A Day Trip from Nagoya! How to Enjoy the National Treasure, Inuyama Castle
Do you know Inuyama Castle? It's one of only four castles in Japan that are designated as national treasures. Built in 1537, it has the oldest existing tenshukaku castle tower in Japan. Explore the allure of Inuyama Castle!
First, Enter the Castle Gate and Take in the Overall View
Inuyama Castle is located atop a hill by a river. It is surrounded by an old castle town with many tourist facilities that are fun to stroll around in.
The castle is about 15 minutes on foot from Inuyama Yuen Station. It is purposely hard to get to so that enemies cannot reach the inner citadel easily. Walk awhile up the hills and stone steps and you will eventually get to the castle gate - and once through the gates, your field of vision suddenly opens up to give you a complete view of the tenshukaku castle tower right in front of you.
Inuyama Castle is distinguished by a structure called "ushirokengo," which means that it is protected by a cliff on the back so that enemies cannot attack that way. Although the tenshu tower looks as though it has three stories from the outside, it actually has four stories above ground and two below. There is an exhibition space on the first floor where armor and old documents are displayed.
Entrance fee: General 550 JPY (incl. tax); elementary and junior high school children 110 JPY (incl. tax)
See the Sacred Tree "Osugisama"!
On the east side of the tenshu tower, there is a Japanese cedar tree surrounded by scaffolding called "Osugisama." This tree was as high as Inuyama Castle at one time, but withered when it was hit by lightning during the deadly Isewan Typhoon of 1959. Locals have revered it since, believing that it sacrificed itself to protect the castle.
Next, Enter the Castle
Next, enter the castle!
You will enter the castle interior from an entrance in the basement, then move up to the first floor with the "Jodan-no-ma" lord's room and hidden rooms built for vassals to protect the lord. Next, you go up to the second floor with the "bugu-no-ma" that has shelves with armor, the third floor with a low ceiling, and finally, the top floor. The wood, stone walls and thick beams that remain from the time the castle was built will give you a sense of history. Take care when you are using the stairs as they are quite steep!
Enjoy a Fabulous View from the Top Floor!
Inuyama Castle is built atop an 80m-high castle hill, and the tenshu tower is approximately 19m tall. So the view from the top floor is breathtaking! There is a 360-degree corridor that was built to watch the surroundings, from which you can see the beautiful river and mountains, and even Gifu Castle and the Nagoya Station building on a sunny day. You will feel like a lord looking at these expansive views.
Visit the National Treasure Teahouse, Jo-an
When you have thoroughly enjoyed the castle interior, move on to the Urakuen garden to the east of the castle. Jo-an, a teahouse designated as a national treasure, is located there.
The teahouse is only open to the public once a month. The unique design everywhere inside the teahouse, such as the structure of the entrance and windows, is valuable to the history of the tea ceremony culture in Japan. The teahouse is definitely worth a visit.
Entrance fee: adult 1,000 JPY (incl. tax), child 600 JPY (incl. tax)
Unlike castles rebuilt for tourism, you can experience the castle as it was at Inuyama Castle. Please visit to feel the romance of history!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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