DSC21873, Honmaru Palace, Nijo Castle, Kyoto, Japan
Castle Nijo-jo was originally built in 1603 as the official Kyoto residence of the first Tokugawa Shogun, Ieyasu. It was completed in 1626 by the third Tokugawa Shogun, Iemitsu, with the addition of some structures transferred from Fushimi Castle (built in the Momoyama period, 1573-1614). Nijo Castle is one of the finest examples of Momoyama architecture in Japan that makes splendid use of early Edo period building designs, and the lavish paintings and carving that Iemitsu ordered.
When Yoshinobu, the fifteenth Tokugawa Shogun, returned sovereignty to the Emperor in 1867, the castle became the property of the Imperial family. In 1884, it was renamed the Nijo Detached Palace. In 1939, it was donated to the City of Kyoto and renamed Nijo Castle (Nijo-jo). The castle's 400th anniversary was celebrated in 2003.
Honmaru Palace: The Honmaru (Inner Palace) was added to the castle complex in 1626 upon the orders of the third Tokugawa Shogun, Iemitsu. A five-story castle tower (donjon) was part of the original construction, but it was struck by lightning and burned down in 1750. Later, in 1788, some parts of the palace were destroyed by a city-wide fire. The present structure (built in 1847), a part of the Katsura Imperial Palace, was transferred here between 1893 and 1894. The structure, considered to be a perfect example of this style, was designated an Important Cultural Property. The garden south of the Honmaru was built in the Meiji Period. The old site of castle tower remains in then southwest corner of the garden.