I first learned of Tokugawa Ieyasu and his role in Japanese history during my visit in Nagoya Castle. My first memories of the castle was during my childhood where its photos abound encyclopedias and as pop-up in my picture books. I was familiar of this icon before but learning more about its history encompasses its illustrious facade.In 1610, Tokugawa Ieyasu, victor of the Battle of Sekigahara ordered the construction of Nagoya Castle. He ordered 20 daimyo lords from provinces such as Kato Kiyamasa and Fukushima Masanori to build the walls. Kobori Enshu and Nakai Masakiyo are among the others who built the castle towers. The castle was finished in 1612 and served as the home of Owari Tokugawa family.
One of the prominent figures in the castle is the Shachi. The shachi are said to be imaginary animals that could summon water and prevent fires. The Kinshachi was erected on the top of the Castle to show the power and money of the Tokugawa clan.
After the Meiji Restoration, the beautiful castle served as a temporary palace for the Emperor. Bleak times came along with the Second World War. Along with the city, the majestic tower and Hommaru palace were destroyed by air raids. The main castle tower was then rebuilt in 1959.
However, three corner towers, three gates, and most of the paintings on the sliding doors and walls in the Hommaru Palace survived the fire, and have been preserved as cultural assets.
Visitors can visit the castle and experience the past life of the castle town through a replicated exhibit. In addition, artifacts that once adorned the Hommaru Palace and armors, weaponry of Nagoya castle are also displayed.
As an avid reader of history, I enjoy learning from these exhibitions. History always makes me wonder how people live thousands of years back. The diversity among former civilizations and nations across the world never cease to amaze me. Despite the wars, Nagoya Castle has remained as a steadfast symbol of resilience not only of the city of Nagoya but also that of Japan and its people.