On our fourth day in Kyoto we roamed through the city, finding our way to the Nijo Castle, Imperial Palace, Nishiki Food Market and Teramachi Street. The Village Kyoto Hotel was perfectly located for this leisurely day of cultural discovery on foot.
The Nijo Castle (Nijo-jo) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site originally built in 1603. It is considered one of finest examples of early Edo period Momoyama culture in Japan through its use of early Edo period building designs, along with lavish paintings and carvings.
One of the most interesting interior design features of the Ninomaru Palace is the corridor floor. To protect royalty from intruders (or Samaria), the floor is designed to chirp when a visitor steps on the floorboards. Named the Nightingale Floor, the sound is produced by the friction between a nail and a clamp underneath that moves up and down.
Outside of the Ninomaru Palace and within the castle walls, the Ninomaura Garden surrounds a pond named for eternal happiness.
Walking alongside the pond we came across a few tall plants that were wrapped in straw to protect against the cold. This traditional method seems futuristic and almost extraterrestrial in form.
Even though the Winter temperatures kept the air cold and our fingers numb, the trees bloomed with colors of Spring.
Next, we walked through the Imperial Palace for a quick tour of the massive space. I recommend renting a bike here, the space is really big!
Finally, we ended the day at one of my favorite discoveries in Koyoto: the Nishiki Food Market and Teramachi Market. Filled with stores ranging from trendy to antique, from fresh seafood to hot noodles – this place has it all!
The nicest thing about exploring within walking distance of the hotel? The quick walk back to collapse into bed. After a day of visual overload, thank goodness for the hot baths and green tea!