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A Must-See for Castle Lovers! The Beautifully Restored Hommaru Palace of Nagoya Castle

Hommaru Palace is located to the south of Nagoya Castle’s main castle tower. It was destroyed by fire during the war but has been restored over a period of 10 years. In 2013 and 2016, a couple of completed areas were opened to the public. The entire palace officially opens on June 8 (Fri), 2018.

2018.06.28
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A private press viewing enabled the editorial staff to step into the restored Hommaru Palace on June 4 (Mon). The Nagoya Omotenashi Busho-tai guided attendants through the palace, which turned out to be more magnificent than expected! This article covers the highlights of this palace to help visitors enjoy it more.

What is the Hommaru Palace?

The Hommaru Palace was built on the orders of the shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, as it was to be the residence of the lord of the Owari Domain. It later became a building specifically for the shogun when a gozasho (throne) for the shogun called “Jorakuden” was added. In short, it was an extremely important palace.

What's Amazing About Hommaru Palace

The most amazing thing about the restored Hommaru Palace is the accuracy of the restoration. A variety of historical materials, such as photographs and survey plans of the palace, remained from before the war, making it possible to restore the palace to the form it was when initially built in 1615. There is no other castle in Japan that has as much information about it before being destroyed by fire.

Highlight 1: Its Magnificence

Step into Hommaru Palace and you'll be struck right away by its magnificence. The partitions that are straight past the entrance and the screens in the Omote Shoin (main hall) are decorated in gold, with lifelike and powerful drawings of tigers and pine trees.

Highlight 2: The Japanese Cypress Are Beautiful and Smell Wonderful

The palace is built primarily using Japanese cypress, which adds to the beauty of the building. The fine-grained wood has no knots and is really beautiful. The lightness of the wood is enhanced in natural light, so visit on a sunny day if possible!

One of the newly restored rooms is the Yudono Shoin, which was the shogun's bathing room, similar to a present-day sauna. It is also built primarily with Japanese cypress, which gives off a wonderful aroma. Surrounded by this pleasant scent, you’ll be in for a luxurious time that will warm you right up.

Highlight 3: The Fun Details

This palace, which has been described as the "the finest example of classic Shoin-zukuri” (architectural style for samurai residences), can be enjoyed right down to the fine details. There are approximately 3,000 kazari-kanagu (decorative metal fittings) in a variety of designs that are used to hide nails. Each one was handmade by artisans and has intricate decorations.

Notice the Ramma (transom) between the ceiling and lintel. The more important the room, the more beautiful the Ramma. In particular, the Jorakuden (Shogun accommodation hall) has beautifully carved 3-dimensional Ramma decorated in bright colors.

Hommaru Palace has been beautifully restored to the way it was 400 years ago. The staff who visited it remained stunned by its magnificence, even after the tour was over. Photography is allowed inside, although flash photography and smartphone photography are prohibited. This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the splendor of a historic palace while in Nagoya!

■The Nagoya Castle Hommaru Palace
Address: 1-1 Hommaru, Naka-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi
Hours: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm (last entry at 4:00 pm)
   *9:00 am - 5:30 pm (last entry at 5:00 pm) between June 8 (Fri), 2018 and August 31 (Fri), 2018
Fees: Free entrance
   *Admission to Nagoya Castle required. 500 JPY/adult, etc.
Inquiries: 052-231-1700 (Nagoya Castle General Administration Office)

The Nagoya Castle Hommaru Palace

[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 06.07.2018]

*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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Writer: TokaiWalker

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