Nijo Castle Nishimon Gate
Nijo Castle - Nijo Castle Nishimon Gate (West Gate)
The Nishi Gate of Nijo-jo is often overlooked yet has much historical importance. It is on the opposite side of the normal entrance to the castle today (East Main Gate/Higashi Otemon) so it is quite a walk around the outside to get there, and you don't notice the location from the inside because it is typically off limits. The gate is occasionally opened for special events and festivals. The gate was actually added after the moat and walls were already completed. They cut a hole in the wall for the gate and the stones pulled from the wall still remain in piled inside the masugata gate to this day! During the Edo Period the Nishi Gate was the common entrance to the castle for low ranking samurai, visitors, and servants. On the inside of the gate on one of the cross beams of the north side you can see many "graffiti" carvings dating to the Edo Period. I can only wonder if it was some idle guardsmen who took to decorating this pillar. The last shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu also left the castle via the West Gate after the decree to restore Imperial Rule in Japan thus surrendering his power.