Reviving Nagoya Castle

In 1610, Nagoya Castle was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was the first Shogun (overall military leader of Japan) in the Edo period, and one of the most famous samurai lords in Japanese history. The height of the castle is 36.1m. The total floor area is the largest of all the castles in Japan.

Nagoya Castle Honnmaru

Left: Honmaru Palace // Right: Castle Tower

This castle was mostly finished in 1612. The first lord to live in the castle was Tokugawa Yoshinao, who was Tokugawa Ieyasu’s ninth son. After that, the castle flourished as the home castle of the Tokugawa family.

Before Nagoya castle was built, the main castle of the region was in Kiyosu. But Ieyasu moved to the new location because Kiyosu is vulnerable to floods. Also, the new castle location was chosen for political reasons so that Ieyasu could compete against Toyotomi ‘s power in Osaka.

Ieyasu ordered 20 lords (daimyo) from western Japan to construct the castle. They were the lords in allegiance with the Toyotomi clan. Ieyasu’s aim was to reduce the financial strength of the Toyotomi and their allies because Toyotomi had power over the west of Japan at that time.

So the stone wall has some variations. For example, part is made of sandstone and another granite. Many stones in Nagoya Castle contain marks such as triangles, folding fans, and circles, etc. These are called “inscriptions” and they are signs of the lords (Daimyo) who shared the construction work. Their purpose was to keep workers from taking other lords’ stones by mistake.

Nagoya castle rock

Inscription

Golden Shachihoko
One of the things Nagoya Castle is famous for is the two golden Shachihokos of the roof. They are imaginary animals with a tiger’s head and a carp’s body that are said to be able to summon water and have come to be used as charms for preventing fire. Their height is about 2.5m. The amount of gold they contain is about 45 kg each. They show the power and money the Tokugawa family had.

So, they were stolen at least 3 times up until 1937. In the Edo period, one robber tried to steal them by flying on a kite. This story became the subject for a Kabuki play.

Nagoya castle kinshati

Replica of the Golden Shachihoko

Restoration work
In 1945, during WWII, Nagoya castle was destroyed. In 1959, the castle tower was reproduced, but concrete was used instead of the original wood, and the inside of the castle tower was not completely restored at all. This is the main reason why many visitors are disappointed. ↓

Nagoya castle inside

There are many stairs in the Castle Tower

Recently, Nagoya city is reproducing other parts of the castle (Honmaru Palace), as well. They are very historically accurate. The restored areas are shown to visitors little by little as they are completed. The whole palace is going to open to the public in 2018. When I went inside Honmaru Palace it smelled good, like newly cut wood.

Hommaru Nagoya Castle

Inside of Honmaru Palace

Recently, the earthquake resistance of the castle tower made of reinforced concrete has been found to not conform to the existing building standards law, its decayed state has become a problem.

Finally, Nagoya city has decided to begin to a reconstruction of the Nagoya Castle Tower starting in 2020 and finishing in 2022.  The current concrete construction will be removed and an historically accurate wooden reconstruction will take its place. The restoration will be accurately completed using many pictures, drawings, and blueprints of the original structure. We are extremely lucky these antique blueprints still exist!
The total cost of rebuilding has been calculated as 50 billion yen ($450,483,000).
Currently, the admission fee is 500 yen, for which we can see Honmaru Palace and the Castle Tower. And after the restoration is complete I’ve heard it will be 1,000 yen.

I’m expecting the restored wooden castle will be almost as it was 400 years ago.

New words (Not corrected):
ally = V and N but different pronunciation
a.g. I will ally with her.

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2 thoughts on “Reviving Nagoya Castle

    1. Em Post author

      Thank you!😀 I visited your post. Your picture of Kinshati is nice. I wanted to take a picture from the same angle as you but I gave up as there were too many visitors when I went! 😂

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