JAPAN TRAVEL: Inuyama Castle Stands as the Oldest in Japan
Known to be the oldest standing castle in Japan, the Inuyama Castle remains a strong symbol of Japan’s storied past.
From its seat on a rocky mound facing the Kiso River and overlooking Gifu Castle on the north, Nagoya Station in the south, and Mt. Senkoji in its west, Inuyama Castle looks like a crown jewel surrounded by flatlands below.
Inuyama Castle provides a mystery to its visitors with its enigmatic aura.
As it is the oldest of the National Treasure castles in Japan, with its origins dating back to 1440 about the same period as that of the Renaissance Period, Inuyama Castle is the predecessor of all watchtowers in Japan.
Inuyama Castle is the oldest of the National Treasure Castles in Japan!
Going to Inuyama Castle from Meitetsu Inuyama Hotel requires a 15-minute walk passing through a bridge, up Sanko Inari Shrine, and finally to the compelling castle ahead.
Visitors walking to witness Inuyama Castle’s age-old beauty.
Sanko Inari Shrine is just to your right when going up to Inuyama Castle.
You may take a peek of the Inuyama Castle from the gate entrance.
Some reminders await you at the entrance of the Inuyama Castle, one of which is to not lean on the railings above and to not wear shoes inside.
Wear these slippers instead as you enter the castle!
Upon entering Inuyama Castle, preserved steep staircases will lead you up the topmost part of the castle which offers a scenic and panoramic view of the towns surrounding it.
Staircases are steep and path may be narrow so give extra care while you go up the castle.
This is a view of the Kiso-gawa river and the towns surrounding Inuyama Castle in the north.
The centuries-old Inuyama Castle is one of the 12 remaining original castles in Japan. It was built by Oda Yojirou Nobuyasu, an uncle of the great Japanese samurai warrior Oda Nobunaga.
Although it was built by Nobuyasu, it became home to different lords who took over the castle in the years that followed.
When you reach the balcony, laden on its walls are paintings and most recent images of the lords of the castle as well as landscape paintings from the Taisho Era, indicating the landmarks from the north, south, east, and west.
Put up on Inuyama Castle’s wall are the most recent photographs of the owners or caretakers of the castle.
One example of a landmark painting is this one from the 1920s which give a picture of the Inuyama bridge and the Kiso River.
Compared to other castles, Inuyama easily stands out from the rest as it truly retains the authenticity of the castle, making it as original as possible.
You can see this on the wooden floors and its narrow walkways that prove how well-preserved the castle is. It takes you back to 400 decades ago while learning about the history of Japan.
The four-story Inuyama Castle and its watchtower
Entrance to Inuyama Castle is priced at ¥550 for 15 years old and over. Discounts for groups of 30 to 300 persons can also be availed.
If you prefer to have a guided tour of Inuyama Castle, the tourist information center at the foot of Inuyama Castle provides it for free!
Inuyama Castle is open from 9 am to 5 pm with admissions to the castle up to 4:30 pm only.
How to get here:
- By public transport: From Meitetsu Nagoya Station, board the train going to Inuyama Station or Inuyama Yuen Station and take a 15-minute walk west to the castle.
Address: 65-2 Kitakoken, Inuyama, Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture
Operating Hours: 9 am to 4:30 pm; Closed from December 29 to 31
Admission Fee: ¥550 for adults; ¥110 for Elementary and Junior High School Students
A version of this appeared in Philippine Primer’s English magazine (Vol. 36).