Nagoya Castle (名古屋城, Nagoyajō) was built in the beginning of the Edo Period as the seat of one of the three branches of the ruling Tokugawa family, the Owari branch. As such, it was one of the largest castles in the country, and the castle town around it ultimately grew to become Japan's fourth largest city.
Most castle buildings were destroyed in the air raids of 1945, including the castle keep and the palace buildings. The current ferro-concrete reconstruction of the castle keep dates from 1959 and - before its closure in May 2018 - contained a modern museum with exhibits about the castle's history. The park surrounding the castle keep features two circles of moats and impressive walls with corner turrets. It becomes an attractive hanami spot during the cherry blossom season which usually peaks in late March or early April.
The castle's palace (Honmaru Goten) was recently rebuilt and fully opened to the public in June 2018. Half a century after its destruction in the war, the palace was rebuilt using traditional construction materials and techniques. It contains entrance and reception halls with beautiful replicated paintings on the sliding doors (fusuma).
In an even more ambitious project, the city is planning to reconstruct Nagoya Castle's main keep in wood by 2022. The current, ferro-concrete main keep was closed to the public in May 2018 and is scheduled to be demolished from 2019. Construction on the new, wooden main keep is scheduled to start in June 2020 and end in December 2022.
From Nagoya Station, take the Higashiyama Subway Line to Sakae Station (5 minutes) and change to the Meijo Subway Line to Shiyakusho Station (2 minutes). The total one way journey takes about ten minutes and costs 240 yen. From the nearest exit, it is a three minute walk to the castle's east gate.
Alternatively, the castle's main gate can be reached from Nagoya Station by the Meguru tourist loop bus in about 25 minutes. The fare is 210 yen per ride or 500 yen for a day pass.
December 31: 21:00 to 26:00 (entry until 25:30)