National Treasure Inuyama CastleEnjoy the amazing authenticity

Inuyama Castle is a well-known national treasure. The castle tower is the oldest existing style in Japan, and is the oldest of the five National Treasure Castles. Due to its beauty, it is also called ``White Emperor City'' after Li Bai's song.
Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu captured this castle at a turning point for each of them. This is because this area is located on the banks of the great river Kiso River, making it a key point for trade.
During the Warring States period, when there was no internet, obtaining information was an important strategy.
The castle was built as a military base, located in a place with good transportation and easy access to information, with a panoramic view of Owari and Mino provinces.

Inuyama Castle, which has historical value, is full of charm that will leave you breathless even if you are not a castle fanatic. We will introduce its history and charm.

History of Inuyama Castle

Inuyama Castle was built in 1537 by Oda Nobunaga's uncle. In 1565, Nobunaga captured it from his cousin due to a family dispute over territory, and in 1581, Nobunaga's fourth son Katsunaga entered the castle.
After the Honnoji Incident, the Battle of Komaki Nagakute occurred, a battle between Hashiba Hideyoshi's army and the combined forces of Oda Nobuo and Tokugawa Ieyasu.
At the time, the lord of Inuyama Castle was Sadanari Nakagawa, a vassal of Oda Nobuo, but he was absent because he was away at Ise, so Tsuneoki Ikeda of Hideyoshi's army crossed the Kiso River and invaded the castle, and the castle fell. Later, Hideyoshi entered the castle and placed it under his control.
It was occupied by the eastern army during the Sekigahara outpost battle in 1600. From 1617, Masashige Naruse, a senior vassal of Tokugawa Ieyasu, ruled the castle and ruled it until the end of the Edo period.

In the Meiji period, everything except the castle tower was demolished and it was temporarily owned by Aichi Prefecture. However, in 1891, the castle tower was partially destroyed in the Great Nobi Earthquake, and it was given to the Naruse family from Aichi Prefecture on the condition that it be repaired and repaired.
It was designated as a national treasure in 1935.

The castle tower is approximately 24 meters long and is an early watchtower type.At first glance, it appears to be a three-story building, but when you go inside, it is a four-story structure with three floors above ground, four floors above ground, and two floors underground.

Highlights of Inuyama Castle ① Buildings that give you a sense of old history

Inuyama Castle is full of charm no matter where you look at it, but I would like to focus on three of its charms.

The first is the structure that gives you a sense of its ancient history.
First of all, this stone wall is brown and has gaps, giving it a slightly distorted impression.
This stone wall is ``Nozuka'' made of natural stones piled up as they are. Stone walls that are neatly cut and stacked without gaps have been around since the Edo period. It was made before stone-cutting techniques were developed, and due to the local characteristics and the use of chert, it has a brown and distorted shape. This distortion makes you feel the oldness of history, which is attractive.

You can also walk through the basement 1st and 2nd floors while getting a close-up view of the stone walls inside the anagura. This alone is sure to tickle the hearts of castle enthusiasts.

Also, when you look at the pillars, you can feel that they have been left over from ancient times. There are diagonal scraping marks left on this pillar. This piece was cut using a long saw called an ōga, which required two people to cut it, which is why these scratch marks remain.
In later times, other tools (such as planes) were used to remove the vines, so these marks no longer remain. Please pay attention to it.

Highlights of Inuyama Castle ② Structure that makes you feel like a military base

Buildings from this era often had beams so low that you could almost hit your head on them, but this place has high ceilings and a sense of openness.
This area is called ``Musha Hashiri'' and is built high so that even if you set up a spear, you can carry it without getting caught.
From this construction, you can feel that this castle was built not as a symbol of authority, but as a ``military base.''

Overseas (especially in Europe and America), military bases are usually made of stone. Wooden military bases themselves are rare, and the fact that they still exist and can be visited is valuable.
In addition, many measures have been taken to prepare for an enemy attack, such as stone removal and the construction of stairs.
If you were to enter this castle as an enemy, please look here and there, thinking that you have no chance of winning.

Highlights of Inuyama Castle ③ A watchtower that feels like a strategic point for transportation and information

(Courtesy of Inuyama City Tourism Association)

The watchtower of Inuyama Castle can be viewed 360 degrees around the perimeter, and from here you can see the graceful flowing Kiso River.
It spreads out in a fan-shape from Inuyama Castle to Okazaki Castle, Nagoya Castle, Komakiyama Castle, and Gifu Castle, offering a panoramic view of Owari and Mino Province.
This is a place where you can really feel why the people of Japan wanted this place.
Surrender yourself to a sense of freedom as you experience with your whole body that it had a great view, gathered information, and functioned as a military base.

Furthermore, for those who want to know more. The wonders of Inuyama Castle

It stands alone on a mountain, so you shouldn't have to worry about land, but it has a trapezoidal shape that gets narrower towards the back of the room.
This is not a matter of perspective, but the deeper you go, the narrower it is. Why it was created this way has not yet been proven.
Why do you think it is made like this?

Also, this watchtower is made of solid walls, which is rare in castles. Normally castles have pure white walls with painted pillars, but for some reason the pillars are exposed.

And finally, when you look up from below, the first and second layers of the roof from the bottom have been plastered and are white, but the third layer on the top floor has not been plastered and remains black. This is also one of my wonders.
What does this mean?
One of its charms is that there are mysteries that have yet to be explained. I hope you enjoy it while thinking about the romance of history.

We have introduced some of the charms of Inuyama Castle, but there are still many things to see.
The reason why this castle captures the hearts of both beginners and castle enthusiasts is probably because it is full of authentic charm.
Inuyama Castle is full of excitement every time you visit. Please come and visit us.

(Interview cooperation: Inuyama City Tourism Association)

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Kanako Kamiya
introducerKanako Kamiya (writer)While teaching history, I cover historical places and things. My specialty is knowledge. My favorite military commander is Tadakatsu Honda. Instagram @kanako_kamiyaClick here for official website/SNS
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