The Hommaru Palace was completed in 1615 as the residence and audience chambers for Tokugawa
Ieyasu's 9th son, and first Lord of Owari Province, Tokugawa Yoshinao.
As such, it was considered to be a masterpiece, the finest example of Shoin-zukuri styled
residential architecture. It was the most elegant, and gorgeous palace of all,
richly decorated with gold covered walls and screens, covered in stunning works
by the most skilled, leading artists of the famed Kano School of traditional painters.
The Ni-no-Maru Palace of Kyoto was also a National Treasure, and in more
recent years, a World Heritage Site.
It featured many similar art works, and qualities originally created for
Nagoya's most superb palace.
Later, Lord Yoshinao vacated the Hommaru Palace for
Nagoya Castle's adjoining enceinte's larger Ni-no-Maru palace,
preserving the Hommaru Palace solely for the use of the Shogun
during his visits from Edo (Tokyo) to the capital and seat
of the Imperial throne, Kyoto. The Palace was extended in 1634 in time for the visitation
by the Third shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, and in 1728 the Hommaru Palace underwent further renovations.
The wooden shingle roofing was replaced by long lasting, and importantly, fireproof clay roof tiles, and shingles of copper sheeting.
During the 250 years of peace under Tokugawa rule, the Hommaru Palace was only used a few times by the Shogun. In 1623 and 1626, with the coming and going of the second Shogun, Hidetada, in 1634 with the visit by the Third Shogun, Iemitsu, and much later by the 14th Shogun, Iemochi.
After the Feudal period, Nagoya Castle and the Hommaru Palace were one of the few to escape destruction as the symbols of Japan's past were abandoned. The Hommaru Palace came under the control of the Imperial Household agency, and as such was used by the Meiji, Taisho and Showa Emperors as a Detached Imperial Palace, before being entrusted to the care of Nagoya City.
Not only was the Nagoya Hommaru Palace one of the finest examples of Shoin-zukuri style, but its infrequent use and attentive care had left it so well preserved, that in 1930, along with Nagoya Castle’s impressive keeps, gates, and watchtowers, was designated a National Treasure, the first of Japan’s remaining castles to have received the honor.
Unfortunately, the Hommaru Palace and most of Nagoya Castle was destroyed in wartime aerial fire-bombings just months before the end of WWII. The castle's towers were reconstructed in concrete, at the time believed the strongest and most fireproof way to restore the symbol of Nagoya, thanks to the efforts of Nagoya's citizens in 1959. The Hommaru Palace reconstruction commenced in 2009, using traditional techniques and materials, and traditional Japanese craftsmen to not replicate, but to authentically rebuild the Nagoya Castle Hommaru Palace. The first Stage, Genkan and Omote Shoin opened to the public in 2013, stage two in 2016, and the last section is scheduled for 2018.
|1610-12||Nagoya Castle is constructed by order of Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Castle towers, various gates and turrets are completed. Work commences on the Hommaru Palace.
|1615||Hommaru Palace completed.|
|1616||Tokugawa Ieyasu's 9th son, and first Lord of Owari Province,Tokugawa Yoshinao takes up residency in the Hommaru Palace.|
|1620||Yoshinao and his family move into the Ni-no-Maru Palace.|
|1623-34||The second Shogun, Tokugawa Hidetada, stays at the Hommaru Palace during his visit to Kyoto. Construction commences on the Jorakuden extensions for the coming visit of Third Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu.|
|1872||The Hommaru Palace comes under the jurisdiction of the Imperial Army.|
|1893-1930||Palace control transferred to the Imperial Household Agency, and becomes the Nagoya Detached Imperial Palace. The Detached Palace is bestowed upon Nagoya City.|
|1930||The Palace, castle towers and other structures are designated National Treasures.|
|1942||Screen paintings are designated National Treasures.|
|1945||Palace, castle towers and various structures destroyed in aerial fire bombing.|
|1959||Castle towers rebuilt.|
|2009-2018||Hommaru Palace Restoration work commences. First Stage, Genkan and Omote Shoin, Second Stage, Taimenjo and Shimogozensho open to the public. 2018, last stage, Jorakuden, opens to the public.|