Nijo Castle Sakura Festival 2019 – Hi-tech Displays with Blossoms in Kyoto



Nijo Castle Sakura Festival provides you with an excellent opportunity to know more about Japanese history and feel the arrival of spring in Kyoto. There is a Chinese kanji character “shiro (城)” in the name of Nijo-jo (二条城). The shiro was originally a fortress. Its purpose was to defend strategically important sites – ports, river crossings, or crossroads from enemies’ attacks.

Typically, it was a gigantic building, made of quarried rocks incorporated into beautiful landscapes. Nijo-jo wasn’t actually built as a fortress, but as a gigantic and beautiful “residence.” Who were the residents? They were members of the Tokugawa clan, who ruled Japan as shogun for about 260 years before 1867. At that year, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the last shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate, returned government to the Imperial Family. And Nijo-jo, which translates literally to Nijo Castle, was where the last shogun declared his resignation and ended the Tokugawa era known as the Edo Period.

History of Nijo Castle

The construction of Nijo Castle started in 1601 at the behest of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1867). He ordered all the feudal lords to send for construction workers from all over their domains and make them go to Kyoto. The castle was originally for the Kyoto residence of Ieyasu and then all the Tokugawa shoguns after completed during the reign of Tokugawa Iemitsu, the grandson of Ieyasu, in 1626. Iemitsu expanded the castle area by adding a five-story donjon.

Even if you aren’t particularly interested in Tokugawa’s history, Tokugawa Yoshinobu may be unavoidable. Japan’s modern history can be traced back to the fact that Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the last shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate, decided to return power to the Emperor and then stepped down from the shogun position. This great change in the political system came to be known as “Taisei-hokan (大政奉還).” And Nijo Castle reminds many Japanese that it was the very place of this historical event that features Yoshinobu.

After the Taisei-hokan, Nijo Castle became an imperial palace for a while before the Imperial Family donated it to Kyoto city and opened it to the public. In 1994, Nijo Castle appeared in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.

The Ninomaru Palace

The Ninomaru Palace is one of the main buildings in Nijo Castle complex. It served as the residence and office of the shogun during his courtesy visits to the Imperial Family. The Ninomaru Palace is also a complex of multiple separate buildings that connect with each other by “uguisu-bari (鶯張り)” or nightingale floor corridors. The designers and engineers of old times created uguisu-bari to make creaking sounds when someone walks on them. So, those who were in the castle could quickly eliminate the danger of enemies sneaking into the palace.

The Honmaru Palace

The Honmaru Palace consists of a second palace complex and a five-story castle keep. Unfortunately, fires burned both structures in the 18th century. Unfortunately, people haven’t restored those buildings after the fire. After the end of the Tokugawa era, the Imperial residence moved from the Katsura Imperial Villa in Nishi-kyo, the western suburbs of Kyoto, to the Nijo Castle Honmaru site as you see it today.

Cherry Blossoms at Nijo Castle

Enjoy Cherry Blossoms of Daytime

The Honmaru and Ninomaru Palaces feature a large green space and walking paths with accurate trees. Especially, four hundred cherry trees of about 50 varieties grow throughout the castle grounds, including late blooming varieties. Because of this, the blooming season from the late March to mid-April attracts nearly 300,000 flower-viewing fans and makes them aah and wow.

Enjoy Cherry Blossoms at Night

Projection mapping technology is magic. It invites people to the world of beautiful illuminations. Last year, computer graphic images of a flying dragon cast on the “Kara-mon (唐門)” gate, a national important cultural property in the castle, was a thrilling part of Nijo Castle Sakura Festival. This year, the image of a beautiful butterfly soaring up into heaven will catch your eye. This illumination event, which started in 2017, takes place at the end of March, the peak season of cherry blossoms in full bloom.

Details and Access

• Dates: March 21st – April 14th, 2019
• Place: Former Imperial Villa Nijo Castle
• Address: 541 Nijojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto
• Time: Refer to the following brief schedule
8:45 – 16:00 (for daytime view)
18:00 – 21:00 (for nighttime view)
• Admission(daytime):
¥600 (Admission free for visitors in kimono)
¥400 surcharged to visit the Ninomaru Palace
• Admission(nighttime):
¥600 (Daytime admission costs extra ¥600.)
• Official website: http://nijo-jocastle.city.kyoto.lg.jp/
• Access (railroad):
A short walk from Nijo-jo-mae Station on the Tozai Subway Line

English audio guides are available for rent (¥500) at a kiosk just inside the “Higashi-otemon (東大手門)” gate.

Closing Remarks

In the very last scene from the 2003 film, The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise, a young Japanese emperor was sitting on the throne surrounded by his court in an immense tatami-floored hall, the main audience room of the Ninomaru Palace in Nijo Castle. Visiting the castle and seeing gorgeous Sakura there will blow you to a different time and place. The one when powerful Tokugawa shoguns and revered emperors ruled Japan in opulence.

If you would like to see this outstandingly beautiful Sakura in Nijo castle and explore Kyoto with a friendly local guide, please check the banner below!

An Ultimate Idea Source for Your Kyoto Stay!

Kyoto is an old capital of Japan and a cultural and historical mecca for everyone who visits this country. It is the most popular city among tourists and a must-see destination indeed. Kyoto boasts over 4000 historical places including shrines, temples, and attracts visitors with its charming atmosphere of an ancient city. This city is great for shopping, bicycling, hiking, museums, galleries, green spaces, and features many famous festivals. In the following article, you will find 100 things and many ideas on how to spend your time in Kyoto! Please, have a look, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/100-things-kyoto-sightseeing-spots-traditional-japanese-events

See More Kyoto Spring Events and Festivals This Year!

Kyoto features different beauty in each season. A lot of people visit Kyoto to enjoy the elegance from canopies of beautiful cherry blossoms that cover the whole city of Kyoto in spring. On the other hand, there are many other spring events to boast and worthy of note. The following article picked up the must-see events in the ancient capital of Japan this spring. Please take a look!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/popular-kyoto-spring-events-festivals

Enjoy Sakura in Japan!

Cherry blossoms are an essential part of Japanese culture. And, viewing cherry blossoms (Hanami) is very popular in Japan during the spring. This is because cherry blossoms, which the Japanese call “Sakura” are stunning at this season.

If you are planning to visit Japan this spring and want to discover more cherry blossoms spots in Kyoto area, please check the following article. It’s covering the best Hanami spots in the old capital and provides you with the essential information, so you can get the most from your Sakura trip!

Here`s the link. URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/2566/ 

Osaka is very close to Kyoto. It will be a miss if you don’t visit Osaka to see cherry blossoms when you are in the Kansai area in spring. Please check the following article to find out the best cherry blossoms viewing spots in Osaka and Kansai!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/osaka-kansai-cherry-blossoms-spots-sakura-festivals-feel-spring 

Kyoto and Osaka have many beautiful spots to see Cherry blossoms. However, other areas also have excellent places for hanami. Tokyo features many of those spots as well! If you are in Tokyo around spring and looking for a place to see cherry blossoms, Why don’t you check the following article?

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/1805/

Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5363/


Have two kids. Teach English at an “eikaiwa” school more than a decade Love cake.

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