Meiji Restoration as well as built in Edo period.

桔梗門 kikyoumon gate

Tour starts after through Kikyoumon gate and briefing in a visitor’s house.

旧枢密院 the former Privy Council

The former Privy Council

After passed by buildings of the former Privy Council, you can watch Fujimi yagura (keep) .

富士見櫓 Fushimi yagura (keep)

Fushimi yagura (keep)

Fujimi yagura (keep) which had important role after the main castle tower was burned down by the great fire of Meireki in 1657 and never rebuilt.

長和殿東庭 the east plaza in front of Chowaden Hall

The east plaza in front of Chowaden Hall

We enter into the east plaza in front of Chowaden Hall of the Kyuden (Imperial palace), where many public greetings such as New Year’s Day or Emperor’s birthday are celebrated.

正門鉄橋(二重橋)から見た正門石橋 the Stone bridge from the Iron bridge of main gate

the Stone bridge from the Iron bridge

We can enjoy views of the Stone bridge from the Iron bridge of main gate. Popular pictures from outside the place is like this.

石垣と土塁の組み合わせの深い堀の上に京都の伏見城から移築されたと伝えられる伏見櫓 Fushimi yagura (keep) is said relocated from Fushimi castle in Kyoto, standing on combination of stone walls and soil mound against deep moat.

Fushimi yagura (keep)

Another side we can see beautiful Fushimi yagura (keep) standing on combination of stone walls and soil mound against deep moat.

It is said relocated from Fushimi castle in Kyoto.

富士見櫓とビル群 Fushimi yagura with buildings

Fushimi yagura with buildings

On the way back to visitor center, the Fushimi yagura can be seen again with many buildings backdrop.

Since the buildings facing the Imperial palace are prohibited to show any advertisement, buildings look like obeying to the Fushimi yagura.

石垣 Stone wall

In the palace, we can find many kind of stone walls.

大名の印のある石 Stone with feudal lord's mark

Stone with feudal lord’s mark

緻密な石垣 Stone wall by fine work

Stone wall by fine work

We can find many plants and flowers in calm environment.

紅葉 Maples in the palace

fresh green leaves of Maples

山紫陽花 Hydrangea

Hydrangea