Nagoya: Samurai stronghold

Hello Everybody,

I was wandering around the travel sites, skyscanner,, expedia and happened on a very inexpensive flight and hotel to Nagoya. Now, I have been travelling in and around Japan for almost three years now and Nagoya kept popping up as a place to go.  Work has been incredibly busy these past two months and I have taken to my little three day escapades into Japan.

nagoya entrance
Hommaru Palace

Memorial Day seemed an appropriate time to go to Nagoya which was the home of many samurai during the warring period in Japanese history.  I decided to pay a visit to Nagoya jo (Nagoya Castle). Hommaru Palace greeted me first and I almost didn’t go it, I was glad I did. This palace and the Nagoya Castle sit next to each other. It has recently been restored from the air attack of US Forces in May, 1945. Walking in there was the typical  fragrance of the tatami mats laid throughout, coupled with the Hinoki cypress the palace was built from. What a lovely combination, I have some Hinoki incense in my house, and I plan on burning it in my tatami room to duplicate the effect. Throughout the palace there are removable panels which show rich animal, bird and pastoral scenes of Japan from the time periods.

cheetah and baby
Leopards on the sliding screens of Hommaru Palace.
tiger and cheetah at the palace
Tigers and leopards in the bamboo grove
tigers panel
Tigers on panels.
nagoya castle and people
Nagoya Castle –

The Nagoya Castle is “one of the grandest, most imposing and best-designed castles built during the peak Golden Age of castle construction. Nagoya Castle was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu around 1612 to protect eastern Japan from attack by the western provinces, and became the starting point for the Siege of Osaka. During the 260 years of Tokugawa rule, it was a symbol of authority and peace.”  That was from Aichi Now, the official site for tourism Aichi:

carp on the roof
Shachihoko – half fish/half tiger creature adorn the roof of Nagoya Castle.
me and samurai mark
Mark of the Samurai – according to one site, these marks were carved to identify the Samurai who was responsible for adding them to the building.
three marks
Kokumon – there are supposed to be 500 different marks.
nagoya food
Nagoya set – Misokatsu, daikon pickles, onigiri  and kishimen.
little girl with umb
The ubiquitous umbrella…the habit begins very young.
Romance – Sunday in the park.

After the castle it was on to the Atsuta Jingu,  it enshrines the Sun Goddess Amaterasu the most important of the Shinto kami (gods). Atsuta Jingu is seen as a protector of the area’s agriculture and the shrine’s festivals include a planting ceremony. Throughout the year over 70 festivals are held within the shrine’s large precincts with the main festival held on June 5, I just missed it. 

atsuta front
Atsuta Jingu – a major shrine in Japan, an estimated 9 million people visit annually. This shrine was originally established about 1900 years ago.
Kimono clad ladies strolling the grounds of Atsuta Jingu.
me and fire truck
Ready to go – A Nagoya Firefighter and Karateka  let me see what it was like to walk a few moments in his boots.

I spent an evening wandering around the Osu shopping district which housed several shrines and temples and shops. It was much hotter than I had anticipated and I was a little worn out. I did however find a kimono shop that had a rack of 300 yen kimonos. I went in just as the store was closing and landed on a 529 yen kimono with a 300 yen obi.

orange torii
A column of torii  at a small shrine off Osu shopping district.
side street osu
Early evening, Saturday night in Osu shopping district.
osu kannon
Osu Kannon Buddhist Temple originally built in the Kamakura Period, 1192-1333, in Gifu Prefecture, but was moved here in 1612 by Tokugawa Iesu after repeated flooding. This is a 20th Century reconstruction
osu shopping district
Shopping in the Osu district  has existed for more than 400 years. I found a wonderful old kimono for about $5.00.
bling scooter
A little bling for your ride.
downtown nagoya
Outside the Nagoya Station.
maintenance cover
Nagoya maintenance cover featuring the castle and the golden carp.
pink flowers at nagoya
Flowers in bloom at Nagoya-jo.

As I was leaving the shopping district, I encountered a man pushing a cart with a cat tower on it…you know one of those structures that cats can hang out on or crawl into…and there were all these cats in it. This guy was walking down the street pushing a cart full of cats and he and the cats acted like this was perfectly normal….Japan is so wonderful…I never know what I will encounter next!

And speaking of that, I am off to North Carolina, to Camp Lejeune for a few days of work training, so my blogs will be on hiatus for a bit. Fear not, I  am sure I will find some sort of adventure when I return to stay overnight in Tokyo on my way home!