Today, I visited Nijojo-mae, or Nijo-jo Castle. I was definitely happy that it wasn’t too far of a walk from my apartment–especially on a very hot and humid day like today. (I’m really beginning to appreciate that the Global Seminar was scheduled during June and July instead of August with its relentless heat).
While at Nijojo-mae, I went inside of the Ninomaru Palace (pictured above). In particular, I was struck by the differences in architecture and artistic style of the interior. This Palace was starkly different from the temple complexes that I’ve visited with my class. Unfortunately, no photography was permitted inside.
I was first surprised with the dimensions of the hallways throughout the complex. The hallways seemed to be both very wide and tall; the ceiling panels were painted with beautiful designs and flowers. Throughout the building, there seemed to be more of an emphasis on delicate woodwork.
After the Palace, I walked the grounds of the Castle to view the gardens (pictured above). Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed with what I saw. Influenced by what I learned about the aesthetics of Zen gardens in the Global Seminar, I was very surprised to see a preference to use grass over moss in many of the spaces; in some areas, the grass was overgrown and looked very disorganized. In general, the moss did not seem well tended. In my opinion, the grounds seemed to follow a hybrid Japanese-Western style garden. I felt this detracted from the Castle’s aesthetics.