Japan Atlas: Architecture 


Location: Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture

Built: in 1537



An invaluable castle which retains its original castle tower

Inuyama Castle is a beautiful castle in Central Japan's Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture. It is a beautiful and picturesque castle that blends into its natural surroundings. Despite being built in the 17th century, the castle's central structure--the castle tower--is characterized by its Muromachi-period (1338-1573) style design.

The early 17th century was a period when firearms were coming into heavy use. Therefore, most castles of the period were built to conceal their interior compounds from outside view so as to prevent bombardment by destructive, long-range firearms. By contrast, the Muromachi period was a period when firearms were not yet in widespread use. There was no need to build castles defensively against long-range fire, and emphasis was placed on the early discovery of approaching enemies. This was the determining factor in the choice of the location of castle towers and also accounted for the open design of castle compounds of the period.

As such, Inuyama Castle's castle tower stands highly visible on an 80-meter (87-yd) high three-sided cliff overlooking the Kiso River, and a watchtower, called "Bourou," sits atop the castle tower roof. The castle tower affords a panoramic view of the Kiso River and the vast Nobi Plain below.

It remains a rare example of a style not found in later castle towers and makes Inuyama Castle's castle tower particularly invaluable among the 12 castle towers that are still in existence today. For this reason, it has been designated a National Treasure along with Himeji Castle, Hikone Castle and Matsumoto Castle.

Photo: Inuyama Castle (Inuyama City)

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