Construction of Nijo Castle was begun in 1601 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and it is now listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. The architecture was ostentatious for its day – designed to illuminate the Shogun’s growing strength in contrast to the emperor’s dwindling power. Don’t miss the ‘nightingale floors’, made to creak on purpose to give away any intruding assassins.
The castle’s famous garden, adjoining the Ninomaru Palace, is attributed to the renowned landscape architect Kobori Enshu. The garden features islands in a pond, and is said to be typical of the excessive designs of the Edo period.