Nagoya Castle

Castle associated with Ieyasu Tokugawa

Nagoya Castle  is said to have been built by Tokugawa Ieyasu for his ninth son, Yoshinao, and is located in present-day Nagoya City. It used to be called “Nakono Castle” and Nobunaga Oda was born in this castle.

The young Nobunaga lived there as the lord of the castle, but it was abandoned in 1555. The castle was built by the master builder Kiyomasa Kato, who was deeply involved in its construction.

Nagoya is one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Japan.

I’m sure many people would name the golden orca, Nagoya Castle, as one of the representative tourist attractions of Nagoya. Nagoya Castle is characterized by its large scale, and boasts the top level of luxury and solidity in all aspects of the castle in Japan. This is because Ieyasu Tokugawa wanted to show off the power of the Tokugawa family.

The origins of Nagoya Castle

Nakono Castle was located in what is now the area between Ninomaru and Minomaru. Originally the home of the Owari Imagawa clan, it was taken by Nobuhide, Nobunaga’s father, through a conspiracy, and the young Nobunaga was made lord of the castle, which remained his home until he moved to Kiyosu Castle. After the castle was abandoned, it became a wasteland, and there is a legend that it was used for falconry, and Tokugawa Ieyasu was the one who noticed the wasteland.

Because the castle was incorporated into the fortifications of Nagoya Castle, few remains remain, and today there is only a monument in the Ninomaru area to show that Nakono Castle once stood there.

Kato Kiyomasa

Kiyomasa Kato and Nagoya Castle

The work of famous warlords contributed to the success of this stone wall, but the work of Kato Kiyomasa is said to have been particularly outstanding. The legend of the “Kiyomasa Stone” is particularly famous, and it is said that Kiyomasa himself carried the stone. It is said that he himself came forward to build the stone wall that would be the keystone of the castle, which shows the manliness of Kiyomasa. Thanks to the work of such warlords, most of the main buildings that make up Nagoya Castle were completed in just three years from the completion of the stone walls.

What do you think of Nagoya Castle?

It is no exaggeration to say that Nagoya Castle is now a symbol of Nagoya City, with many people thinking of the “golden orca”.

In fact, there have been several theft attempts, and in the Edo period (1603-1867), legend has it that a man rode a kite up to the orcas and succeeded in stealing them. In reality, he broke in through a storehouse, escaped by boat, and was later caught and put to death, but the story of him stealing the orca with a kite was greatly adapted and even incorporated into a Kabuki play.

Nagoya Castle Highlights

Honmaru Palace

Built to the highest architectural standards of the time, this special pavilion was used only when the Shogun made his way to Kyoto. It is no exaggeration to say that the Kamarakuden, with its abundant use of gold leaf and sliding door paintings by famous painters, is the epitome of luxury.

Nagoya Castle was built during the Pacific War.

Nagoya Castle was destroyed in an air raid on Nagoya at the end of the Pacific War, when the castle tower, Honmaru, and most of the other buildings were hit by incendiary bombs and burned down. During the war, the orchids and barrier paintings were removed and evacuated, but valuable heritage was lost. The Honmaru Goten and the castle tower were restored in 1959 with the help of local people and donations from all over Japan, and the Honmaru Goten is still under restoration work, with completion scheduled for 2018.

The restoration of the Honmaru Palace is open to the public. Visitors can see the crater scene of over 300 year-old cypress trees and other materials being worked on and inked.

Don’t just look at the prominent main keep!

The castle’s stunning presence tends to draw attention only to the main keep, but in fact, this keep is a restored reinforced concrete building and is not a historical structure. Since you are visiting Nagoya Castle, you should see the huge turrets that still exist, such as the northwest corner turret, southeast corner turret and southwest corner turret.

Here’s what the inside of the keep looks like

There are many things to see inside the Nagoya Castle Main Keep, including the paintings on the walls that survived the war and exhibits of historical materials related to Nagoya Castle. The 3rd to 5th floors in particular feature a life-size model of the golden orcas, a corner where children and adults alike can enjoy learning about history by trying their hand at pulling stones or riding in a palanquin, and a corner where visitors can learn about life inside the castle and the castle area using light and sound. You can enjoy Nagoya Castle in a different way from other castles.

Enjoy the magnificent cherry blossoms in spring

The best time to visit Nagoya Castle is in spring. The pink carpet seen from the castle tower makes the entire castle look like it’s floating. The collaboration with the pine trees is also tasteful. There are 1,000 cherry trees of about 10 varieties, mainly Someiyoshino and Shidare-zakura. Someiyoshino cherry blossoms can be seen from late March to early April, and the green blossoms of gyoikou can be seen along with the castle tower around mid-April. You can feel the arrival of spring here and there in the castle.

The cherry blossoms are also popular at night and are usually lit up from dusk until around 20:00. Food stalls are set up near the entrance and in Meijo Park, which attracts many people.

Nagoya Castle Photography Spots

Take a photo of the beautiful keep

Many visitors to Nagoya Castle will want to photograph the beautifully restored keep. Although it is a reinforced concrete reconstruction, the replicated castle walls and pale green roof tiles are stunningly beautiful.

Currently, plans are underway to rebuild it in wood, and it is attracting a lot of attention. The beautiful keep is best photographed from the Nishinomaru.

Recommended shooting areas


When photographing the keep from the Nishinomaru, the best time to photograph it is between 1pm and 3pm! Nagoya Castle is best viewed from the southwest, so we want you to photograph here.

The southwest corner turret and northwest corner turret are also recommended. If you want to shoot in the morning, we recommend the southeast corner turret. The light is good regardless of the season, so you’ll likely be able to take your favorite shot.

If you want to photograph the castle keep from the front, it is best to photograph it from the top floor of a nearby hotel or restaurant. The castle is right in front of you, so it’s a good idea to take pictures while looking down on it.

Nagoya Castle Access

Nagoya Castle Access

Nagoya Castle is a 7-minute walk from Shiyakusho Station on the Meijo Subway Line and a 12-minute walk from Asama Station on the Maizuru Line. The Nagoya City sightseeing route bus, “Meagle”, will take you to all the tourist attractions in Nagoya for 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for children.

To get there by car, take the Kurokawa Exit on the Nagoya Expressway Route 1 Kusunoki Line and drive south for about 8 minutes. If you take the Expressway Inner Circular Route, get off at Marunouchi Exit and drive about 5 minutes north. Two convenient parking lots, the Main Gate and the Ninomaru East Parking Lot, offer relatively reasonable rates of 180 yen per 30 minutes.

Hotels near Nagoya Castle

The Westin Nagoya Castle is located right in front of Nagoya Castle. The Westin Nagoya Castle is located right in front of Nagoya Castle, making it the perfect place to stay when it comes to accessibility. You can also see the lights of the castle from the comfort of your room, which is unique to this hotel.

Hospitality is a word that fits this hotel, and the luxurious hospitality that will heal your tired travel body will make you happy.

It even gives you the illusion that the garden of the hotel is Nagoya Castle.

There are also some other places of interest that you should visit!

Tokugawa-en, which is said to have been created by Mitsutomo Tokugawa, the second head of the Owari Domain, and where he retired, is a mansion with a beautiful garden where you can enjoy the changing scenery of the four seasons. It is such a beautiful place that you don’t have to ask anyone to feel that Mitsutomo was able to spend the rest of his life in a relaxed atmosphere after having fulfilled his important role.