Nagoya castle was built in 1612 for the Owari Tokugawa Family. History buffs among you may know that the Edo period is also known as the Tokugawa period, as this was the name of the clan that ruled Japan during this period. As such, this castle was for one branch of this ruling family, which explains its grand status and size and why it is known as one of Japan’s greatest castles, along with Himeji and Kumamoto. The symbol of Nagoya castle is a pair of Golden Shachihoko (tiger-headed carp) which can be stopped on the roof of the castle, even from a distance.
Unfortunately, as with many other sites in Japan, Nagoya castle did not remain unscathed by the World War II. Most of the buildings were destroyed by fire in an air raid but fortunately most of the paintings on the sliding doors and walls survived. Donjon and other structures were rebuilt in 1959, and have contain an exhibition about the castle’s history. As with most of Japan’s good looking castles, it has become a popular spot in cherry blossom season, where people come to picnic and be merry amongst the castle and the cherry blossoms. Rather intriguingly, the city government of Nagoya has decided to use traditional methods to re-construct the palace, and several parts of it are completed and can be visited. The rest of the palace is set to be finished by Spring 2018. But for now, many visitors find watching the process of re-construction which can be viewed through windows quite fascinating.
There is hope in the future that Nagoya will even more ambitiously attempt to reconstruct the main castle keep itself in wood using traditional methods, to replace the concrete structure that exists there now. The project is planned to be completed by 2026, which might warrant a return trip to Nagoya sometime in the future!