Nagoya Castle

The super typhoon veered off towards Alaska so we woke up to a beautiful autumn day. We soon located the private train line that goes into the city, and after about a 25 minute ride, we arrived at Nagoya Station where we stashed our luggage in lockers and set out again for Nagoya Castle.

We entered through the Ninomaru East Garden and spent some time relaxing in its peaceful atmosphere.

This is the view from the top of the Namban Wall. If you look closely at the picture on the right, you can see a gunport in the stone wall behind the wooden fence.

The Southeast Corner Tower in the picture on the left was used as a weapons storehouse. In the picture on the right, you can see the top of the Ninomaru East Second Gate which is built in the style of the gates of ancient Korea. The Kiyomasa Stone is pictured in the bottom picture on the right. It's the largest stone in the castle wall.

Picture taking by the gate.

Hommaru Palace was, perhaps, the best surprise of the day. Built in 1615, it served as the home of the lord of Owari province. The original structure was destroyed during the air raids of 1945, but it is now being rebuilt based on Edo period documents, drawings, and photographs.

The wood used in the restoration of the structure is hinoki cypress which is known for its fine grain. Inside are replicated screen paintings in the style of the Kano school of art. The overall effect is most impressive.

We finally arrived at the entrance to the castle itself. Construction of the original castle had been ordered by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1610 after his victory in the Battle of Sekigahara. It was designated as a national treasure in 1930 and reconstructed in 1959 after it was destroyed during the war.

Two golden tiger-headed dolphins - one male and one female - adorn the top of the castle. At the time the castle was built, they were believed to be talismans that could summon water and prevent fires. They also symbolize of the Tokugawa family's power and wealth.

We wandered through the castle looking at the many interesting objects on display. I was somewhat baffled by the model in the picture on the left in the second row. It seems like a large tiger-headed dolphin has appeared unexpectedly inside a building as the men outside look on in amazement.

There are also displays like this one demonstrating how the massive stones used in the construction of the castle walls were dragged into place. The figures look so lifelike that when I posted this picture on Facebook, it tried to tag one of them as a friend of mine.

The pictures below are taken from the top floor of the castle.

We enjoyed our brief stay in Nagoya and will surely fly into the city again.