Nagoya Castle – Through War and Destruction
Destroyed during WWII, Nagoya Castle has risen from the ashes to now stand as one of Japan's best. For more info, check out our guide.
Nagoya is the fourth biggest city in Japan but is often neglected by travelers. Nonetheless, it may be worthwhile to devote at least one day to the city, even if solely for Nagoya Castle.
Want more castles? Check our article Japan Castles – The 15 Best Japanese Castles
About Nagoya Castle
Built by Tokugawa Ieyasu – a famous revolutionary of the Edo Period – in 1600, the castle remained the property of the Tokugawa clan until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Destroyed during World War II, the structure was rebuilt in 1959 using original techniques, thus returning it to its former glory. Some of the most famous items associated with Nagoya Castle are the golden dolphins, or kinshachi. It is said that the first dolphin (shachi) ornaments dated back to the Muromachi Period (1334-1400) and symbolized the then feudal lord’s authority.
Although Nagoya Castle’s golden dolphins were lost in the flames of the Second World War, they were found when excavating the dungeon in 1959 – much to the surprise and delight of the local populace.
The two main towers of Nagoya Castle – the Main Donjon and Sub Donjon, stand side by side. There is an observation deck on the 7th floor of the Main Donjon open for visitors and exhibition halls featuring cultural assets on the lower floors.
Further, there are many different species of flower and other plants on the castle grounds. Famously, a kaya no ki or Japanese nutmeg – a protected species – has survived for what is said to be over 600 years.
Further Info and Events
In the park around Nagoya Castle there are even more historic buildings, the most prominent being Hommaru Palace. Once located on the south side of the Nagoya Castle donjon but destroyed during the air raids of WWII, it was formerly regarded as the finest masterpiece of modern castle architecture in Japan along with the Ninomaru Palace at Nijo Castle in Kyoto. Reconstruction began in 2008 with a prospective finish date sometime in 2018.
Nagoya Castle is a fabulous place to go for plum blossom viewing in March and cherry blossom viewing in April. When the castle grounds are awash with petals and blooming trees the whole complex is brightened and Nagoya Castle is beautifully framed. If you’re more one for the darker shades and intense reds of the momiji (autumn leaves), you should consider visiting Nagoya Castle in autumn and paying witness to the wonderful natural spectacle.
More on the events in Nagoya and around the castle available on the official Nagoya City Homepage here.
Mon – Sun
09:00 am – 4:30 pm
closed over New Years (12/29 – 01/01)
adult 500 yen
child free (up to junior high school)
Nagoya Castle is really easy to reach, just a short three-minute walk from Shiyakusho (City Hall) Station. To get to Shiyakusho (City Hall) Station you can take the circular Meijo Line on the Nagoya Metro Network.
There’s a great overview of the castle grounds on the official homepage, so check that out before going to ensure you don’t miss anything and find your way without getting too lost. Click here for the diagram.