44.Nagoya Castle Part2

The castle makes Nagoya what it is.

Location and History

Nagoya Castle revived

There was another Nagoya Castle which had the same name and was built at the same place as the present Nagoya Castle in the middle 16th century during the Sengoku Period. It is said that the famous warlord Nobunaga Oda was born at the old Nagoya Castle. Nobunaga eventually moved his home base to Kiyosu Castle before the old Nagoya Castle was abandoned. Since then, Kiyosu Castle (about 10km away from Nagoya Castle on the northeast) had been the center of Owari Province (what is now the western part of Aichi Prefecture). In 1609, the Tokugawa Shogunate decided to build a new castle in place of Kiyosu Castle which often suffered from floods. They needed a stronger castle for their relatives to prepare for a battle with the Toyotomi Clan at Osaka Castle. The castle was named Nagoya Castle once again.

The location of Nagoya Castle and Kiyosu Castle

A view of Nagoya Castle from the ruins of Kiyosu Castle (licensed by 名古屋太郎 via Wikimedia Commons)

Simple but Strong Castle with one of Largest Main Tower

The area of the castle was very large but built simply and strongly. The center of the castle, the Main Enclosure, was protected on all directions by other enclosures such as the West Enclosure. The Second Enclosure was added on the southeast of the Main Enclosure, which had the Ninomaru Main Hall for the lord of the castle. The largest Third Enclosure was on the south of all other enclosures, which was used as the senior vassals’ houses.

The drawing of Nagoya Castle in Owari Province (exhibited by the National Diet Library)

The aerial photo around the castle

The Main Enclosure had the five-layer Main Tower, one of the largest main towers on record. The two golden grampuses on the top were particularly popular among people. It is said the first generator of them used 215 kilograms of gold. The enclosure also had the Honmaru Main Hall, but it was only for the Shogun’s stay. Actually, just three Shoguns used it. People have been saying that “The castle makes Nagoya what it is.”.

An old picture of the original Main Tower and the Honmaru Main Hall at the Main Enclosure (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Destruction and Revival

After the Meiji Restoration, the large enclosures such as the Second and Third Enclosures were turned into a Japanese Army base. However, the government decided to maintain around the Main Enclosure as a castle. Many traditional buildings including the Main Tower and the Honmaru Main Hall remained as they were. They were designated as the first National Treasure for a castle in 1930. It is regrettable to say this, but almost all of them were burned down in 1945. Only three turrets and three gates remain now.

The burning Main Tower by the bombing
The remaining Southwest Corner Turret at the Main Enclosure
The remaining Second Front Gate at the Main Enclosure

After 14 years from the tragedy, people in Nagoya rebuilt the Main Tower which we now see. One third of the fund for rebuilding it came from the citizens’ donation. The appearance of the tower is almost the same as the original one, but it is a modern concrete building on a huge caisson inside the original stone wall base. The original golden grampuses, which were also burned in 1945, were restored at the same time. The present ones include 88 kilograms of gold. In 2018, the Honmaru Main Hall in the Main Enclosure was restored using the original methods. The enclosure is returning to its former appearance.

The present rebuilt Main Tower
The present restored Golden Grampus
The restored Hommaru Main Hall at the Main Enclosure

To be continued in “Nagoya Castle Part3”
Back to “Nagoya Castle Part1”

投稿者: Yuzo

城巡りが好きなYuzoです。日本には数万の城があったといわれています。その内の200名城を手始めにどんどん紹介していきます。 I'm Yuzo, I love visiting castles and ruins. It is said that there were tens of thousands castles in Japan. I will introduce you top 200 castles and ruins of them, and more!

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