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Kyoto, Japan Attractions

Nijo Castle

Enveloped by two concentric rings of what were once fortifications, Kyoto’s Nijo Castle was first occupied in 1626. Built as a residence for the Kyoto Shoguns, the castle was the Japanese Prime Minister’s residence starting in 1893, and has been open to the public since 1940. Visitors enter through a majestic gate along the castle’s eastern perimeter. The inner walls of Nijo protect Honmaru Palace and gardens, which feature manicured pine trees, ponds, and ornamental stones. The palace is comprised of a number of separate buildings, connected by hallways with flooring that was designed to squeak as a security precaution against intruders. The floors of the actual palace are covered with tatami mats and the ceilings are intricately decorated.

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