Well who`d of thought that it would be three years since our last trip to Japan in 2019, so it was a great feeling to be stepping back onto a plane again and heading back to Japan to continue our travels around Japan. Flying into Kansa airport our two flights totalled around fourteen and half hour’s flight time! Kansa airport is located on a manmade island on the sea, joined by a bridge it’s a fantastic sight to see from the plane and from the shore.
Landing in the morning clearing customs and immigration its around 10:00am. Quick freshen up and we head off the station to purchase our train tickets. Our first destination is another visit to Kyoto, via the airport train (Haruka) direct to Kyoto, which takes exactly one hour 20 minutes.
Heading straight to our hotel which was about a 5 min walk from the station we dropped our bags off and headed straight back out to our first garden and castle from our very busy itinerary, which was about a 40 minute walk. This was the Nijo-jo castle and Ninomaru Palace and its gardens, which is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Built in 1603 the Nijo Castle was the residency of the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603 – 1867) Tokugawa Ieysasu. 23 years later the palace buildings were completed by his grandson Iemitsu, and later the castle’s keep was explained by five stories. In 1867 the Tokugawa Shogunate fell, and the castle was used as imperial palace, but was then donated to the city and opened to the public.
After paying our admission, which was only 800 yen (about £4.80 at the current rate) for the gardens and ground, we entered the castle grounds through the large eastern gate, were direction sign’s guided us around the grounds in a clock wise route, leading us to the Kawamon gate and to the Ninimaru Palace then on to it’s stunning traditional garden! Full of Japanese pine trees, with a large pond, stones, bridges and waterfall…
There were lots of nice viewpoints throughout the grounds also another smaller garden with a pond and nicely positioned pine trees.
While walking arounds the grounds we noticed that there were loads of trees! And some very nice mature examples of Japanese Black and Red pines. In Japan, and especially in these types of grounds, even the large mature trees are maintained managed and styled. Something we noticed when we first started visiting Japan.
From the castle we headed back to the hotel the Kyoto Shinkyogoku Shopping Street, which basically is an indoor street full of traditional and new shops and restaurants. Once back at the hotel, and after a quick freshen up it was back out to find something to eat!
In total we walked 9 miles, which isn’t bad considering we had been awake for over 35 hours!
We’re always be about a day behind with the blogs, due to time writing and editing photos!
Stephen & Anthony
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