Kinshachi. Golden dolphins. A symbol of the feudal lord’s authority, it is the first thing you see in the first photo of Nagoya Castle, IF you run your eye down the photo from top to bottom. The third photo is a close-up replica of the dolphin, but it sure doesn’t look dolphinish to us. What happened to the sweet, playful Flipper face? Oh, well…we guess lords had to look fierce and bellicose, not like happy pacifists. The castle is the iconic building associated with Nagoya, and it is seen everywhere as the City’s unofficial logo. Unfortunately, the inside of the castle closed earlier this month for reconstruction work, but we were able to tour the grounds and the gardens. Isn’t it magnificent?
Construction on the castle began in 1610, during the Odo Period. Many additions and modifications were made over the centuries. The Southwest Turret, built to protect the castle and seen in the front of the fourth photo, was destroyed in the 1891 Great Nobi Earthquake. The castle’s dolphins, keeps, turrets, Honmaru Palace, and other buildings were destroyed in the 1945 World War II aerial bombardments of Japan, and most have been refurbished or replaced.
The fifth photo is of Honmaru Palace, recently rebuilt according to original and traditional construction techniques. It has been open to the public for about a year. It originally was the primary residence of the feudal lords. The following photo is of Kiyomasa’s Pulling Stone. Born in Nagoya, he was tasked with getting the enormous stone foundation wall and moat built for the castle, which you can see in the fourth photo, as well. The foundation wall curves at the top, giving it a graceful look as well as strength. He gave directions from the stone that the statue stands upon, and is credited for getting all of the huge boulders in place, and the wall built, in just 6 months, a remarkable accomplishment for the early 17th century.
After that are various photos from around the grounds….some pretty Japanese artwork, the moat (which was rather impressive and deep, although dry), a man in traditional feudal dress available for photos, and the tranquil gardens. It was a gorgeous day here in Japan, and the grounds very busy with tourists. In cherry blossom time it is even nicer, but we missed the blooming season by a few weeks.
The final photo is from our morning breakfast buffet…yes, breakfast! We are unaware of the “American West Coast Trend” that the sign touts, but they sure are cute and colorful. Many children enjoyed them at the end of breakfast, and, maybe, possibly, a few adults as well, including traveling Americans!