Visit to Nijo Castle, unesco world heritage site in Kyoto. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

According to the City of Kyoto, the Nijo Castle has “witnessed some of the most important events in Japanese history in the 400 years since it was built.”

This castle is now designated as a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the top attractions in Kyoto.

 

 

Nijo Castle as a part of a one day Kyoto itinerary

I made a visit to Nijo Castle with an unlimited one day Kyoto bus pass:

 

How to spend 5 days in Kyoto

 

 

How to get to Nijo Castle

Visit to Nijo Castle. How to get to Nijo castle by bus, train, subway. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

Google Maps is a pretty reliable way to figure out your transportation options around Kyoto.

 

Bus to Nijo Castle

Visit to Nijo Castle. Kyoto station to Nijo Castle by bus - city bus or tourist bus (raku bus) with one day Kyoto bus pass. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

There’s a bus stop right in front of Nijo Castle.

If you’re coming from Kyoto station, it’s pretty easy to get from Kyoto station to Nijo Castle by bus.

You’ll find a platform that has a sign for buses to the castle, and you can catch a regular city bus or tourist bus. You can just take the next bus to Nijo Castle that arrives.

 

JR bus to Nijo Castle with JR pass

Visit to Nijo Castle. Kyoto station to Nijo Castle by bus - free JR bus with JR pass. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

If you’re traveling in Kyoto with a JR pass, you can get to Nijo Castle for free.

There’s a bus stop on the JR bus route that is a 15 minute walk from the castle entry.

 

Train to Nijo Castle

You can also go by train (subway) to Nijo Castle.

There is a subway station that’s located about a 10-15 minute walk from the castle entry.

 

 

Japanese language tip: CASTLE

You might also hear Nijo Castle being referred to as Nijo-jo Castle, or just Nijo-jo.

The attached jo means castle.

But you wouldn’t use jo on its own to talk about a castle in general. This is used when attached to the name of a castle.

On its own, you would call a castle shiro or oshiro.

 

 

Now…

A bit of what you can see with a visit to Nijo Castle!

 

Higashi Ote-mon Gate

Visit to Nijo Castle. Higashi Ote-mon gate - main entry. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

Kara-mon Gate

As said by the City of Kyoto, this gate has:

Colored carvings of cranes, pine, bamboo, and plum blossoms, symbolizing longevity.

The carved lions protect the palace.

 

Visit to Nijo Castle. Kara-mon gate. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Kara-mon gate. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Kara-mon gate. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Kara-mon gate. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

Ninomaru-goten Palace

As said by the City of Kyoto, in part:

The palace has 33 rooms and over 800 tatami mats and is decorated with paintings.

Subjects include hawks, tigers, and leopards, all of which stress the authority of the Shogun, as well as cherry blossoms and other flowers representing the 4 seasons.

Taking pictures wasn’t allowed for the interior of the palace.

 

Visit to Nijo Castle. Ninomaru-goten palace. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Ninomaru-goten palace. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Ninomaru-goten palace - walking to interior. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Ninomaru-goten palace - walking to interior. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Ninomaru-goten palace. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

Ninomaru Garden

Visit to Nijo Castle. Ninomaru Garden - japanese gardens. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Ninomaru Garden - japanese gardens. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

Honmaru-goten Palace and Gardens

As said by the City of Kyoto:

It is a very rare survival of the palace architectural style of an imperial princely family.

As such, it has been designated as an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government.

 

Visit to Nijo Castle. Honmaru-goten palace and Japanese gardens. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Honmaru-goten palace and Japanese gardens. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Honmaru-goten palace and Japanese gardens. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

Inner moat

Visit to Nijo Castle. moat. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. moat. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. moat. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

Japanese teahouse

There’s a teahouse located on the grounds of Nijo Castle.

This Waraku-an teahouse would be a good place to stop by for a break to rest up a bit, and more importantly, to make your own matcha green tea!

 

Visit to Nijo Castle. Kyoto teahouse for matcha green tea experience. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Kyoto teahouse for places to eat. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Kyoto teahouse for places to eat. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Kyoto teahouse for matcha green tea experience. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Kyoto teahouse for matcha green tea experience. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Kyoto teahouse for places to eat. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Seiryu-en Garden - Japanese gardens at teahouse. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

Carp!

You can also buy carp food to feed the carp.

That will cost 200 yen (US$2).

 

Visit to Nijo Castle. Bridge to palace and Japanese gardens. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Bridge with carp. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Carp. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Buy carp food. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

How much time is needed at Nijo Castle?

You’ll probably end up spending 1-2 hours here.

Be prepared for some walking!

 

Visit to Nijo Castle. How much time to walk around Nijo Castle. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. How much time to walk around Nijo Castle. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. How much time to walk around Nijo Castle. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. How much time to walk around Nijo Castle. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. How much time to walk around Nijo Castle. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. How much time to walk around Nijo Castle. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. How much time to walk around Nijo Castle. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

How much does entry to Nijo Castle cost?

Visit to Nijo Castle. Buy admissions ticket to Nijo castle. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

Entry to Nijo Castle will be around 600 yen (US$5). Price subject to change!

 

Visit to Nijo Castle. How much does Nijo castle ticket price cost. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

Check the official website for updated info.

 

 

What are the hours?

Visit to Nijo Castle. Summer hours - August. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

Hours can vary based on season and it may be closed one day of the week. (Tuesdays in July, August, December, and January.) It may also be closed around New Year’s Day.

Once again, check the official website for updated info.

 

 

Are there guided tours?

It’s possible that there will be a guided tour in English, as well as audio tours.

In 2018, the cost of the guided tour was 2,000 yen (US$18), and the audio tour was 500 yen (US$5).

See the information booth for current offerings.

 

Visit to Nijo Castle. Guided tours in English - cost. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Audio tours in English. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

Is there luggage storage?

There are coin lockers and a luggage check area.

 

Visit to Nijo Castle. Luggage storage and coin lockers at Nijo Castle. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Luggage storage and coin lockers at Nijo Castle. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Luggage storage and coin lockers at Nijo Castle - how much cost. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

Are there places to eat near Nijo Castle?

There’s more than just tea at the Nijo Castle teahouse if you want some snacks as you’re walking around the castle grounds.

 

Visit to Nijo Castle. Teahouse menu with food prices. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

Also near the exit is a small cafe where you can sit down to eat some snacks too!

 

Visit to Nijo Castle. Cafe menu with food prices. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Cafe menu with food prices. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Cafe, places to eat near Nijo Castle. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

There’s a gift shop too

Visit to Nijo Castle. Gift shop for Japan souvenirs. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

And if you’re visiting Nijo Castle on a hot summer day…

Be sure to rest when you need to!

 

Visit to Nijo Castle. Summer hot weather in July and August. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

And on your way out, you can go through some mist to cool you down a bit!

 

Visit to Nijo Castle. Summer hot weather in July and August with mist. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Visit to Nijo Castle. Summer hot weather in July and August with mist. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

HAPPY NIJO CASTLE VISIT!

 

Use this Kyoto tourist map to plan out your 5 days in Kyoto with Nijo Castle!

 



More quick tips for planning your trip to Japan

There are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.

For more on planning your trip to Kyoto, see the 1-day, 2-day, and 5-day Kyoto itineraries. If you'll be in Kyoto in the spring, also see the 1-day cherry blossom photo walk.

Hotels in Kyoto
Search for deals on Kyoto hotels here.

For hostels across Japan, try this top backpacker's hostel chain.

Kyoto can also be a good place to stay at a Japanese-style ryokan, like this one. Or if you're on more of a budget, try this one.

Also use the map below to see more hotels in Kyoto!

Booking.com

Shoes for Japan
For summer travel, hiking sandals can be perfect for walking around cities and for many of the short day hikes! See travel sandals like these for women and these for men.

Japan is a mountain country so be sure to get in some hikes!

See trail running shoes too (for women - for men) for other solid hikes including climbing Mt Fuji.

Speaking of hiking, I love this daypack.

The super fast train in Japan
In general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it.

See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.

See an example of traveling by the fast train from Tokyo to Kyoto.

Natural disasters in Japan
Unfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.

My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon.

See how much insurance costs for your trip.

Best travel guides for Japan
If you're at step 1 in your planning process, have a look at this Discover Japan book.

For "books" that won't take up space in your suitcase, see the best PDF guides.

See more of the best books for Japan trip planning.

Cheap(er) flights to Japan
I used this website to find the cheapest flight and to book my recent flight to Japan.

Sometimes it makes sense to book direct - my preferred way!

But this booking site will search a combination of airlines, including those who aren't partner airlines, which means that they can help you find cheaper flights by booking individual flights for you as part of one flight itinerary. This can be especially helpful if you're not flying out of a major hub with direct flights to Japan.

I've missed a flight booked through them and it was taken care of with hotel and new flight.

See more tips for finding cheap flights to Japan.

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That's it for now!