Japan 2012 - Nijo Castle Kyoto
The great thing about Kyoto is that most of the interesting sights are within the city vicinity - like Nijo Castle which is right in the city centre. Nijo Castle was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu - the first Shogun of the Edo Period. Like Osaka Castle, Nijo Castle has long been associate with Shogun and Ninja intrigues and has been featured in countless movies and TV shows.
Getting to the castle was quite easy. It was a 20 m walk from my hotel. Once you arrive you are faced with the impressive castle gate. The castle is surrounded by a beautiful moat.
Most of the buildings within the Nijo Castle complex are low rise and residential in nature. 5-storey castle keep was burnt down in the 18th Century and never rebuilt.
The buildings boast many interesting design features meant to protect the Shogun from harm - for example the corridors feature nightingale floors which squeak when you walk on them as a warning against intruders, and the Shogun's main audience room is located in the most secured area of the complex, with hidden closets where bodyguards hide to slay any visitors with ill intentions.
Nijo Castle is very interesting as it offers a glimpse into the life of the Shoguns and how they managed to keep themselves alive amidst all the countless invasions and assassination attempts. Definitely a must see in Kyoto.