Notice of Preservation & Repair Construction Works
Since 2018, the Tenshu Tower of National Treasure Inuyama Castle undergoes a two-year project to improve its safety through construction works for both seismic retrofit and localized repairs. During the year of 2019, work will focus on earthquake-proofing of 3rd and 4th floor walls, followed by replacement of karahafu cusped gable roof tiles and painting of both external and internal walls of the 3rd floor, among other works. During the working period, it is expected that climbing to the top of the tower will be possible, however depending on the work being carried out at the moment of the visit, some restrictions may apply. Additionally, from mid-July to late December of 2019, the entire tower will be completely enclosed by scaffolding and protective sheets, thus becoming virtually concealed for sightseeing. We appreciate the cooperation and understanding in this effort to preserve such an invaluable cultural asset.
For additional details, please click here (National Treasure Inuyama Castle Official Website - in Japanese).
Strategically positioned on a wedge shaped hill with the wide, fast flowing Kiso River running around and below it, and with unhindered views of the surrounding area, it was the first castle to be owned outright by the warlord Oda Nobunaga, although he didn’t stay long, or use it as a regular base. Instead, he left his uncle as caretaker while he went off to fight more battles.
What remains of Inuyama Castle is just the keep, the main watchtower. Turrets, barracks, large walled corridors, protective gates and related buildings once surrounded the entire mountain until their demolition at the end of the Edo Period (1603-1868).
The keep itself looks small compared to other castles. Its stone walls stand just five meters in height, and the tower itself 19 meters on top of that. Floor space is around 699 square meters, which was normal for a keep of those days. You have to remove your shoes to enter the keep, but once inside, the wooden floor boards and naked pillars speak volumes. Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and a host of famous historical samurai figures have trodden these floors.
Steep stairs throughout not only saved interior space, but hindered armored invaders, making defense of the castle easier. The first floor is divided into a number of chambers, with wide corridors around these chambers giving the samurai ample space to move in times of attack. Climb a floor to see the armory where arms and armor were stored ready for attack. Above that, small balconies concealed under triangular eves provide fine views of the river, mountains, and attackers too. The fourth floor consists of a wide chamber, surrounded by a low balcony providing spectacular views of the surrounding area.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi and 120,000 samurai used Inuyama Castle during the 1584 Battle Of Komaki Nagakute against Tokugawa Ieyasu. In 1600 it was threatened during the great battle at Sekigahara. The castle then went through a succession of lords before Naruse Masanori was installed here in 1617. Inuyama remained in the hands of 12 generations of the Naruse clan until as recently as 2004, when it was handed over to Inuyama City and a new overseeing foundation.
Inuyama Castle is a fine example of 16th Century samurai castle architecture, a National Treasure where you’re sure to make some treasured memories of your time in Japan.