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Early spring Nagoya Castle - reported by a foreign student

 Travis Olexa,  Nagoya Gakkuin Daigaku

While most of Hommaru Palace is closed off to the public due to continued construction to restore the building, it is still a must see place full of picture worthy scenery. While walking through the halls of this building I was struck by the immense beauty of its wooden construction. Given its wooden structure, the fresh smell of Cyprus filled the air reminding me of my log cabin back in Alaska. On all sides you can see beautiful wall screens painted depicting various animals and nature. One unique painting that stands out most is the one of the male and female tiger with a cub due to the story behind why this painting depicted these animals in the way it did. If you look closely at the female tiger you will see it has spots instead of stripes. This mistakes stems from people thinking leopards were female tigers, thus the female tiger was painted as a leopard. Japanese artists, Japan not having tigers or leopards itself, had to rely on others depictions of these animals for their paintings. Overall, visiting the Hommaru Palace is a worthwhile trip to make and take a lot of photos. But please watch your head as you enter.

Whenever you visit Nagoya Castle you will most likely run into members of the Nagoya Omotenashi Busho-tai(Nagoya Samurai Greeters). These actors help bring the place alive by dressing up as famous samurai of the Sengoku Jidai (Warring Time). Don’t be afraid to ask for a photo with them, they are friendly and always glad to welcome guests to Nagoya Castle. On the weekends these men even perform dances and shows to entertain guests. On the day we visited Nagoya Castle we met Maeda Keiji and Kamekichi.mell of Cyprus filled the air reminding me of my log cabin back in Alaska. On all sides you can see beautiful wall screens painted depicting various animals and nature. One unique painting that stands out most is the one of the male and female tiger with a cub due to the story behind why this painting depicted these animals in the way it did. If you look closely at the female tiger you will see it has spots instead of stripes. This mistakes stems from people thinking leopards were female tigers, thus the female tiger was painted as a leopard. Japanese artists, Japan not having tigers or leopards itself, had to rely on others depictions of these animals for their paintings. Overall, visiting the Hommaru Palace is a worthwhile trip to make and take a lot of photos. But please watch your head as you enter.

 

The castle keep itself is just one piece of an entire fort. The castle itself is a large compound comprised of various layers of walls and moats to stop would be attackers. 

There is a lot of things about this castle that I love, including the amazing main keep、the two Kinshachi on the roof, and the stonework of the walls. The main keep itself can be seen well in advance as you approach the castle compound with its architecture and copper roof that stands unique against the backdrop. As you get closer to the castle keep you can see on top two golden figures adorning the roof, the Kinshachi. These fictional creatures are dolphins with the head of a tiger. In the case of a fire, these Kinsahchi would spray water over the castle to douse the flames and protect the castle. I was happily surprised to find out you can ride one of these creatures inside the castle for a great photo to send back home. The last thing that I wish to touch on is the history in the stones that make up the castle itself. If you pay close attention you will notice some of the stones have symbols chiseled into them. These are the mon (Family Symbol)of those who paid for the making and transportation of these stones. The making of castles was not the work of a single man, but hundreds of other lords would contribute stones from all across Japan as tithes to their ruler. In order to get the recognition for their contribution, they would carve out their family crest in the stone.

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