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Momoyama is a period of the Japanese architecture that started in the 1560s and lasted for about forty years. When feudal barons came to power, they wanted to ensure security on the one hand and boast of their glamor on the other hand. Thus, the buildings and towers, which they erected, combined high and heavy stone walls of fortresses with exquisite and rich decorations. There was no modesty and simplicity, which characterized the previous historical periods. Instead, abundant use of gold in different forms and media and lavish decorations were present. There were four types of castles: mountaintop, mountaintop flatland, flatland, and water ones that depended on a landscape. A typical example of Monoyama period architecture that belongs to the flatland type is Fushimi Castle, which was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It is famous for a special interior of tea ceremony parlor, which was covered by golden foils.
Edo period began, when Edo (modern Tokyo) became the capital in the seventeenth century. It is characterized by the use of simpler forms in architecture, as well as less abundant décor compared to Momoyama period. Instead of lavish decoration of wooden surfaces or gold coverings, a more natural style was adopted. Thus, wood was left unrefined or at least uncovered. In terms of palette, black and white colors dominated during the period, especially in external walls. Overall, the culture of castles that was so popular during Momoyama declined during Edo. Each province had only one castle, and its role was rather symbolic than practical. The Katsura Imperial Villa in the outskirts of Kyoto is a sample of a new approach, which promoted palaces and villas surrounded by gardens
Nijo Castle of Edo period is classified as a flatland castle, so the two-layered fortifications encircling it are quite explainable. The external wall has three gateways, while the internal one has two gateways. The palace inside consists of five separate buildings which are linked by special architectural constructions. The main material used in construction is wood, which has different textures depending on decorations. The outer spaces are quite plain, done in the stylistics of Edo architecture; the closer it is to the center, the more exquisite are decorations, including carvings and gold. This is explained by the fact that different castes of people were allowed to enter different levels of the building. Only the elite could appear deep inside.
Compared to Nijo Castle, Izumo Taisha Shrine is a more modern building. The difference in architecture is explained not only by the epoch but also by its functionality: Izumo Taisha has religious purpose and is dedicated to the God of Love. The modern building was erected in 1744 and later rebuilt in 1959. Like Nijo Castle, it used Japanese cypress as the main material. However, the two buildings are quite different. Izumo Taisha is a temple, so it does not need fortifications, and the overall structure is much simpler: it consists of one main building. Besides, the design is more modest, the lines emphasize the minimalism and elegance of the shrine. Unlike Nijo Castle, it cannot demonstrate rich décor, especially gold. The building is about twenty seven meters high, but the old texts say that the hall used to be about fifty meters high in antiquity. This is based on the concept that sacred building should be high, which increases their value.