Although Nagoya castle lost many buildings with historical value such as Nagoya Castle Donjon(National Treasure) during the second world war, some escaped such fate. One of such precious buildings is Northwest Tower built in 1611 by using Kiyosu Castle materials after the capital of Owari Province was moved to Nagoya in 1610 by Iyeyasu Tokugawa the first shogun of Tokugawa Government. It is nicknamed as Kiyosu Tower and is one of the most beloved buildings excluding the donjon. Northwest tower is unperiodically opened a few times a year. Every year it is customary to open the tower for a few days including April 6, which falls on the Castle Day(Shiro-no-Hi). In 2012 it was opened from April 6-8.
#It is designated as an Important National Asset.
At the east of Northwest tower, there is a fenced area with three tea house buildings. It is called Nagoyajo Shichaseki(Four tea rooms of Nagoya Castle). It is rarely opened to public and is usually rent for tea ceremonies or for wedding ceremonies. The four tea rooms are:
1 Oribedo: the tea room at the west part of the fenced area
2 Sarumen-Bogaku Chaseki, the west side of the central building
3 Shoin: The biggest tearoom connected to the Sarumen-Bogaku Chaseki
4 Yuin Chaseki: Tearoom at the southeast part of the fenced area.
Although the winding stream garden near the Northwest Tower of Nagoya castle is not given specific name and not even mentioned in public records nor the guide leaflets, it is very beautiful and during cherry season this area attracts some visitors. I found a darter dragonfly near the pond area. Due to the undergoing construction works, the area and Nishinomaru enclosure area of the castle is disconnected. So few visitors ever come to this place.
Nagoya castle has three-tiered moat structure. The moat with immence body of water is called Outer Moat(Soto-bori) but it is structually the second moat. To differentiate the Sannomaru Outer Moat also carrying Sotobori name which is dry, Nagoya people simply call it MIZUBORI(watered moat). On the north side of the castle there is no need to build another moat because north of the watered moat there used to lie marsh land and Hori river which served as the natural defence. That's why the northside of this second moat is really wide and it is also for making the attacks by the gun fires very difficult. This watered moat provodes a walking course and a running circuit for joggers. The most popular viewpoint of this moat is near the Northwest Tower nicknamed as Kiyosu Tower close to the Westin Nagoya Castle Hotel. It is believed that the tower was reconstructed with the building materials used for Kiyosu Castle. Northeast and South part of the moat is dry. I have no idea if it has always been that way.
The stone monument right in front of the main gate of the Nagoya castle is inscribed as "Onshi Moto-Rikyu-Nagoya-jo" meaning "Former Imperial Villa Nagoya Castle"(Onshi means given from the imperial family). Nagoya castle used to be an detached villa for imperial family during 1893-1930. In 1930 it was given to Nagoya city. It is one of the most popular monuments in Nagoya castle. Who can resist the name of "former imperial villa"? Some visitors to the castle may be surprised to find that Nagoya castle used to be an imperial villa. It is also a nice spot for a memorial photo.
The nameplace Nagoya came from Nagoya clan, one of the illegitimate family clans of Imagawa Clan who governed Owari province during 15th to early 16th century. The area current Nagoya castle stands at that time belonged to Nagoya clan. Ujichika Imagawa first built a fort called Yanaginomaru during 1521-28. In 1532 Nobuhide Oda, father of Nobunaga took over the castle feigning sickness and with his private warriors. It is said the Nobunaga was born in this castle and later was made to a lord of the castle until Nobunaga moved to Kiyosu in 1555. After Nobunaga moved to Kiyosu the castle lords changed after another and gradually became less important and consequently abandoned. Old castle ruins near the Ninomaru Teahouse only has a monument and the guideboard and compared to the grandeur of current castle it remains neglected. Only history buffs ever care about this place.
Sannomaru Outer Moat also known as "Sotobori" is the outermost moat of Nagoya Castle enclosing Sannomaru area of the castle now occupied mostly by Prefectural and Municipal buildings. It has been dry and left for the wild for so long and with limited human entry, it is currently home to rare firefly species, Hotaria parvula, or Himebotaru.
This 600-year-old Torreya Nuciferia(Japanese Nutmeg Tree, or Kaya), near the Main Gate(Ninomaru-Enokida Gate) is the only National Monument in Aichi Prefecture. It survived the air raid during the second world war. So it is the oldest thing in Nagoya Castle. It is also said that the first lord of Nagoya Yoshinao Tokugawa had eaten the edible nuts of the tree before he joined the Winter Campaign of the Seige of Osaka Castle. Since then the nuts are served for New-Year dishes for the lord.
Height: 15 meters
Trunk Girth: 8.1 meters
Age: 600 years
With its famed golden shachi dolphin roof decorations, Nagoya Castle is the de-facto symbol of the city. Built in 1612, the main edifice was reconstructed in 1959 on its original foundation after being destroyed in World War II, and now houses a modern museum with a significant archive of surviving artifacts of a past era. The surrounding gardens also delight with flowering trees, a dry inner moat sheltering deer, and a water-filled outer moat, home to a multitude of waterfowl.
Nagoya-jo or Nagoya Castle was originally built in the 1600's by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The castle that stands now was re-built using concrete in 1959.
The website link below is the official site of Nagoya Castle. Sorry it is only available in Japanese.
In 1610 Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered the construction of Nagoya-jo to solidify the Tokugawa authority in Owari (Nagoya and vicinity). The castle was completed in 1612 and Tokugawa's ninth son Yoshinao entered the castle in 1616 from which he governed over Owari.
Nagoya-jo is famous for the 2 golden shachihoko that adorn the top of its donjon. That is why it is also known as "Kinshachi-jo." Kin means "gold" and shachi refers to the killer whale type mythical creatures that sit atop the donjon and other castle structures.
Beautiful grounds, especially in Spring. Definitely a must visit whilst in Nagoya.
Open 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Entrance to the donjon until 4:10 p.m
Closed December 29 - January 1
Adult: Individual 500yen
Child: Individual 100yen
Nagoya Castle was built by Ieyasu Tokugawa in 1612 and it symbolises Nagoya's pride and power. In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the castle, special exhibitions of various art works were displayed at the castle.
If you have visited Osaka castle, you'd get the sense of deja vu making your way through the main gate to the castle. Osaka castle shimmers in black and gold, Nagoya castle in blue-green and gold. Both blind you in the sun.
Hideyoshi Toyotomi built and used Osaka castle to attack and defend against Ieyasu Tokugawa's Nagoya castle pre Tokugawa-era. Both were bombed and razed and the current castles are reproductions of the originals. So it was interesting to make a comparison against these 2 rather similar castles and imagine how it would have been during its inital years.
Inside the castle, brief explanations of the castle's history and exhibits of samurai armour, swords and palanquin increase the interest-factor of the castle. You can ascend to the peak of the castle but the view of industrial Nagoya isn't exactly appealing.
An ongoing project to restore the villa in the castle grounds will definitely increase the sights within the castle ground, but not in the short term.
The original was built in 1612 but destroyed in WW II. What you see now is a faithful reproduction done in concrete. You can take an elevator up to the top and you work your way down while viewing many antique painted screens and sliding doors, which were hidden away before the attacks. There is also a short movie showing the way it looked after the attack and how it was restored.
Admission is 500 Yen.