Nijo Castle District
The gorgeous style of this castle was intended as a demonstration of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616)'s prestige. Nijo-jo Castle was the residence of the Tokugawa shoguns in Kyoto, who had been ruling Japan for over 260 years from 1603 to 1868, and it remains an eloquent testimony to their power. The wide moat, massive stone walls, and heavy yet elaborate gates are still impressive, and were the only fortifications the inhabitants felt necessary, so firm was their grip on power. The grounds are large and contain several lovely gardens as well as groves of plum and cherry trees. The palace building itself is imposing, yet upon closer examination, is rich in decorative detail.
Ninna-ji Temple has it all - an exquisite five-story pagoda, a massive main gate, delightful landscape gardens (with ponds, bridges, and old stones), raked gravel gardens, teahouses, and beautiful halls for prayer and residence. It is famous for its late-blooming cherry trees which draw hosts of admirers every year. It is a grand example of the natural harmony which marks so many Japanese Buddhist temples.
It is Japan's most famous "hiraniwa" (flat garden void of hills or ponds) and reveals the stunning simplicity and harmony of the principles of Zen meditation. Ryoan-ji Temple is famous for its mysterious rock garden, the most celebrated in Japan, which defies attempts at explanation. Enclosed by an earthen wall, fifteen carefully placed rocks seem to drift in a sea of raked white gravel. A viewing platform right above the garden gives visitors an unimpeded view, although from whatever angle you view the garden, you can never see all fifteen stones.
The image of the temple richly adorned in gold leaf reflects beautifully in the water of Kyokochi, the mirror pond. It is perhaps the most widely-recognized image of Kyoto. Seen reflected in the adjoining "mirror pond" with its small islands of rock and pine, Kinkaku-ji Temple, "The Golden Pavilion," is a breathtaking must-see. The building's first purpose was to serve the retiring Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1409) as a residence. The gold-leaf-adorned building was converted into a Zen temple shortly after his death. In an event that was later fictionalized by the renowned author Yukio Mishima, a 21-year-old monk burned Kinkaku-ji Temple down in 1950. The temple was rebuilt in 1955 and continues to function as a storehouse of sacred relic
183 hotels with availability near Nijo Castle
For travelers who want to take in the sights and sounds of Kyoto, The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto is the perfect choice. The hotel is not too far from the city center: just 1 km away, and it normally takes about 120 minutes to reach the airport.
If what you're looking for is a conveniently located hotel in Kyoto, look no further than Khaosan Kyoto Guesthouse. From here, guests can enjoy easy access to all that the lively city has to offer.