6 building form a diagonal line from southeast to northwest, continuing from the Kurumayose (entranceway), Tozamurai (guard house), Shikidai (reception room), Ohiroma (great hall), Sotetsu-no-ma (a room of cycad), Kuro-Shoin (a study room painted with black lacquer), and the Shiro-Shoin (a study made of plain wood). Each are representatives of a samurai’s house building style, Bukefushoinzukuri,in the Momoyama period(1573-1603). The total floor space of the buildings is 3,300 squared metres, and includes 33 rooms and over 800 tatami mats.
when you walk under the Kara-mon (Chinese-style gate), the gorgeously decorated Kurumayose will greet your eyes. The design on ranma-chokoku (a carved transom and a decorative frieze consisting of carved panels fixed above the head of a door) differs on its front and back. On the front is depicted are five luan (a mythical Chinese bird), pine trees, peonies and at the top clouds, and at the bottom you can see grass. On the roof is cypress bark and the base is made of squared masonry and is wide enough for an ox cart to pass through.
The Ninomaru palace boasts the largest floor area and is about 1,046.1 square metres. It is divided into rooms such as the ichi-no-ma, the ni-no-ma, the san-no-ma, wakamatsu-no-ma and the chokushi-no-ma, and was used as a waiting place for daimyo who would visit the castle. The room in the picture is tozamurai ni-no-ma, and is also called tora-no-ma (room of the tigers), and there are pictures of tigers and leopards.
This room was used for the shogun to meet with messengers (envoys) from the court. The envoys would sit on the upper row, while the shogun sat on the lower.
This is the room where a visiting shogun would exchange greetings with members of his council of elders. Gifts to the shogun were passed over in this room. The pictures painted on the sliding doors are said to have been painted by Tanyu Kano.
Ohiroma Ichi-no-ma, Ni-no-ma
Ichi-no-ma is 48 tatami mats wide, while ni-no-ma is 44. As it was the room in which the shogun would meet with daimyo, these rooms were the most formal in the Ninomaru palace. In October 1867, the 15th Tokugawa shogun, Yoshinobu, gathered retainers of various clans and announced the restoration of imperial rule in this historic room. Also, the ni-no-ma was used as audience seating for the Noh stage built in the south garden at Emperor Gomizunoo’s royal visit.
It is said that this was the place weapons were stored when the shogun proceeded to the capital. The sliding door paintings feature a hawk on an old pine tree. It is said these were made by Kano Tanyu.
The meeting room for the the shogun and the group of daimyo of feudal domains owned by a Tokugawa family branch or hereditary daimyo (whose ancestors supported Tokugawa Ieyasu prior to the battle of Sekigahara). It is of small scale compared to the ohiroma, but the room decorations are of a higher standard. The sliding door paintings are works of art created by Tanyu’s younger brother, Naonobu.
This was the shogun’s living room and bedroom. The design of the room’s decorations differ from those of the Ohiroma and the Kuro-Shoin. The room’s paintings were created by Koi Kano and Naganobu and are fitting ink landscape paintings(Suibokusansuiga).