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Castle Inuyama Castle

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
Inuyama Castle (犬山城 Inuyama-jō) is a hilltop castle facing the Kiso River in Inuyama City in northern Aichi Prefecture. It is famous for its elegant original castle tower that is designated a National Treasure.


The castle was constructed by Oda Nobuyasu (織田信康, d.1547), an uncle of Nobunaga, in 1537. During the Battle of Komaki Nagakute in 1584, Toyotomi Hideyoshi who led 120,000 soldiers used the castle as his base and fought against Tokugawa Ieyasu at Mount Komaki. In the Edo Period (1600-1867), Naruse Masanari (成瀨正成, 1567-1625), a senior retainer of Owari domain became the lord of the castle. The Naruse held the castle until the Meiji Period. It was abandoned in 1871 when most structures except the castle tower were destroyed.


The map is based on Google Earth. The location of enclosures and other structures is estimated.

I walked to the castle along the Kiso River from Inuyama-yuen Station (犬山遊園駅), enjoying the beautiful view of the imposing castle tower on the cliff. Thanks to its appearance, the castle is also called "Hakutei-jō", which is the name of a famous Chinese castle at the Changjiang River.

➢ ① Third enclosure
The third enclosure (三之丸) was located at the foot of the mountain.


Then I climbed up the steep mountain.

➢ ② Site of Black Gate
There are no original structures along the way to the castle. Only the foundation stones of the Yarai, the Matsunomaru and the Black gates (黒門) are left.


➢ ③ Honmaru gate
Then I arrived at Honmaru Gate (本丸門), the entrance to the castle.


➢ ④ Nanamagari Gate
This is the site of Nanamagari Gate (七曲門) at the northeastern part of the main enclosure. It is the only other remaining original part of the castle apart from the donjon.


➢ ⑤ Castle Tower
It is said to be one of the oldest castle towers that survived in Japan. It was built over four hundred years ago.


The stone wall was constructed in Nozurazumi style (野面積, lit. "natural-face masonry"). It means that dry stones were simply piled up and hardly worked giving them a rough, natural appearance. The stones vary in colour, shape and size and form a wild but beautiful stone wall.


I entered the castle tower. This is the ground floor.


On the first floor was the lord's living quarters used during sieges.


The second floor consisted of an armoury that was surrounded by a corridor.


The third floor offers great views in all directions.


The fourth floor is the last floor. A mawari-en (回縁), an edging strip, serves as observation platform.


The main enclosure as seen from the castle tower. The town of Inuyama spreads underneath.


Every direction from the castle tower offers superb views, especially the view of the Kiso River view is formidable.


There are many shops housed in the old-style building along the street from the castle to Inuyama Station. Visitors can watch the castle tower from the other side of the mall and enjoy the atmosphere of the old castle town.


Date of visit: 14 September 2013


  • Address: Kitakoken, Inuyama, Inuyama-shi, Aichi
  • Transport: 15 minutes from Meitetsu Inuyama Line Inuyama-yuen Station on foot
    11km from Meishin Expressway Komaki Interchange via National Route 41


About author
Hiroto Uehara
Hiroto is an ordinary Japanese office worker, but his true mission is searching for castles on the weekend.


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