Nijo Castle - former home of the Tokugawa shoguns

Nijo Castle - former home of the Tokugawa shoguns

Ninja assassins and samurai once prowled the Japanese night, sent by their masters to assassinate shoguns, monks and other elites in vendettas and struggles for power. To defend from their formidable skills, the genius carpenters of Daitokuji temple installed floorboards that ‘sing’ - with even the lightest footfalls these uguisu-bari, or nightingale floors, chirp to announce intruders. You’ll have to remove your shoes before entering any of the beautiful buildings in the Zen Buddhist complex, but it’s unlikely you’ll make it around their gardens and tatami matted tea rooms without squeaking the surrounding floorboards. If you can, you’re better than a thousand years of ninjas, and perhaps freakishly in tune with the contemplative peace of the temple. Move on, then, to test your skills over the more finely tuned singing boards at Nijo Castle…

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