Nagoya Castle: One of the Largest

 As far as castles go in Japan, they tend to look the same. The basic architectural form is fairly consistent, so those of us who have spent a lot of time traveling around the country and visiting (usually reconstructions of) old fortresses can get a little bored. When you've seen enough, you start to notice the real differences - the red roof of Aizu, the black Matsumoto castle, and so on. Nagoya Castle's claim is its size, as it was one of the three branches of the ruling Tokugawa family's reign.

Air raids in 1945 wiped out pretty much everything, but the castle keep was rebuilt in 1959.
 There are rebuilt turrets as well, such as this one sitting atop a wall. As you can see, the walls are quite impressive.
 There are two moats surrounding Nagoya Castle, and the park itself is very nice. In the spring, it's a popular spot for viewing cherry blossoms.
 Other buildings destroyed in the air raids included the palace buildings, which never seem to exist at other rebuilt castles. Nagoya Castle is changing that, though - they are reconstructing the palace using traditional materials and techniques (the keep is authentic in appearance but is made of concrete).
 This process is expected to last until 2018, though some of the palace opened to the public last year. Meanwhile, you can observe the construction process and walk along the scaffolding (don't worry, it's safe). It's a great opportunity to see traditional techniques that one doesn't get to see often.
 So, what about the keep itself? It has a green roof with lots of details and curves.
 Here is one of the arches.
 The top of the castle is guarded by golden dragons.
 A look at the arch over one of the upper windows.
 Inside the keep is a museum, with some interesting things, such as this old palanquin. You can enter it to get a feel of how it was to be a royal family member traveling around town.
 The museum has some reconstructed building fronts and rooms.
 This is a recreated room from the original palace. Now that part of the reconstructed palace is partially open, you can see a few more rooms and the entryway.
 It's an old shopping street!
 A store.
Building the castle wall, stone by stone.

Nagoya Castle is open 9:00-16:30, and admission is 500 yen. You can't go on the scaffolding on Tuesdays or Thursdays, or during lunchtime (12:00-13:00). Nagoya Station isn't exactly the central hub that other cities' main stations are so a couple main subway lines don't go to Nagoya; to get to the castle from there requires changing subway lines at Sakae Station. From Shiyakusho Station, it's a three minute walk to the castle park's entrance.

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