Arguably japan‘s most ancient and authentic fortress, Inuyama Castle stands proudly overlooking the Kiso River. With its rich history and unique architectural features, it is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and castle lovers alike.
Inuyama Castle is renowned for its status as the oldest existing castle tower in Japan. Its early watchtower type features make it a fascinating example of ancient Japanese architecture. The castle has stood the test of time, surviving numerous earthquakes and wars throughout its long history.
Until 2004, Inuyama Castle was privately owned, making it a rare gem among Japanese castles. In 1895, it was returned to its original owners under the condition that they repair the damage caused by an earthquake in 1891 and maintain the castle from then on. This unique ownership history adds to the castle’s allure and authenticity.
One of the highlights of visiting Inuyama Castle is the opportunity to experience the stunning scenery of the surrounding area. In fall and spring, the landscape transforms into a vibrant display of colors. Cherry blossoms adorn the skyline in April, while maple leaves create a mesmerizing tapestry of red, orange, and yellow in late November. The castle’s hilltop location offers breathtaking views of the Kisogawa Valley and Gifu Prefecture, making it a popular spot for photography enthusiasts.
To reach Inuyama Castle, visitors can start by traveling to Meitetsu Nagoya Station. From there, they can take the Meitetsu Line to either Inuyama or Inuyama-yuen stations. Alternatively, the castle is easily accessible by Tokaido Shinkansen, with Nagoya being just 52 minutes from Osaka and 1 hour and 40 minutes from Tokyo Station. Long-distance buses also connect Inuyama Station to major cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Nagoya.
As visitors approach Inuyama Castle, they will be greeted by its majestic presence atop a small hill. The castle’s exterior showcases traditional Japanese architecture, with steep wooden stairs leading up to the keep. Inside, visitors can explore various exhibits displaying samurai armor, folding screens, and swords. The top floor of the castle serves as an observation platform, offering panoramic views of the river, the city, and the surrounding hills.
In addition to its historical significance, Inuyama Castle is also home to several shrines, temples, and hidden vantage points. At the foot of the hill, visitors will find the Sanko Inari Shrine, known for its tunnel of red torii gates. This shrine is particularly popular among those seeking luck in love, as it is believed to grant wishes for finding a match. Adjacent to Sanko Inari is Haritsuna Shrine, which holds statues of historical significance. It was at this shrine that the Inuyama Festival, a nationally famous event, originated in 1635.
Speaking of festivals, one of the most exciting times to visit Inuyama Castle is during the Inuyama Festival held in early April. This festival showcases enormous floats that are pulled through the city, illuminated by hundreds of paper lanterns at night. The festival coincides with the blooming of cherry trees, creating a magical atmosphere that captivates locals and visitors alike.
While Inuyama Castle is undoubtedly the main attraction in the area, there are other worthwhile activities to explore in Inuyama. One such attraction is the Urakuen Japanese Garden, located nearby. This meticulously designed garden offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. The garden is also home to the teahouse Joan, where visitors can experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
For those interested in learning more about the history and culture of Inuyama, the Inuyama Artifacts Museum and the Karakuri Exhibition Room are must-visit destinations. Both museums offer free entry with a ticket to the castle, providing visitors with a comprehensive understanding of the region’s rich heritage.
In conclusion, Inuyama Castle is a treasure trove of history and culture. Its ancient architecture, breathtaking views, and vibrant festivals make it a top destination for travelers seeking an authentic Japanese experience. Whether exploring the castle’s interior, admiring the surrounding scenery, or participating in local festivities, a visit to Inuyama Castle is sure to leave a lasting impression. Plan your trip today and embark on a journey through Japan’s ancient past.
Address And Maps Location:
Kitakoken-65-2 Inuyama, Inuyama-shi, Aichi-ken