Inuyama Castle

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Inuyama Castle
Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Castle in Inuyama.JPG
Tenshu of Inuyama Castle
Coordinates35°23′18″N 136°56′21″E / 35.38833°N 136.93917°E / 35.38833; 136.93917Coordinates: 35°23′18″N 136°56′21″E / 35.38833°N 136.93917°E / 35.38833; 136.93917
Height19 m (62 ft)
Site history
Built byOda Hirochika
Garrison information
Oda Nobuyasu
OccupantsOda clan, Naruse clan

Inuyama Castle (犬山城, Inuyama-jō) is located in the city of Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. The castle overlooks the Kiso River, which serves as the border between Aichi and Gifu prefectures. Inuyama Castle is one of only 12 original Japanese castles. The castle is, as of November 2019, under renovation, although visitors are still allowed to enter.


A view of the castle, taken in 1937
Inuyama Castle and Kiso River
Castle Town
Inuyama Festival
Inuyama Castle and karakuri float
karakuri float
Inuyama castle front gate

Inuyama Castle is often claimed as the oldest castle in Japan. Its original construction was completed in 1440. According to Engishiki (a Heian Period-book), Haritsuna Shrine (a Shinto shrine) was moved to make way for the castle. That structure has been heavily augmented over time, and the current towers were completed in 1537, by Oda Nobuyasu, Oda Nobunaga's uncle. Though the antiquated architectural style of the watchtower atop the tenshu has in the past led many historians to believe this to be the oldest extant tenshu in Japan, that honor goes to Maruoka Castle, built in 1576. Construction on the main tenshu (donjon) at Inuyama began in 1601, and continued through 1620.[1]

The castle was the center of power for the Naruse clan, retainers of the Matsudaira clan and rulers of the Inuyama Domain. Inuyama Castle was unique in Japan in that it was privately owned. The donjon (tenshu) has been designated as national treasure. However, it was seized by the Japanese government as part of the Meiji Restoration. In 1891, the castle was damaged in the Great Nōbi earthquake, and it was returned to the Naruse family in 1895, on the condition that they repair and maintain it. In 2004, ownership of the castle was turned over to a foundation set up by the Aichi Prefecture's Board of Education.[2]

It was long believed that the donjon of Inuyama Castle was moved to the castle from Kanayama Castle in 1599, until such theory was disproved as a result of examination through a large scale restoration work, involving the dismantling of the donjon, carried out between 1961 and 1965.[3]

Castle Rulers[edit]

The rulers of Inuyama Castle are listed below in order with their dates of reign in parentheses. There were no castle rulers from 1612–1617 and 1869–1895.

  • Pre-Naruse Clan
  1. Oda Nobuyasu (1537–1547)
  2. Oda Nobuyuki (1547–1564)
  3. Ikeda Nobuteru (1570–1581)
  4. Oda Nobufusa (1581–1582)
  5. Nakagawa Sadanari (1582–1584)
  6. Ikeda Nobuteru (1584)
  7. Katō Yasukage (1584, proxy ruler)
  8. Takeda Kiyotoshi (1584–1587, proxy ruler)
  9. Hijikata Katsuyoshi (1587–1590, proxy ruler)
  10. Nagao Yoshifusa (1590–1592, proxy ruler)
  11. Miwa Gorōemon (1592–1595)
  12. Ishikawa Mitsuyoshi (1595–1600)
  13. Ogasawara Yoshitsugu (1601–1607)
  14. Hiraiwa Chikayoshi (1607–1612)
  • Naruse Clan
  1. Naruse Masanari (1617–1625)
  2. Naruse Masatora (1625–1659)
  3. Naruse Masachika (1659–1703)
  4. Naruse Masayuki (1703–1732)
  5. Naruse Masamoto (1732–1768)
  6. Naruse Masanori (1768–1809)
  7. Naruse Masanaga (1809–1838)
  8. Naruse Masazumi (1838–1857)
  9. Naruse Masamitsu (1857–1869, 1895–1903)
  10. Naruse Masao (1903–1949)
  11. Naruse Masakatsu (1949–1973)
  12. Naruse Masatoshi (1973–2004)

Related exhibits[edit]

Entry fee for the castle is 550 yen. For an additional 50 yen, you can buy combination ticket including Shiro to the machi museum (Inuyama Artifacts Museum), Karakuri tenjikan (からくり展示館 Puppet museum), Dondenkan (Flute museum).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Young, David and Michiko. Introduction to Japanese Architecture. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions, 2004. p100.
  2. ^ (in Japanese)
  3. ^ Nanjō, Norio; Tatsuya Naramoto (1989). Nihon no meijō kojō jiten (in Japanese). Hankyū Communications. p. 240.
  • Benesch, Oleg and Ran Zwigenberg (2019). Japan's Castles: Citadels of Modernity in War and Peace. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 374. ISBN 9781108481946.
  • Schmorleitz, Morton S. (1974). Castles in Japan. Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co. pp. 117–120. ISBN 0-8048-1102-4.
  • Motoo, Hinago (1986). Japanese Castles. Tokyo: Kodansha. p. 200 pages. ISBN 0-87011-766-1.
  • Mitchelhill, Jennifer (2013). Castles of the Samurai:Power & Beauty. USA: Kodansha. ISBN 978-1568365121.

External links[edit]

Media related to Inuyama Castle at Wikimedia Commons