Monday, June 13, 2011

Nagoya Castle - Nagoya

Nagoya Castle (Nagoya-jō) is a Japanese castle located in Nagoya, central Japan. During the Edo period, Nagoya Castle was the center of one of the most important castle towns in Japan—Nagoya-juku— and it included the most important stops along the Minoji, which linked the Tōkaidō with the Nakasendō.
In order to advance into Owari, Suruga Province military governor Imagawa Ujichika built Yanagi-no-maru during the Taiei era from 1521-1528 for his son Imagawa Ujitoyo. It was the original castle at Nagoya, located around where the later Ninomaru residence of the castle would be. Oda Nobuhide seized it from Imagawa Ujitoyo in March 1532 and moved in and called it Nagoya Castle.
The Great Nobi Earthquake on October 1891 seriously damaged the southwest and Tamon turrets and other structures. Reconstruction and repair work followed. In 1893, the castle was transferred to the Imperial Household Ministry and in June the name of the castle was changed to Nagoya Detached Palace or Nagoya Imperial Villa as a formal imperial residence.
On May 20, 1906, the ground were specially opened to the public for one day for the National Railroad Five Thousand Miles Celebration. In March 1910, bronze dolphins brought from Edo Castle were added to the roofs of the small donjon and corner turrets. On February 1911, the former Hasuike Gate of Edo Castle war transported and reconstructed on the remains of the Nishinomaru-Enoki Gate, which today is used as the main gate for visitors. In 1923, the southwest turret was repaired.
During World War II, the castle was used as the Tokai district army headquarters and the main POW camp in Nagoya, although it held no prisoners and was just the administration office. The aerial bombardments by the United States Air Force brought the most destruction to the castle in its entire history. On January 1945, the Sarumen Tea House was destroyed in air raids. On May 14, the main donjon, small donjon, golden dolphins, Honmaru Palace, northeast turret and other buildings were completely destroyed in air raids. In June of that year, some of the paintings saved from the Honmaru Palace were moved for safekeeping to the Haiho Shrine, Toyotashi. These returned from the shrine in May 1946.
The castle's surviving former national treasures, which included the southwest, southeast, northwest turrets, the Omoto-Ninomon Gate and some the Honmaru Palace paintings were redesignated as important cultural assets by the national government. In 1953, the southeast turret was dismantled for repairs. The Ninomaru Garden was designated as a place of scenic beauty.
In 1957, reconstruction of the castle donjons were started. The second-generation golden dolphins were cast in the Osaka Mint and transported to the castle. On October 3, 1959 was the reconstruction of the two donjons completed and opened to the public. The next couple of decades saw further renovation work. In March 1964, the northwest turret was dismantled for repairs. In 1967, the Ninomon of the western iron gate was dismantled for repairs. In 1972, the stone walls at the west side of the East Iron Gate of the Ninomaru were dismantled. The wooden Ninomon was dismantled and later rebuilt at the east Ninomon Gate of the Honmaru.
In preparation for the Expo 2005, plaques using the English language were added to most displays for the castle and a 3-D movie showing the paintings in Honmaru Palace (,Honmaru Goten) was created for the anticipated large number of visitors to view. Reconstruction work of the destroyed Honmaru Palace begann in 2009 and is slated for completion by 2017.
The castle complex is made up of several enceintes, which are divided by the outer moat (Soto-bori) and inner moat (Uchi-bori). Each enceinte was protected by walls and turrets that were strategically located at each corner. Access from one enceinte to the next was controlled by guarded gates that were accessible by bridges. The castle is a good example of those built on flat lands.
Seen from above, the Honmaru enceinte is in the centre of the complex, containing the main and minor donjon, along with the palace. The Ninomaru enceinte is located to the east, the Nishinomaru to the west, the Ofukemaru, also known as the Fukaimaru, to the northwest, and the Sannomaru around the east and south. Today's Meijō Park was part of the larger castle's grounds to the north, which were used as pleasure gardens with a large pond.
The larger Sannomaru used to be buffered by two moats and encircled the inner castle enceintes from the east and the south. Various temples and villas, as well as administrative buildings used to be located in its area. On the eastern side, the large stone foundations of the Sannomaru East Gate are still visible. None of the original wooden structures of the Sannomaru have survived, but the area is still the administrative center of the city of Nagoya and the surrounding Aichi Prefecture, with Nagoya City Hall, the Aichi Prefectural Government Office and other administrative buildings and offices being located in this area. Roads and areas such as Sotobori-dori (Outer Moat Road) and Marunouchi have their origins from the castle.
Nishinomaru-enokida Gate is used today as the main gate to Nagoya Castle.
An old Torreya Nut Tree (Torreya nucifera) is located close to the Nishinomaru-enokida Gate to the north. Its height is 16 metres and eight metres at the base. It is over 600 years old and was already there when the castle was constructed.
Destroyed in World War II, the First Front Gate formed a square shape with the Second Front Gate, and had a smaller gate on the side with a gabled and tiled roof.
The Ote Umadashi was once a small defensive wall in front of the Second Front Gate.
The Southwest Turret is also called the Hitsuji-saru (sheep-monkey) turret, because these two animals denoted the southwest compass direction in the Chinese zodiac.
The Second Front Gate (Omote-ninomon) was formerly called the Second South Gate (Minami-ninomon) and leads into the inner Honmaru enceinte.
Called the "Tatsumi" turret, the Southeast Turret looks like it has two stories, but actually has three.
The First East Gate was a sturdy gate that forms a square shape with the outer gate.
Keeps: Nagoya Castle is known for its unique "connected-donjon" style of construction with the main donjon of five stories on five different levels and a smaller donjon of stories, two levels, joined by an abutment bridge. Evidence that another small donjon was planned for the west side of the main donjon can be found in traces of an entryway in the upper part of the stone wall foundation on that side. The entryway to the small donjon was also planned for the west side. However during the construction, the location was changed to where it is today. Traces of the original entryway remain inside the stone wall.
Golden dolphins: On either end of the topmost castle roof are two golden tiger-headed dolphins, called kinshachi. This motif was used as a talisman to prevent fires. They first appeared in the Muromachi era (1334-1400) as a symbol of the lord's authority.
The original golden dolphins were formed over a roughly carved block of wood over which lead sheets were applied. Copper was placed over the lea, before the application of the final layer of gold which was produced from pounding gold coins into thin sheets. It is said that the gold used amounted to a value of 17,975 ryo (taels), when converted from Keicho-period coins. The core of the golden dolphins are composed of hinoki cypress, originally the foundation was sawara cypress.
The Fumei Gate (Fumei-mon) is located in the Tamon Wall, which leads into the Honmaru. It was always locked securely and therefore known as "the gate that never opens". The wall is called a "sword wall", because spearheads under the eaves prevented penetration by spies or attackers. The gate was destroyed in the air raid on May 14, 1945. It was reconstructed to its original form in March 1978.
The Ninomaru Palace is thought to have been completed in 1617. Tokugawa Yoshinao, the first feudal lord of Owari, moved to this palace from Honmaru Palace in 1620. Besides serving as the residence of the lord, the palace functioned as the administrative center of the feudal government. Many more palaces were built in later years.
The Tokugawa Museum has a partial reconstruction of the reception chambers, such as the Kusari-no-ma and the Hiro-ma, which include display alcoves, staggered shelves and writing alcoves equipped with authentic furnishings.
The palace had two stages for performances of Noh: the omote-butai, or front stage, and oku-butai, the rear stage. Noh was performed to commemorate a lord's succession to a fiefdom and to celebrate the birth of an heir. The Tokugawas of Owari were patrons of many Noh actors. The modern Nagoya Noh Theatre was opened in April 1997 and is situated just south of the front gate of Nagoya Castle. A reconstruction of one of the Noh stages of the Ninomaru can be seen in the Tokugawa Art Museum. The tradition of courtly Noh is upheld in the Nagoya Noh Theatre, located in the Sannomaru enceinte.
The old Ninomaru Second East Gate, also called the East Iron Gate, was the outer gate of the Ninomaru enceinte on the east side.
The Uzumi Gate led to an underground tunnel that ran beneath the castle walls.
The remains of the Namban, or European, wall can be seen north of the Ninomaru Garden where they run from east to west on top of the stone wall.
Ninomaru Garden and what is presently known as Ninomaru East Garden were once part of the Ninomaru Palace.
According to the Oshiro Oniwa Ezu, the Ninomaru Palace Garden was grand in scale, featuring Mt. Gongen in the north, Mt. Sazae in the west, a large pond in the south, and six tea houses dotted around the rest of the garden.
Northwest Turret: Also called Inui turret, the northwest turret is three-storey structure with a roof at each level. The top layer, designed in the irimoya style, is covered with tiles. Many materials were taken from previous structures in Kiyosu Castle constructing this tower, it is therefore also called the Kiyosu turret. It is designated an Important Cultural Asset.
Projections on the first-storey outer walls facing north and west are trapdoors from which stones could be dropped on attacking forces. They are disguised with gabled roofs. Unlike other corner turrets that still exist, the northwest turret has gables on the east and south facing inside, projecting an image of balance and stability.
Plants and animals: The Ninomaru gardens and other areas such as the Ofukemaru have a wide variety of flora. In Spring, Japanese Cherry, wisteria, camellia and peony bloom. In the summer it is iris, crape myrtle, plantain lily and hydrangea, in autumn the confederate rose, Japanese quince and crape myrtle, and in winter the Japanese witch hazel, Japanese quince, wintersweet and Japanese plum that bloom. During the summer, Sika Deer can also be observed grazing in the moats that are dry and covered with grass. Various birds such as ducks and songbirds also inhabit the castle grounds as their sanctuary in the middle of the city.
Another way of pronouncing Nagoya Castle is Meijō. This name can be found for many things in the city, such as the Meijō Park, the Meijō Line and Meijo University.
Nagoya castle has been featured in many films such as Mothra vs. Godzilla and Gamera vs. Gyaos.



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