The Royal Treasure of Japan – Inuyama Castle
Japan has long treasured many beautiful antiques from the gone eras, one of which has got the status of the National Treasure of Japan and is one of the oldest remaining castles- yes we are talking about Inuyama Castle. Located near one of the biggest cities in Japan, Nagoya, Inuyama Castle is located in Aichi Perfecture. This castle is one of the 12 ancient castles, sanding erect to this day. Earthquakes, natural disasters, aging, nothing has yet been able to get the best of this castle.
The main towers of this castle date back to 1537, constructed by Oda Nobuyasu, uncle of a famous samurai war lord, as part of this castle. Originally built as a defensive fort, the castle reflects the architecture and design of the Momoyama period which was known for its contribution to the design of castles, as they stand today in Japan.
Tenshu, the main tower of this castle is the oldest, existing in Japan and is also called Japn’s National treasure. Apart from this castle only four other castles have managed to get the title of National treasure. Tenshu is made of wood and stone, as opposed to concrete built modern reconstructed castles in Japan, that were damaged somehow. It stands out due to the fact that it has the smallest Ana-gura (storeroom) and a stone base that is not hollow.
Inuyama as beautiful as outside, though cramped and small from the inside, has still got even more beautiful interior, which is well preserved and gives you an idea how a real Sengoku period castle looked like. Steep stairs are the only means of going upstairs to the other floors. This castle has the distinction of having the longest straight staircase in Japan.
This castle reflects the military practices of the ancient times too. There are Samurai armours, swords, paintings, and even documents reflecting how the samurais planned wars and invasions and who were their allies and enemies.
Sadly, many other structures and buildings of this castle were ruined during Meiji restoration. This period was like a renaissance period or let’s says a paradigm shift for the Japanese people from the old ages to the modern age, where these castles and ancient buildings, structures and symbols were destroyed, in an attempt to move forward. The castle’s main entrance, “Honmaru-mon” was also destroyed during this time. The current entrance was reconstructed in a similar way and reflects what the original entrance might have looked like.
The castle gives astounding views from the top, where the whole city is visible. The location of the castle is also ideal since it’s built on a hill so it gives a clear view of the city as well as the Kiso River and the surrounding mountains, valleys and plains. The castle grounds are an ideal tourist spot for the relaxation of eyes, especially if you visit the castle in spring season; cherry blossoms make the castle more appealing. Many people visit this castle just to sit and relax in its beautiful gardens in springs.