Nagoya Castle Hommaru Palace

Japanese Castles: Nagoya Castle Hommaru Palace

Nagoya Castle Hommaru Palace 名古屋城本丸御殿

History of Hommaru Goten, Nagoya Castle

The Hommaru Goten Palace of Nagoya Castle in Aichi Prefecture was destroyed during World War II but is being painstakingly restored to its former glories to completely reopen by 2018.

Restoration work began in 2009 and the first stage of the reconstruction was finished in 2013 with the Genkan, or entrance hall and the Omote Shoin, the main hall, now opened to public viewing from 2013. The Reception Hall or Taimenjo, is on course for completion by 2016 with the whole project due to finish in 2018.

The original palace was constructed in 1615 to the south of the main donjon in a style of architecture known as shoin-zukuri and ranked with the Ninomaru Palace at Nijo Castle in Kyoto in beauty.

The tatami-room interiors of the rooms in the Hommaru Palace had screens and partitions painted by such masters as Kano Sadanobu and Kano Tanyu (1602-1674). Each room was different in its decoration. The tigers seen in the screen paintings represent the warlike spirit of the art's patrons - the Owari Tokugawa family, a branch family of the ruling Tokugawa shoguns; the pine trees represent their longevity and steadfastness.

The Omote Shoin is the largest and most stylized room in the palace with a beautifully decorated ceiling. The Jodannoma room, where the feudal lord held audience on a raised dias, is the most magnificent and was used to overawe and impress his guests. The elevated dias emphasizes social status and formality.

The restoration work has been undertaken using original Edo Period drawings and surviving photographs by skilled craftsmen brought from Kyoto, who have worked using the finest hinoki cypress wood cut in the Kiso Valley in Nagano Prefecture.

Nagoya Goten Palace, Nagoya Castle, Aichi Prefecture.
Richly decorated room with tatami floors at the Nagoya Hommaru Palace, Nagoya Castle

The rooms now open to public view are the Genkan or reception room, decorated with tiger screens, the Tamarinoma or Waiting Room, the Oraka or Grand Corridor, the Omote Shoin or Main Hall consisting of the Sannoma (Third Room), the Ninoma (Second Room), the Ichinoma (First or Primary Room), a Nandoma or Storage Room and the Jodannoma (Dias Room or Raised Room).

Notice the many screen paintings or byobu in the rooms, which have been recreated and are now perfectly fresh and bright as they must have appeared when first painted. The many decorative fittings on sliding doors, nailhead covers and gable decorations are gilded.

Pine tree at Nagoya Goten Palace, Nagoya Castle, Aichi, Japan.
Pine tree and song bird painted wall at Nagoya Hommaru Palace, Nagoya Castle; pine trees represented permanence and stability
Beautifully painted wooden screens, Nagoya Castle, Aichi, Japan.
Beautifully painted wooden screen at Nagoya Goten Palace

Some of the original Kano School paintings that were saved from the flames of war have been undergoing meticulous restoration since 1992 and the plan is to exhibit these original masterpieces once the Hommaru Palace of Nagoya Castle is finally fully open in 2018.

The roof of the whole palace is covered in cedar shingles or kokera, held in place with bamboo nails.

Nagoya Castle Access - how to get to Nagoya Castle

The nearest subway stations to Nagoya Castle are Sengen-cho on the Tsurumai Line and Shiyakusho (City Hall) on the Meijo Line.

The Meguru Loop bus stops outside the main entrance to Nagoya Castle on a circuit that includes Nagoya Station, Noritake Garden, the TV Tower in Sakae and Hirokoji Dori. The Meguru Loop bus fare is 500 yen for a one-day pass or 210 yen for a single ride. Otherwise take buses #13 or #27 to the main entrance from Sakae bus terminal, bus #12 to Sengen-cho subway station from Nagoya Station or bus #2 to the City Hall.

Nagoya Castle
1-1 Hommaru
Naka-ku
Nagoya
460-0031
Tel: 052 231 1700

Admission 500 yen; one year pass 2,000 yen.
Hours: 9am-4.30pm daily with last admission at 4pm.

Hotel Accommodation near Nagoya Castle

The luxury Westin Nagoya Hotel is just outside the moat of Nagoya Castle with some of its rooms having views of the castle.

Other accommodation nearby to Nagoya Castle includes the much recommended Kyoya Ryokan with an excellent spa, Japanese food and garden. This is a must if you want to experience a truly, traditional Japanese inn.

The majority of hotel accommodation close to Nagoya Castle is located around Marunouchi Station on the Tsurumai and Sakaradori Lines - western style places include the APA Villa Hotel Marunouchi, the basic, two-star Hotel 1-2-3 Hotel Marunouchi and the ever-reliable Toyoko Inn Marunouchi.

Nagoya Hommaru Palace, Aichi, Japan.
Nagoya Castle with its distinctive sloping walls
Nagoya Castle Palace interior, Aichi, Japan.
The ornate interior of the Nagoya Hommaru Goten Palace

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