It’s one of Nagoya biggest sites. If your are visiting the city you should definitely check it out.
Even if you are not making tourism it’s also a good place to enjoy a cultural walk, enjoy the activities that are done daily or come to see the sakura flowers.
A little bit of history
Nagoya Castle was built by orders of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu to protect the city from attacks from Osaka and was the link of two of five important trade routes, the Tokaido route. Until the Meiji Restoration, Nagoya Castle was the main residence of the Tokugawa family. In 1945, during the air strikes on Nagoya in World War II, most of the buildings, including the main and small towers, and the main Palace Honmaru, were set on fire. Fortunately, many paintings survived the fire and have been preserved to this day. The reconstruction was completed in 1612.
Once inside you can start the visit by entering the Honmaru palace.
The admission is free. So as not to dirty the wooden floors of the interior, you have to take off your shoes, put them in a locker and you recieve a slippers. Also if you don’t want carry your bag or a backpack you can also leave it in a locker as well. Both lockers are free. The visit starts!
Pay attention to the decoration of the ceilings and to the paintings of each room. The interior has been restored with the maximum care and the best techniques in restoration.
Ninomaru garden and the Tea House
Continuing with the visit, we arrived at the Ninomaru garden and its Te House. You can walk through these gardens and then make a brief stop at the tea house and have a Japanese tea with a japanese sweet for around 500 yen.
Try the local food
Near the gardens you can find a small restaurant where you can eat the typical Nagoya noodles, kishimen. On winter you can take them with a warm soup or on summer, you can take them cold. If you haven’t yet tried kishimen this is a great opportunity.
Souvenirs and shops
Following further on, we enter into the castle grounds where we find a souvenir-museum shop, and a small japanese sweets store. Further on is the entrance to the Castle.
Finally the Castle
Inside there are 7 floors with exposition of pieces of the original castle, weapons and samurai armor, etc …
At the top of the castle there is an observatory where you can see the surroundings of the castle and a large part of the city. You can spend at least 2 hours at the Castle. Oh! I forgot. Point of interes about the castle is that there are two golden tiger-headed carps, called kinshachi, on either end of the topmost castle roof. This motif was used as a talisman to prevent fires. Very interesting, isn’t it?
Meet “The hospitality army of Nagoya”
Another interesting attraction is the performance of “The hospitality army of Nagoya” (Nagoya Omotenashi Bushotai). The schedules of the performances (in Japanese) are in the main entrance. Make sure to check them before. You can also find them walking around the castle. You can talk to them (in Japanese) and take pictures.
Also you can meet a group of ninjas.
Make sure you leave enough time to walk around the castle, as there is a lot to see: the palace, the gardens, the main tower, souvenir shops. Leave at least 4 hours.
How to get there
If you are only going to visit the Castle, I recommend that you take the subway, but if you want to take advantage of the day and see more of the city, my recommendation is to buy a ticket for the tourist bus ME-GURU Bus for 500 yen. You also get a discount of 100 yen at the entrance to the castle and other places you visit with the bus.
By Subway: Take the Meijo Line and stop at Shiyakusho station. Go to exit number 7.
By sightseeing bus ME-GURU: Nagoya Castle bus stop.
1-1 Honmaru, Naka-ku, Nagoya
9:00-16:30 (Castle Tower entry by 16:00)
Closed Dec. 29th – Jan. 1st
Adults: 500 yen
Junior High students and under: free
Parking lot for 520 regular cars
Parking lot for 28 buses