Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nijo-jo castle

Nijo-jo is the one of most famous castles located in Kyoto. This castle was built by the founder of the Edo shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu, at the beginning of the 17th century. At the time, building a castle, or having large landholdings were a symbol of power; and Nijo was the symbol of Tokugawa Ieyasu's power.This outstanding building in the center of Kyoto was built to celebrate the Tokugawa victory at Sekigahara (Battle fought over power between Tokugawa Ieyasu and Toyotomi Hideyoshi Held in 1600) and to remind everyone who was in charge, and who had the power.

The palace was built in 1603 and later expanded by Tokugawa Iemitsu, Ieyasu's grandson. Renowned for its architecture, the castle's floors chirp when walked upon. The chirps from the floorboards are described as sounding like a Japanese nightingale, and therefore called nightingale floors. This was perhaps one of the best forms of security alarm that one could have had during those days. Iemitsu also added a five story tower to Nijo castle in the inner moat called Honmaru. However, because of a huge fire in the 18th century, part of the tower was burnt down.

Just by looking at these pictures, I believe that anyone can see the castle's magnificence. Now, imagine just going there; it's such a breathtaking sight. Nijo Castle is pure history.

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