Nagoya


Nagoya castle was built in 1610 under the order of the Tokugawa Shogun. It was destroyed in 1945 during air-raid bombings in WWII. In 1959, the main donjon, the small donjon, the abutment bridge between the two, and the main gate were re-constructed in its original form in concrete. The interior of the main donjon is a museum on the history of the castle and life in Nagoya during ancient times.

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Nagoya Castle was constructed under the order of Tokugawa Ieyasu who founded the Tokugawa Shogunate after the battle of Sekigahara and resolved in 1609 to move from Kiyosu to build a castle in Nagoya in order to secure an important position on the Tokaido highway and to ward off attacks from the direction of Osaka. Construction of the donjons began in 1610 and ended in 1612. Nagoya Castle is an exemplary castle of those built on flat lands. — from the entrance billboard of Nagoya Castle

Kato Kiyomasa, Fukushima Masanori, and Maeda Toshimitsu were some of the 20 feudal lords from the northern and western part of Japan who were appointed to the construction. The inscription of feudal lords and their vassals carved on the stones they carried are still visible today on the stone walls. Up until the Meiji Restoration, Nagoya Castle flourished as the castle where the Tokugawa lineage of Owari, the foremost of the three Tokugawa family lineages, resided. — from the entrance billboard of Nagoya Castle

On the stone walls of Nagoya Castle, you can see interesting marks, such as figures of triangles in circles, and the rough outlines of folding fans, war fans, and other objects. These are called ‘kokumon’ or carved crests, and represent the different daimyo lords and their vassals who were apportioned sections in the construction of Nagoya Castle. They were carved onto the stones so that there would be no mistake as to which lord contributed which of the difficult-to-transport stones, and avoid disputes. — from a billboard at the entrance of the main gate

At the beginning of the Meiji era, the Army Ministry administered the castle, and the Nagoya Detached Garrison and barracks were [dispersed] on the castle grounds. Transferred to the Imperial Household Ministry in 1893, the castle became the Nagoya Imperial Villa. In 1930, after the abolition of the Imperial Villa, the castle was brought under the administration of the City of Nagoya and was opened to the public in February of the following year.

In May 1945, due to the air raids on Nagoya during World War II, buildings such as the main and small donjons, ad the Hommaru Palace were burnt down. Fortunately, three towers, three gates, and 1,047 paintings on the sliding doors and walls of the palace survived the fire and have been designated as important national cultural assets. In 1959, the main and small donjons, and the main gate were practically restored to their original forms. — from the entrance billboard of Nagoya Castle

These stones were the [original] foundation of the Nagoya Castle tower. They were moved here when the tower was reconstructed in 1959. — information billboard

The golden dolphins were formed over a roughly carved block of wood over which lead sheets were applied. Copper was placed over the lead, before the application of the final layer of gold which was acquired from pounding gold coins into sheets.

The two golden dolphins are male and female, and slightly different in size. The core of the golden dolphins are composed of hinoki cypress.

Used to adorn the main ridge of castle roofs, they are a symbol of the feudal lord’s authority. — Nagoya Castle museum billboard

Tea House

Plum Trees

Mosaic on the pedestrian walk leading to the entrance of the Nagoya Castle grounds