A fascination with moats

I may pretend that moats were something boys were interested in, but in truth, they fascinated me as well. The Nijo-jo Castle Imperial Villa had two: the outer moat surrounded the entire complex and within the walled off area an additional moat, the inner moat housed Honmaru-goten Palace and its garden.

Honmaru-goten palace entrance East gate
Honmaru-goten palace east gate entrance, Kyoto

I crossed over the first without any fanfare because I was eager to get out of the rain, but reaching the second moat, I lingered at both the East and West Bridges. They were fortified with sturdy doors. Wide bridges once allowed the imperial family to make elaborate exits and entrances.

Inner moat of Honmaru-goten palace
Inner moat of Honmaru-goten palace, Kyoto

Honmaru Yagura-mon Gate at the east end had been the main two-storey gate in the mid 1600s. However, with an impending Emperor’s visit, it was converted into a one-storey gate so no one could look down upon the Emperor.

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