JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.


Most viewed - Nagoya 名古屋市
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Reconstructed in 1959 in ferro-concrete, Nagoya Castle's main tenshu tower has closed on May 6, 2018 to start its monumental reconstruction. 天守閣545 viewsThis main tower used to house a museum. The top floor had a lookout deck with fine views.
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Symbol of Nagoya, golden shachihoko. Killer whale or fish with a tiger's head.516 viewsFirst believed to protect the building from disasters, but later served as the symbol of the castle lord's authority. The original pair was destroyed along with the castle tower during WWII, but they were remade in 1959 along with the castle tower. Later, they were recoated with gold. They gleam very well on sunny days. The male fish is on the right (north), and female (south) on the left.
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Near the station is Nagoya City Hall (Shiyakusho) which also sports a castle motif.351 views
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I always visit a different shrine on New Year's Day, so for 2009, I visited Atsuta Jingu Shrine in Nagoya. JR Atsuta Station on the Tokaido Line is one train station near Atsuta Jingu Shrine. JR熱田駅349 views
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Nagoya Castle, Northwest corner turret. 西北隅櫓337 views
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On the 5th floor was a model of shachihoko that you could touch and sit on for pictures.320 viewsNagoya Castle's main tower closed on May 6, 2018 to be dismantled (and reconstructed).
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Closeup of castle tower, with shachihoko on top. Nagoya Castle is famous for its golden pair of shachihoko roof ornaments. During the Aichi Expo in 2005, they were taken down for public display. 天守閣318 views
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Kiyomasa depicted as the rock hauling director. When building the castle, many men had to push and pull large rocks into place. On top of a large boulder, a man would shout and direct the men to move.293 views
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Inside castle tower252 viewsThe castle tower is a history museum.
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Gift shop on top floor235 views
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Nagoya Station's twin towers in the distance.227 views
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Southeast corner turret (Important Cultural Property)225 views東南隅櫓
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My bowl of matcha green tea. After we consumed the tea, we just left. The shrines also has many other buildings, but it was too crowded for me to see them all this day. I was too tired walk around more.221 views
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The shrine maidens came around to serve the tea and sweet.218 views
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As you walk toward the castle entrance, you see this Sotobori outer moat.211 views
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This photo was taken in 2006, showing an empty lot where the Hommaru Goten Palace is being reconstructed now.207 views
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Southeast corner turret (Important Cultural Property). Also called the Tatsumi Yagura turret. It has bay windows to drop stones. 辰巳櫓 東南隅櫓203 views
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Picture taken in 2006. 天守閣194 views
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Northwest corner turret. 西北隅櫓190 views
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Dry moat on east side of castle.188 views
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A sweet confection to eat with the matcha tea.183 views
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Northwest corner turret. Also called the Inui or Kiyosu Turret. Very photogenic with the wide moat in front. 戌亥櫓(いぬいやぐら)、清洲櫓、西北隅櫓176 views
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East Gate ticket gate. Nagoya Castle admission is ¥500 for adults. Open 9 am to 4:30 pm. Closed Dec. 29–Jan. 1.174 views
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Southeast corner turret172 views東南隅櫓
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This photo from 2006 shows an empty lot next to the main castle tower.172 views
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Bridge across the Sotobori moat to East Gate 東門171 views
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Sotobori moat 外堀171 views
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Site of palace building before it was rebuilt. Only foundation stones remained.171 views
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Although Nagoya Castle is impressive, it never had the pizazz or aura of being anything special compared to other major castles (especially the National Treasures) in Japan.166 viewsMainly because the main castle tower is a 1950s ferro-concrete reconstruction of the original National Treasure that sadly got destroyed by WWII fire bombings. It has been a relatively humdrum castle, and people in Nagoya knew it.
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Palace foundation stones. The palace, destroyed during WWII, served only as luxury lodging for the shogun passing through. 160 viewsThe architecture was similar to the palace at Nijo Castle.
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This is Nagoya Castle when I visited in 2006. In the foreground, you can see the stone foundations of the Honmaru Palace still remaining.159 views
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Seimon Gate (reconstructed in 1959). The gate was destroyed during WWII, and was reconstructed in 1959 together with the castle tower. 正門158 views
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Stone wall corner155 views
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To East Gate154 views
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Omote Ni-no-mon Gate (Important Cultural Asset). Entrance where most people enter the castle's center. 表二之門152 views
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Castle tower and southwest corner turret.146 views未申櫓, 西南隅櫓
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West side near the Uzura no Kubi inlet145 views
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West side of Nagoya Castle141 views
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Seimon Gate 正門134 views
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Southwest corner turret 西南隅櫓132 views
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Outside Seimon Gate129 views
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The East torii gate of Atsuta Jingu Shrine, made of wood. Atsuta Jingu worships Atsuta-no-Ookami or Amaterasu-Omikami, the Sun Goddess represented by Kusanagi-no-tsurugi, the sacred sword.121 views
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North side of castle119 views
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West side of Osu Kannon Temple. The space on the right is where you can have your car blessed (for a fee) by the temple priest for traffic safety.116 views
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Beckoning cat, a popular meeting place.113 views
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Osu Niomon-dori shopping arcade.113 views
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Entrance to Osu Niomon-dori shopping arcade.112 views
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Nagoya's new Hommaru Palace is right next to the tenshukaku main castle tower.110 views
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There was no ceremony. We just sat and were served tea and sweet.108 views
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The Omote Shoin (表書院) Main Hall's Jodan-no-Ma Room which is reserved for daimyo of Nagoya Castle. 上段之間.108 views
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Nagoya Castle manhole, Aichi.107 views
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The stage was appropriate for New Year's.105 views
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Sliding door painting in the Omote Shoin (表書院) Main Hall's Ichi-no-Ma Room 一之間. Nagoya Castle's Hommaru Palace.105 views
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Ryukasui at Seijuin, monument for an old well.104 views
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Osu Niomon-dori shopping arcade.103 views
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All the paintings are painstakingly hand-painted replicas of the original art. Nagoya Castle's Hommaru Palace.103 viewsThey have excellent records and photos of the original palace (floor plans, etc.) so they are working to reconstruct the palace as close to the original as possible. Magnificent.
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Leopard at Nagoya Castle's Hommaru Palace.103 views
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Osu Kannon Temple 大須観音101 views
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Atsuta Jingu is one of Japan's most important shrines as it enshrines one of the three Imperial Regalia of Japan, the sacred (and perhaps legendary) sword called Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi ("Grass Cutting Sword"). 草薙の剣98 views
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This is what we wanted to see. The offertory pit where people throw their money in front of the Hongu main shrine. 本宮96 views
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Inside the Bunkaden Culture Hall for tea.96 views
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This is the Bunkaden Culture Hall which is behind and attached to the Treasure Hall. This is where they held the tea session.96 views
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Shiyakusho subway station. Nagoya Castle is near Shiyakusho Station which is also near Nagoya's city hall. This station exit has a castle motif.96 views
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Banner read "Happy New Year."94 views
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New Year's prayers at Atsuta Jingu Shrine on Jan. 1.92 views
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Atsuta Jingu Shrine's Hongu main shrine. For 1,000 yen, they let you in here to pray. The architecture and layout are almost the same as the Ise Grand Shrines in Mie Pref. Rebuilt in 1955. I wonder if the sacred sword is in there.90 views
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Altar of Osu Kannon Temple's Hondo main hall.88 views
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This is where the crowd begins on New Year's Day. The shrine also worships four other deities: Susanoo-no-mikoto, Yamato-Takeru-no-Mikoto, and Takeinadane-no-Mikoto and Miyasuhime-no-Mikoto, the parents of the Owari natives (Nagoya area).85 views
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The shrine's bank will love to count all this money. It must be their favorite time of year.85 views
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Hondo main hall of Osu Kannon Temple. However, there is an elevated platform for the Setsubun bean throwers. These photos were taken a few days before Feb. 3.85 views
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JR–Maglev MLX01-185 views
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Shopping arcade on the way to the shrine from Atsuta Station.84 views
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From the ladle, pour the water into your hand and sip the water to purify yourself before visiting the shrine. This was a most crowded place.84 views
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Coins, bills, gift certificates, and even wallets were thrown in here.84 views
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West Gate of Osu Kannon Temple. This is the gate nearest to the subway station. Note that this is not the main gate even though it is the most popular one. 西門84 views
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Entrance to Kannon-dori shopping arcade.84 views
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I wonder how much money these wallets contain.83 views
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Shrines are in the business of selling good fortune and hope.83 views
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Get your car blessed here for transportation safety.83 views
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Niomon Gate, the front gate of Osu Kannon Temple. 仁王門83 views
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Another train station near Atsuta Shrine is Meitetsu Jingumae Station (this is closer than Atsuta Station). 名鉄神宮前駅82 views
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One normal gate was closed and we all had to enter through the East Gate.82 views
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View of the money pit as seen from the shrine. This is still quite small compared to Meiji Shrine in Tokyo on New Year's Day. Less crowded too.82 views
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Votive tablets and other trinkets.82 views
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Homotsukan Treasure Hall houses and exhibits the shrine's valuable artifacts, including Important Cultural Properties and a National Treasure (a dagger). Many people donated stuff to the shrine, especially swords. 宝物館82 views
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Behind and attached to the Homotsukan Treasure Hall is the Bunkaden Culture Hall where they held a tea session. People form a long line as they wait to enter the Bunkaden. The tea was included in the 1,000 yen I paid to see the inner shrine.81 views
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Omotesando path to the temple. Very few people walk along this main path because it is not in the direction of the nearest subway station.81 views
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View from the Hondo main hall.81 views
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Temple bell81 views
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100 Series Shinkansen (2nd generation). I call this the "Slit-eye" model.81 views
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Inside the Hondo main hall of Osu Kannon Temple.80 views
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This is what we received for 1,000 yen. Some sweets as well. It also included a tea session. (See below.)80 views
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Wash fountain79 views
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Shrine amulets were selling like crazy.79 views
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They also give you a small dish and sake served by a shrine maiden as you exit.79 views
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Description of various amulets in English.79 views
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Built in 1686 by Shogun Tsunayoshi, this is Nishi-gakusho, one of the few shrine buildings remaining from before the Meiji Period. Dances and other ceremonies are held here. 西楽所79 views
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Niomon Gate 79 views
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Large paper lantern at the entrance of the Hondo main hall.79 views
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Atsuta Shrine was established about 1900 years ago. In the centuries past, the shrine has been patronized by major historical figures such as Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and the Tokugawa shoguns (Ieyasu was originally from this area).78 views
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We got to the wash fountain to purify ourselves.78 views
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Barrels of sake.78 views
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The police were holding back the crowd at regular intervals before they could enter the shrine's worship area.78 views
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Remnant of the Nobunaga-bei, a roofed mud wall donated to the shrine in 1560 by Oda Nobunaga in gratitude for his victory at the Battle of Okehazama.77 views
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Incense burner77 views
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Porch of the Hondo main hall.77 views
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Monument for Taisho koto.77 views
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Class 955 "300X" experimental Shinkansen77 views
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The road in front of Meitetsu Jingumae Station was closed to traffic, allowing pedestrians to get to Atsuta Shrine on New Year's Day.76 views
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We soon hit a bottleneck where we had to wait a while as we slowly got nearer to the shrine.75 views
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Many food stalls line the way to the shrine on New Year's Day.75 views
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Standing in line to pray.75 views
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Omikuji fortune paper.75 views
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Tokkyu Limited Express train, 381 series75 views
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We stand still.74 views
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Getting closer.74 views
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Follow the sign to exit or to see other shrine buildings.74 views
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Nozomi 700 Series Shinkansen. "Duckbill" design.74 views
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The classic and iconic "Bullet Train." The original shinkansen model that debut in 1964, the 0 Series Shinkansen (1st generation). Classic and iconic design.74 views
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The crowd thickens and it was stop and go, repeatedly.73 views
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Now we stand in line to pray before the shrine.73 views
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Top floor's lookout deck. The top floor only has windows and no balcony.73 views
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Approaching the final torii.72 views
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Corridor of the palace, made of fragrant hinoki cypress.72 views
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The Omote Shoin (表書院) Main Hall's Jodan-no-Ma Room which is reserved for daimyo. 上段之間.72 views
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One unique thing about the 100 Series Shinkansen was this two-story car with a restaurant on the upper level.72 views
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Japanese Government railway's first bus.72 views
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Finally, the shrine is in sight.71 views
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Omote Shoin (表書院) Main Hall's Ni-no-Ma Room 二之間.71 views
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The Taimenjo (対面所) Reception Hall 71 views
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Names of the castle lords.71 views
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Spiral staircase in the middle of the tower. There's an elevator too.71 views
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We want to go straight.70 views
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Nagoya Castle is Nagoya's most visible attraction and symbol of the city. It is most closely associated with the Tokugawa after Ieyasu decided to rebuild it in the early 1600s. 70 viewsTwenty daimyo lords from Western Japan were ordered to build the castle including Kato Kiyomasa who built Kumamoto Castle. It was the base of the Tokugawa's Owari branch. The main castle tower was paired with a smaller tower and the Hommaru Palace and Ninomaru Palace were built nearby.
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Next section is the Omote Shoin (表書院) Main Hall consisting of five rooms. This is the San-no-Ma 三之間.70 views
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Omote Shoin (表書院) Main Hall's Ni-no-Ma Room 二之間.70 views
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Sliding door lock.70 views
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Sliding door painting in the Omote Shoin (表書院) Main Hall's Ichi-no-Ma Room 一之間.70 views
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Sliding door painting of birds in the Omote Shoin (表書院) Main Hall's Ichi-no-Ma Room 一之間.70 views
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The Taimenjo (対面所) Reception Hall is most impressive.70 views
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Special latticed ceiling of the Taimenjo (対面所) Reception Hall's Jodan-no-Ma room reserved for the daimyo lord.70 views
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Inner courtyard70 views
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Preparation room (Shimo Gozensho) to serve the Reception Hall. 下御膳所70 views
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Exhibition rooms on the lower floors.70 views
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Oda Nobunaga70 views
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Wood shop is open to the public viewing 9 am to 4 pm. Closed on Sun.70 views
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Kiyomasa's stone69 views
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When you first enter the Hommaru Palace, you're in a room called the Nakanokuchibeya (中之口部屋). Take off your footwear and backpacks, bags, etc., are required to be stored.69 views
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Corridor. All hinoki cypress wood, giving a pleasant aroma.69 views
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Sliding door painting in the Omote Shoin (表書院) Main Hall's Ichi-no-Ma Room 一之間.69 views
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Sliding door painting in the Omote Shoin (表書院) Main Hall's Ichi-no-Ma Room 一之間. The main hall features paintings of flowers and birds.69 views
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The Taimenjo (対面所) Reception Hall.69 views
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Some of the rocks on the stone walls are engraved with the crest of samurai clans that provided the stones and helped to build Nagoya Castle.69 views
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Museum inside Nagoya Castle's main tower had seven floors with exhibits. There was an elevator inside. The smaller tower had nothing except the door and entrance hall.69 viewsNagoya Castle's main tower closed on May 6, 2018 to be dismantled (and reconstructed).
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Hommaru Goten Palace being reconstructed.69 views
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Palanquin for ladies69 views
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Scale model of Nagoya Castle town.69 views
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Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium is within the castle grounds. It is also the venue for the Nagoya sumo tournament held in July. 愛知県体育館68 viewsSumo wrestlers were coming and going. These are low-ranking wrestlers who walk and take the subway like the rest of us. The high-ranking wrestlers travel by taxi or their own car.
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Ironically, the castle lord lived in the Honmaru Palace for only a short period before moving to the much larger Ninomaru Palace nearby. No plans to reconstruct the Ninomaru Palace.68 views
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Side entrance to the reconstructed palace. We can enter and tour the completed portion of the palace here. Have to take off your shoes. Photography is permitted, but flash is prohibited.68 views
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Shoe lockers where you can store your footwear.68 views
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The first section we see is the Genkan entrance hall consisting of two rooms next to the Kuruma Yose VIP entrance. This is the Ninoma room. 二之間68 views
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Paintings of mythical tigers and leopards. They are reproducing the artwork as faithfully as possible. An absolutely magnificent job. 68 viewsReally painstaking though, as they trace over original paintings. This palace is slated to be completed in 2018, after 9 years of work. The original palace took only 3 years to complete.
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Omote Shoin (表書院) Main Hall's San-no-Ma Room 三之間.68 views
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This section is the Taimenjo (対面所) Reception Hall consisting of four rooms.68 views
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Another room of the Taimenjo (対面所) Reception Hall. 納戸一之間68 views
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Another room of the Taimenjo (対面所) Reception Hall. 納戸二之間68 views
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List of donors for building the Hommaru Palace.68 views
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Entrance to the main castle tower when it was still open. Nagoya Castle's main tower closed on May 6, 2018 to be dismantled (and reconstructed). Interior photos were taken when it ws still open.68 views
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Today, you can see the Hommaru Goten Palace being reconstructed.68 views
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Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium where the sumo tournament is held in July.68 views
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Southwest corner turret. Also called the Hitsujisaru Turret.68 views
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Newly painted sliding doors for the Hommaru Palace.68 views
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The 3rd floor has this scale model of Nagoya Castle town.68 views
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Sadly, the original buildings were destroyed by World War II firebombings by the US. The main castle tower was reconstructed with ferro-concrete in 1959. 67 viewsAnd now, since 2009, they are reconstructing the Hommaru Palace. They are using traditional materials and methods of construction.
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Inside the main entrance called "Kuruma Yose" 車寄 reserved for the castle lord and other VIPs.67 views
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Omote Shoin (表書院) Main Hall's San-no-Ma Room 三之間.67 views
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Very intricate overhead transom made of wood.67 views
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About the Preparation room (Shimo Gozensho) to serve the Reception Hall. 下御膳所67 views
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Nagoya Castle's main castle tower is paired with and connected to a lesser tower on the left. It is closed to the public and will be dismantled from fall 2019 for its grand reconstruction with wood to be completed in Dec. 2022.67 views
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Entrance to the main castle tower.67 views
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One floor recreates an Edo-Era street.67 views
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Palanquin for ladies67 views
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Scale model of Hommaru Goten palace.67 views
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East Gate ticket gate66 views
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Rocks are temporarily stored here from another part of the castle wall being repaired.66 views
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This palace was modeled after the Nijo Castle palace in Kyoto, so it looks similar on a smaller scale. Both Nijo Castle and Nagoya Castle were connected to the Tokugawa shoguns.66 views
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The reconstructed palace uses the original foundation stones in their original place. Can't get more authentic than this.66 views
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About half the palace has been completed and opened to the public.66 views
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Genkan entrance hall’s Ninoma room. The original painters were from the renown Kano school of painting. 28 tatami mats. 二之間66 views
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Next to the Ninoma room is the Genkan entrance hall’s Ichinoma room that includes an alcove. 18 tatami mats. 一之間66 views
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Paintings show scenes from Wakayama.66 views
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Donations are welcome.66 views
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Love the fine roof lines.66 views
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Corridor between the smaller tower and main tower.66 views
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Triangular chidorihafu roof gables on Nagoya Castle.66 views
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Replica of the castle's famous roof ornament, a golden carp.66 views
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