February 24, 2018

A Trip to Nagoya Castle, the Historic Castle of Japan

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  • Every castle in Japan is always worth a visit as it’s also a great learning spot about the culture of Japan. One of the famous castles, the Nagoya Castle, is a historic destination which reveals important cultural assets through its structures, exhibits, and collections.

    The Main Castle Tower of Nagoya Castle

    Our tour guide carefully explained the rich history of how Nagoya Castle was built. The sudden mention of Tokugawa Ieyasu immediately struck a chord: he was an important Japanese shogun who ruled Japan, along with Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. They were part of our Asian history lessons during high school so it made the visit to the museum all the more interesting. I was fortunate to be able to see the castle that he built and was a significant part of Asian history.

    Exhibit Guide of the Main castle

    Due to its significance in Japanese culture, it was designated as a National Treasure in 1930. However, the original main castle tower and the Honmaru Palace were destroyed in 1945 during World War II. The people of Nagoya wanted it to be rebuilt, which led to the now famous Nagoya Castle established in 1959.

    Although it was rebuilt, several parts of the original castle survived the war. You’ll see that they retained important items from both inside and outside Nagoya Castle such as stone wall carved seals, photographs, paintings, and survey maps. It is now fully restored and is set to open to the public in 2018.

    You may join these Japanese men at a Stone Pulling Hands-on Exhibit to experience how stones were transported to build the castle’s stone walls!

    Apart from the main castle itself, Nagoya Castle is surrounded by corner towers, gates, and gardens which make up the whole restoration. To ensure the security and privacy of the castle, Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered 20 daimyo lords to build stone walls. These lords inscribed their own seals in each stone they used for the walls to distinguish stones from their properties.

    Kinshachi replica is found inside the Nagoya Castle. These are found atop the Castle to show the power and money that the Tokugawa family had. The original kinshachi was made of gold.

    The important cultural assets, in the form of the Southeast, Northwest, and Southwest corner towers, were built for a purpose. For instance, the Southeast and Northwest Corner Towers have trap doors for dropping stones.

    Goyou Beya, a parlor where the clan’s political affairs are conducted

    We saw the artifacts that survived the war housed inside Nagoya Castle. There were replicas of how the rooms used to look like, which gave an even better image of how must have been to live during the Tokugawa Period. Even the types of meals served were also exhibited in the castle.

    Meals served in the palace during the Tokugawa Period

    Aside from the main castle, we also had the chance to visit the Nagoya Castle Honmaru Palace. It was established by Tokugawa Ieyasu for residence and government office uses. The restored version is set to open this 2018 which features sophisticated architecture of each of the halls of the Honmaru Palace.

    The Nagoya Castle Honmaru Palace

    The decorations in each of the halls are meticulously done to create sophisticated impact in the palace

    Make way to Nagoya Castle to see an important cultural aspect of Japan where you’ll learn about the country’s rich history.

    Tour guides are available at the Nagoya Castle, please contact them via the details below for further assistance.


    Address: 1-1 Honmaru, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, 460-0031, Japan
    Operating Hours: 9 am to 4:30 pm  (Entrance to the main castle tower and Honmaru Palace until 4 pm)
    Closed from December 29 to January 1
    Contact: 052-231-1700
    Admission Fee: ¥500 (Adult); Free for children in Junior High School or younger
    Website: http://www.nagoyajo.city.nagoya.jp (Nagoya Castle General Administration Office)
    Pay Parking is available in front of the Main Gate and the East Gate

    How to get here: By subway, get off at the Shiyakuso City Hall of the Meijo Line or get off at the Sengencho stop of the Tsurumai Line. By bus, you may get off at the following stops: Shiyakusho stop of the Key Route Bus No. 2, Nagoyajo Seimon-mae stop of Sakae No. 13, or take a Nagoya Sightseeing Route Bus called Me-guru.

    Written by Jastine Valeriano

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