Nijo Castle – Imperial Palace

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Japan has a long history of ninja. Ninja are agents who act as spies for a feudal lord. Their mission is to steal into the enemy’s territory, learn the inside facts, and sometimes kill or destroy. Because of their dangerous occupation they must live in a special house.

Ninja lived in various places. Especially in Kyoto, ninja undertook many important missions. In the past ninja worked out of Nijo Castle in Kyoto, where a famous Japanese shogun lived. Ninja lived in special ninja houses near the castle, and the houses were designed with many interesting defensive devices. 

Here is information about other ninja houses in Japan:

Nijo Castle

It was built in 1626 by Iemitsu, the third Tokugawa shogun. The architecture is typical of samurai houses built during the Momoyama era (1568~1603). It is designated as a national treasure. There are many splendid rooms and an unusual corridor called Uguisubari.


Nijo Castle has many defensive devices like a ninja house. One especially interesting device is the Uguisubari corridor, which has floorboards which “sing like a bird” when someone walks on them. The corridor leads from the entrance of the Ninomaru Palace to the Ohiroma. Dry boards naturally creak under pressure, but these floors were designed so that the flooring nails rubbed against a jacket or clamp, causing chirping noises. It warns residents that enemies have broken into the castle.