Since it was raining, we wanted to keep it close to the hotel to start the day. Marilyn was still sick, so today we tried to take it easy to start the day. We stopped by a grocery store to grab a snack and were amazed by their fresh foods. You could pick up a full sashimi plate for under $6, or grab freshly made tempura by the pound.
Nijo Castle – 二条城
Nijo Castle, a UNESCO world heritage site and 400-year-old castle was across from our hotel. We took a rainy morning and explored the castle and its grounds. Although pictures are prohibited within the buildings, the gardens and moat surrounding the castle were picturesque enough. At $5, the audio guide was well worth it.
Nijo Castle was constructed with the help of feudal lords in the area who were all ordered to contribute to its construction. Some parts of it were also moved from elsewhere in the 1600s. It was initially built as the residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns during the Edo period.
The rain turned out to be more atmospheric than a deterrent. It didn’t stop us from exploring the entire castle – inside and out. If you tour the grounds, I’d recommend you get the audioguide for sure. It helped at depth to the exploration.
Our next step was only a few blocks north. We walked up to the Kyoto Imperial Palace to explore the gardens and see what was in bloom there.