Nagoya Castle 名古屋城
Symbol of Nagoya and military might, with samurai on the grounds and crowned with golden dolphins
Though destroyed by World War II air raids, this reconstruction of the 17th-century castle serves as a dramatic reminder of the importance of Nagoya throughout Japanese history and is the city's main tourist destination.
- The reconstruction of the castle's palace
- Relaxing at popular hanami flower viewing spots during cherry blossom season
- Having your photo taken with a full-scale replica of the Golden Dolphin, an ornamented figure that sits atop the castle's main keep
How to Get There
The castle is a 25-minute walk from JR Nagoya Station , but the quickest route is to take the subway to Shiyakusho Station.
From Nagoya Station , take the Higashiyama Line and transfer at Sakae onto the Meijo Line to Shiyakusho.
Nagoya Castle's origins can be traced back to 1610
The castle was rebuilt in 1959
The ‘golden dolphins' that sit on top of the castle are a famous symbol of the city of Nagoya
Dominating the city
Nagoya Castle is very much the symbol of Nagoya , and it is certainly worth a visit especially during cherry blossom season at the beginning of April. During the cherry blossom festival, locals gather to celebrate the beauty of spring with the castle serving as a beautiful backdrop. It is particularly enchanting in the evening when the trees are lit up.
Nagoya-jo, as the castle is called, hosts events throughout the year. The summer festival in August, maple leaf celebrations in November, and a New Year countdown celebration are all highlights of the local calendar.
Reborn from the flames
The original castle burned down in air raids during the Second World War, but the reconstructed version is no less impressive. When you pass through its huge gates, the castle looms just as imposingly now as it did in centuries past.
Browse the fascinating historical exhibits inside the castle keep, which depict life-size representations of how life was within the castle walls, along with models of the castle, and artifacts that survived the blaze.
One of the most famous exhibitions is that of the kinshashi “golden dolphins.” Throughout history, these impressive figures sitting atop Nagoya Castle's keep were believed to protect it from fire (since fish live in water). Today you can see replicas of the original statues in the foyer of the main donjon, along with a model which you can sit on and take photos.
From the top floor of Nagoya-jo, look out across the city and imagine how different it would have been for the powerful daimyo samurai chiefs when they surveyed the same land.
Don't be surprised if, when wandering across the grounds, you bump into cosplayers dressed up as samurai lords. They are friendlier than their armor and swords make them appear, so don't hesitate to chat and take photos. On most weekends and holidays, they put on skits and performances, allowing you to get a sense of what samurai were like in action.
Adjoining the castle to the north is Meijo Park. While once part of the castle grounds, today this beautiful park boasts flower beds, a fish pond, and a windmill, and is popular year-round with croquet players, joggers, and young couples.
Weekends see the park filled with families picnicking and playing badminton, and there is also a bike rental shop that caters to children. This area is particularly lively during the cherry blossom season when throngs of people come out to enjoy the beautiful spring evening.
On the other side of the castle is the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, home to an abundance of exciting events including the Nagoya Sumo Basho competition in July.