Saturday, August 4, 2012

Nagoya Castle, Nagoya, Aichi (Picture heavy!)

Another highlight of our short trip to Nagoya was definitely a visit to its castle. There is a long history to this Nagoya Castle, but in short, the original no longer exists - it was burned down during the 1945 Allied Forces' air raids. The one standing today was reconstructed in 1959 (I believe) and even then, it's only a shell of its former self. Inside is actually a multi-leveled museum. 

Part of the castle's dried up moat.

If you're wondering, no, this was not the super boring museum I hinted at in my Nagoya City Science Museum post. In all honesty though, while the castle museum wasn't as fun and interesting as the City Science Museum, the site of the castle and its surrounding area was worth the trip, even in the sweltering heat and humidity. I swear I must have sweated a bucket that day. Urgh.

One of the turrets.

Parts of the castle is currently on maintenance, but at least the main keep (tenshu) which houses the museum was still open. This was actually my second time visiting the Nagoya Castle anyway, the first time was in late August of 2005 at the conclusion of the 2005 Expo held in Aichi. I was already living in Japan at the time as a JET.

A different part of the moat still had water in it!

Me and hubby below the main keep.

Nagoya castle's main keep. On the right are the original foundation stones that survived the fiery destruction in 1945.

And although the castle itself and many of its surround buildings were destroyed, much of their surrounding walls and bases remained. The inscriptions on these stones are insignias of the retainer families who took part in the building of the original castle. I really loved walking around and finding these inscriptions, as they represent a part of history that is not glorified and therefore easily forgotten. These marks are left by folks who undoubtedly shaped history but never got any credit for it, so the least I could do was to acknowledge that they were once there ^.^

Half of the first floor of the museum were dedicate to the insects that inhabited within and around the area of the castle. Check out these giant beetles and butterflies! I would seriously freak out if I were to spot one crawling or flying around. They were huge!

I have no idea what kind of insect these are, but they have gorgeous duo-chrome metallic turquoise with green iridescent wings! And electric blue butterflies! Talk about flashy! 

Me and hubby on the photo-safe replica of the golden dolphins that used to adorn the two edges of the main keep's roof. The originals were carved out of wood, covered in sheets of lead, then finally sheets of gold.

Hubby seriously got me rolling on the floor with this one xD

And here's to demonstrate how heavy a single block of stone is.

The top floor of the museum is an indoor observation deck. Here's looking at downtown Nagoya with the tall buildings surrounding Nagoya Station.

A view of the land surrounding the castle.

Walking away from the castle's main entrance.

Just for fun I thought I'd post a few pictures I took of the Nagoya Castle when I was there in 2005 ^.^

Entering the museum housed in the castle's main keep. On the right are some more inscriptions on the stones.

Yep, that was me 7 years ago, fresh out of college and totally dorky. I looked like an entirely different person back then, and probably because I was. I didn't wear any makeup (didn't know what or how), and my idea of adequate sun protection involved a dab or two of lotion with SPF15 (Olay - ha!). And plus I was about 10-15 pounds heavier. Have you ever heard of the "freshman 10", as in you gain 10 pounds during your freshman year of college? That was the "newbie-to-Japan 10" (or 15) :P

If anyone ever tell you Japanese food is super healthy, you can slap their a$$ silly. A large portion of Japanese food is deep fried: hello - everything tempura, including vegetables (yes, I kid you not - they batter and deep fry their vegetables), chicken and pork katsu, fried shrimps, fried chicken, fried fish sausage, I can go on. The cuts of their meats are almost always fatty (belly, shoulder), their chickens are almost always with skin on and they are not shy about eating animal fat here at all. Unless you buy your deli meat, bread, and cheese at specialty delis, shops, and bakeries, they are almost always super processed and packaged. And then there is those ubiquitous patisseries around every street corners, need I say more? Thankfully, I knew better the second time around, and even then if I don't watch what I eat the ninja pounds will sneak right back on without me knowing ^.^'

Another turret in a different corner of the castle ground.

Yet another replica of the golden dolphin on display and the main keep from an upward view, showing its slanted stone base.

See why I never get tired of walking around and just looking at the castle from afar? It's a magnificent cultural remnant and such a shame that the original building was destroyed T.T

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