Castles of Aichi


2018.07.24

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

The castles of Aichi each played a role in the history of Japan’s Sengoku period when chaos reigned and feudal powers fought pitched battles to win control of territory, and in the Tokugawa shogunate when the country was first unified. History was not kind to most of the castles, and most needed to be completely reconstructed after centuries of warfare and natural disasters, but a visit to any of Aichi Prefecture’s castles is a great way to see that history up close.

  • The walk from Nagoya Station to Nagoya Castle is worth skipping transit and taxis: the route leads through Endoji shotengai, a classic Showa-style shopping arcade with a long history and into Shike-michi, a well-preserved historical district once home to merchant warehouses. The view of the castle from beyond the outer moat is impressive—and it’s how commoners would have seen the complex during most of its life.

    Castles of Aichi

    Castles of Aichi

    The Donjon, one of the castle keeps, now shows art and artifacts from the history of Nagoya Castle, and there is a reproduction of the castle town on the third floor of the exhibit hall. One of the best ways to experience the extensive grounds is with one of the free guided tours (in English), offered every day at 1pm and starting from the East Gate.

    Castles of Aichi

    Castles of Aichi

    What is left now at the site of the former Kiyosu Castle, a short trip from Nagoya Station, is an impressive replica of the original structure. The violence and vagaries of 16th and 17th century Japanese politics saw the castle taken, retaken, and finally disassembled, its parts dragged to the Nagoya Castle grounds along with most of the population of the town. Not far away and well worth a visit, the Kiyosu Armor Factory serves as a museum, exhibiting and producing traditional arms and armor.

    Castles of Aichi

    Castles of Aichi

    From Nagoya, the trip to Inuyama takes a little under an hour. The original construction, looking out over the Kiso River, was completed more than five centuries ago, and many of the structures are still ancient even by the standards of other Japanese castles. Inuyama never saw the same process of decay, demolition and repair, and the interior is comparatively untouched. The attached Shiro-to-Machi Museum is only 100 yen to enter and houses authentic artifacts and a stunning diorama of the castle town as it would have looked in the late-19th century.

    Castles of Aichi

    Castles of Aichi

    Okazaki Castle sits on extensive grounds and a generous slice of parkland in the center of Okazaki City, a factory town a short trip southeast from Nagoya. Okazaki and its castle lay claim to the birthplace of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate which ruled Japan from 1600 to 1868. The park surrounding the castle is beautiful in any season and home to pavilions and museums devoted to local history.

    Castles of Aichi

    Castles of Aichi

    As with many castles in Japan, time was not kind to Okazaki. With the Meiji Restoration and the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate, the castle was demolished and its architectural bones were left to be picked over by private collectors and scrap merchants. Some of the treasures of the old building have been gathered in the rebuilt central keep which was completed in 1959.

    Castles of Aichi

    Castles of Aichi

    The reconstructed Kurogane Yagura turret at Yoshida Castle in the port city of Toyohashi sits on the site of a castle that once occupied a key position on the road between Edo (now Tokyo) and Nagoya. The castle was preserved by the Imperial Japanese Army after the Meiji Restoration but later succumbed to fire and was rebuilt in the 1950s. The turret houses a museum dedicated to local history.

    Nagoya
    place
    Aichi Pref
    View Allarrow
    Nagoya Castle
    place
    Aichi Pref. Nagoyashi Naka-ku Honmaru 1-1
    phone
    0522311700
    opening-hour
    9:00-16:30 [Honmaru Goten] …
    View Allarrow
    Endoji Shopping Street
    rating

    3.5

    15 Reviews
    place
    Aichi Pref. Nagoyashi Nishi-ku Nagono 1-6-10
    phone
    0525510197
    opening-hour
    Depends on establishment
    View Allarrow
  • Kiyosu Castle
    place
    Aichi Pref. Kiyosushi Asahi Shiroyashiki 1-1
    phone
    0524097330
    opening-hour
    9:00-16:30(Last entry16:15)
    View Allarrow
    Inuyama
    place
    Aichi Pref
    View Allarrow
    Inuyama City Cultural Museum, Karakuri Tenji-kan
    rating

    3.5

    81 Reviews
    place
    Aichi Pref. Inuyamashi Inuyama Kitakoken 8
    phone
    0568624802
    opening-hour
    9:00-17:00(Latest entry16:30…
    View Allarrow
    Okazaki Castle
    place
    Aichi Pref. Okazakishi Kouseichou 561-1
    phone
    0564222122
    opening-hour
    [Okazaki Castle] 9:00-17:00 …
    View Allarrow
    Yoshida Castle Kurogane Yagura
    place
    Aichi Pref. Toyohashishi Imahashichou 3
    phone
    0532512430
    opening-hour
    [Tuesday-Sunday]10:00-15:00
    View Allarrow

Click here for a summary article including this article