Nijo Castle was probably one of the more awe-inspiring places we visited while in Japan. It just happens to have been the home of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the last Shogun of Japan.
I know him better as his fictionalized version, Toranaga, from what is probably my favourite novel of all time, the aptly name Shogun by James Clavell. I first read that massive tome when I was about nine year old, after finding a copy on my grandmother’s bookshelf, and was forever fascinated by Japan after that.
The trouble with really cool places like this is that they are always crowded with people. Combine that with the fact that they are almost never open during the best early morning or evening light, and getting great photos is pretty much impossible.
Some “kind of okay” photos are about the best you can hope for, but that’s okay because you really need to see this for yourself. Photos really do not do justice to the obscenely intricate, painted carvings on the gate for instance, and you’ll never get to see the interiors where photography is completely prohibited (although some rude people have apparently ignored this rule as there a few snapshots lurking online).
What a thrill it was to walk through the home of the Shogun, a figure that has enthralled me so much as a child and adult alike.