Japanese Castles: Nishio Castle
Nishio Castle 西尾城
The Ushitora Yagura (Ushitora Turret) was reconstructed in 1996 and sits in a park which was once the castle's grounds and includes the remaining moats, some walls and the Nishio Municipal Museum.
Nishio Castle History
The original Nishio Castle dates back to a fortress built here during the Kamakura Period in the 13th century. It was known at this time as Saijo Castle. Later, local strongman Ieyasu Tokugawa ordered the building of a castle here in 1585 complete with stone walls, moats, gates and a strong keep. Nishio Castle was also strengthened on the orders of Ieyasu's rival Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
However, with the end of the feudal period and the dawn of the Meiji Period, the domains were abolished and the samurai class abolished. Nishio Castle gradually fell into disrepair and was dismantled. Only the moats, some stone walls and the remains of a well in what was the keep are still in evidence from the original castle.
In 1996 the Honmaru Ushitora Yagura and the main gate were reconstructed to boost tourism and the Nishio Municipal Historical Museum opened. The museum has a collection of samurai swords and suits of armor, maps of the original castle and numerous historic clocks. It is free to enter.
The pleasant grounds of Nishio Castle contain Nishio Shrine and the Former Konoe Residence (旧近衛邸; kyu-konoe-tei) - a reconstruction of part of the mansion of the Konoe clan - a powerful noble family in Kyoto. Visitors can admire the garden with its lawns and stepping stones while enjoying macha - powdered Japanese tea.
Close to the castle is a villa and garden, Shoko-so, built by a wealthy rice merchant in the 1920's and now open to the public. There's a tea house here where you can enjoy matcha again and eat a light meal. Virtually next door is Shokoji Temple.
231-1 Kinjo-cho, Nishio-shi
Tel: 0563 56 6191
Hours: 9am-5pm; closed Monday or the next day if Monday is a public holiday.
Access To Nishio - how to get to Nishio Castle
From Nagoya Meitetsu Station, Kanayama Station or Jingu-mae Station take a Meitetsu train to Nishio (50 minutes). At Nishio Station there is free bicycle hire at the Tourist Information Center. It takes less than 10 minutes to cycle to the castle area or is a 15 minute walk.
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