Being one of the three greatest castles of Japan, it was a matter of time for me to visit Nagoya castle. Himeji and Kumamoto make the greatest three. Even though I knew it is still on stage one of its reconstruction, I couldn’t miss the chance to go, enter the castle and its facilities. Not only I visited the castle, there was a special event that made the trip a lucky experience. Read and find out the surprise encounters awaiting on my trip to Nagoya.
How to get there
From Tokyo, it’s a bit less than three hours by shinkansen to Nagoya station. From there, you can walk to the castle park in around 30 minutes. Not recommended on a hot summer day like I experienced. By subway, you have to change once, depending again, on how much are you willing to walk after. The closest option is Shiyakusho station on the Meijo Subway Line. By bus, the loop bus from Nagoya station takes you to the castle in around 30 minutes.
Arriving to Nagoya castle area
The heat of a summer day in Japan can be exhausting, as our small team was suffering every step out of the station. Not even able to use my brain to overheat it, I asked the first person we saw on our way to the castle. In an intersection, there was a lady officer controlling the cars that were turning to the right path. Probably she saw the pain (and sweat) and asked us first if we were going to the castle, or the sumo tournament. I snapped at that moment and asked for the sumo tournament. That’s how we changed our plans and headed right to the Aichi prefectural gymnasium.
Aichi prefectural gymnasium
Located in the same area as Nagoya castle, the venue holds the grand sumo tournament during the second half of july. Unable to get ticket for that day we gave up on the chance of watching the sumo tournament, but we stayed at the entrance for some minutes to see the wrestlers making their entrance to the gymnasium. If you’re planning to visit Nagoya castle on summer, this could be a perfect chance to watch a sumo tournament on the same day. If you’re in Tokyo check out for the Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Built by the Tokugawa family, the Owari branch, during the Edo era. It was constructed in Nagoya to ward off possible attacks going to other cities, like Osaka. As one of the largest castles on the period, the city surrounding the castle became the fourth largest of Japan.
During WWII most of the castle buildings were destroyed. The reconstructed building was made into a museum with exhibitions of the castle history. On the top floors is possible to take a look to the city. For years, the reconstruction of the Honmaru palace works are continuing and is possible to take a glimpse into the works from a hallway in the exterior. First stage of the completed reconstructions can be visited in an annexed building. For further information, you can visit the official website
Once we arrived to Nagoya castle, I went into the information center and asked for a map of the facilities. The talk was in english, so my friends could catch the information. After the talk of the castle features and different buildings, the receptionist whispered to me in japanese, like she was uncovering the ultimate secret of Nagoya castle, “you can encounter the lost samurai of the castle“. If RPG videogames did teach me something, is that when somebody tells you about a side quest, do it. Nagoya castle facilities offers visitors activities like this so you can have a lot more valuable experience. Unlucky for me, my party didn’t want to take the side quest, and headed for the main castle.
What about you? Would you take on side quests like “the lost samurai” or stick to your plans without leaving the main path? Feel free to leave a comment in the section below the article.