This exhibit is a replica…. the most common sign seen in Nijojo Castle. Almost every interior painting, screen, and mural was only a replica of the original inside the Shogunate era castle. That isn’t to say the castle was boring, it just would have been nice to be able to see some of the original artwork that decorated the walls and ceilings. Unfortunately no photos or sketches were allowed inside the castle, so all the photos (gallery below) are of the beautiful grounds.
Each step you took in the castle was accompanied by creaks and groans owing to the Nightingale floors… a very old school security system to prevent assassins from sneaking up in the dark. The exterior walls are all movable so that one could regulate air flow by shifting them open. The carvings inside were particularly beautiful, with some separating rooms that were viewed as different images depending on which side of the wall you viewed the carving from. A carving that looked like a peacock from one room would be a series of flowers from the other side of the wall for instance.
There were a few students on school trips who wanted to interview me while we walked around the temple grounds. Their questions ranged from ‘where are you from?’ to asking me to write a brief statement about peace and cooperation between nations. I like that the teachers assigned students the daunting task of interviewing foreigners while they travel to a new place, it’s an important skill. Not to mention one of the reasons why English education is so important in Japan, aside from testing for it of course. I was interviewed by several groups, whether due to my charming good looks or my extremely evident foreignness. In any case, tourists Japanese or foreign are not difficult to find in Kyoto.