Inuyama Castle

Inuyama Castle is the oldest castle in Japan and is reserved in its original state. The castle lies on the southern side of the Kiso River.
It was built about 460 years ago, and its Momoyama style donjon, is designated a National Treasure. Inuyama-Jo is very special in this regard, being the only privately-owned castle to be designated a national treasure.

A brief history: In the 1400s, a shrine called Harigane Shrine (Harigane Jinja) was moved from the site to Shirayamadaira in order to make way for Inuyama Castle. The castle was constructed in stages, the entire donjon was moved to Inuyama from a different castle known as Kanayama Castle in the early 1600s.

In 1616, Naruse Masanari, a retainer Matsudaira Tadayoshi, was stationed at the castle. The castle has been in the Naruse family until it was seized by the government after the "Meiji Revolution". It suffered damage in an earthquake in 1891 and was returned to the Naruse family in 1895 under the singular condition that they repair the damage to the castle and continue to maintain it.

Inuyama literally means "Dog Mountain" and has several
large statues of dogs around the entrance to the castle.

Several paths leading to the main castle grounds are lined with red torii gates and banners.
Plaques called "ema" are hung here and at many shrines in Japan. To make their prayers come true, people make a small contribution, write their prayer on the plaque and hang it up.


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