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Genrikyuujo Castle | Introduction
Eijo CastleIt was built at the beginning of the Edo period as an apartment for the family of the Shogun Tokugawa, and witnessed the rise and fall of the Tokugawa period.KyotoThere are a lot of monuments worth visiting, and the most impressive and important one for me is Nijo Castle. We know that the Tokugawa family was the first shogun of the Edo Shogunate, and since it was the residence of the shogun's family in Kyoto, the building is of course very ornate. The castle is divided into three areas, starting from Higashiotemon Gate, entering the second line of defense, Ninomaru-Gu, and finally entering the main line of defense, Honmaru.
Higashi Otemon is the main gate of Nijo Castle, and is an important cultural property in its own right. The Higashi Otemon gate appears to be a very heavy gate, and is called the Irumaya-zukuri (入母屋造櫓門). The moat outside is not very wide, and it is said that the Tokugawa family thought that it would be enough if they could not be attacked with long swords and spears.
Ninomaru | Tang Clan
After entering the Otemon Gate, you will find Ninomaru, and the first thing you will see is a square. The small stones on the ground of the square are a standard part of the defense of ancient Japanese cities, and they make a sound when someone passes through them. In front of you is the splendid Tang Gate, the main gate of Ninomaru, which is decorated with gold leaf. The shapes of Japanese castle gates represent different levels, and the Tang Gate is the highest level.
The Ninomaru Gotei was built in 1625 and has 33 rooms, typical of Momoyama architecture. Ninomaru Gotei has six main buildings, all of which are national treasures, and is the only existing large-scale complete palace in Japan. No photographs are allowed inside, but there are more than 3,000 wall paintings inside, which were started in 1626 by painters led by Kano Tanyuu. Since photographs are not allowed, the paintings can only be recorded in writing. The Ninomaru Imperial Palace is very large, so it takes about an hour for everyone inside to enjoy it in peace and quiet.
From here, you can see the family crest on the roof. Normally, the royal chrysanthemums are placed on top of the royal family crests, but the Tokugawa family crests are higher than the royal crests, which of course means that they are a show of power. The Emperor later ordered the removal of the higher-than-royal Tokugawa family crests from Nijo Castle, but there were still some that escaped, as can be seen from this viewpoint.
Behind the Ninomaru Goten is the Ninomaru Garden, which was remodeled as a pond and spring walkway for Emperor Mizuo, who stayed here after 1626, meaning that you can see various views by walking around the pond, or in plain English, the views look different from different perspectives.
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Honmaru Goten is the center of Nijo Castle and contains the remains of the original five-storey Tenshokaku (castle), but unfortunately, the entire Tenshokaku can no longer be seen, and only the pedestal remains. Climbing up to the base, you can see the whole of the current Honmaru Gotei. The Honmaru Goten was originally built by Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third shogun of the Tokugawa Dynasty, and was the foundation for the current size of Nijo Castle. In fact, Honmaru Gotei is larger than Ninomaru Gotei, but it is only listed as an Important Cultural Property because the real Honmaru Gotei burned down in a fire in 1788 (along with the Gojyo Tenshokaku), so the current Honmaru Gotei is actually a transplant of the old Katsushingu Gotei, the imperial palace of the Kyoto Gosho.
The biggest attraction of the garden behind Honmaru is the Kamo Seven Stones. Japanese people like to appreciate strange stone landscapes, and Kamo Shichishi's withered landscapes are quite famous.
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