12 Chapters of Nagoya Tour: Chapter 1-Nagoya Castle Course
I have been here in Nagoya, Japan for a year now and must admit that many more sights remain unexplored. So, to mark my year here, I have set a new (challenge) project for myself! I learned about the 12 Chapters of Nagoya Tour through an email and found it quite interesting. So here goes the first of the 12 chapters, that I plan to accomplish each week, for the remainder of the spring months. I hope you’ll come along for the ride and have fun.
1. The tour kicks off from the Nagoya Station. First stop was the Keiho-in Temple. Within the temple there is a Jizo statue – Guchikiki Jizoson, with its right hand cupping its ear, as it listens to visitors complaints. A small cozy temple with beautiful limestone pagodas. I didn’t see the inside of the hall as it was closed.
2. The next stop was the Endo-ji Shopping Mall. This is Nagoya’s oldest shopping mall which was named after the Endon-ji Temple town dating back to 1654. The design is quite similar to Osu Kanon, but with lesser shops and very quiet. It has a high ceilinged roof which is for pedestrian access only and stretches through a few blocks that leads you to the Street of Shikemichi.
Within the mall there is a temple and shrine. The Endon-ji Temple was moved here in 1610, along with a whole Kiyosu neighbourhood, whilst building the Nagoya Temple.
3. Towards the other end of the Endo-ji mall we turn right into the Streets of Shikemichi, a Historic Townscape Conservation District. When the Nagoya Castle was being built in 1610, the town folks of Kiyosu were moved here and it became what was known as Nagoya’s Merchant District – Kiyosu-goshi merchants. After the fire outbreak in the 1700 the roads were widened into four ‘ken‘, about seven meters, to allow fire engines to go through in case of another fire. The name Shikenmichi “Four Ken Road” came from the newly widened road. The architecture preserved here since 1740 are old-fashioned warehouses and gave you a feel of the Edo Period Nagoya.
A Yanegamisama is a Nagoya custom of erecting a rooftop shrine to ward of diseases and disasters as well as reflecting the great devotion of ordinary town folks.
4. Walking towards the end of the Endo-ji mall you will find a quaint bridge – Gojobashi Bridge. The bridge was moved here in 1610 and was the first bridge over the Horikawa River. Originally made of wood it was reconstructed into concrete in 1938.
5. After getting lost and confused (following the walking map) as I am map challenged, I succumb and had to get the help from google maps to find the next part, which was only meant to take me 9 minutes to walk. The Nagoya Tosho-gu Shrine and Nagoya Shrine were found. The shrine was originally built at the Sannomaru area of Nagoya Castle in 1619. It was moved to the current site but was burnt down during World War II.
6. Needless to say, I was tired and lost interest in walking any further. The next sights on the list were meant to be the Remains of Magistrate’s Office, Honmachi Ote Gate and Feudal Lord’s Alley. Lastly, the goal of this walk was the Nagoya Castle, which I have visited in the past and was not in a hurry to visit it again. Here are some photos from last year’s visit.
Last thoughts about the walking tour: I did enjoy exploring and experiencing the old side of Nagoya. Although I was lost (my fault) I must say that the map used in the guide is not very helpful as the roads are not clearly labelled, which doesn’t help. I totally enjoyed the Street of Shikemichi which transported me to the 17th century Nagoya. I am looking forward to the next chapter, but be more prepared with my own detailed map! Do come along for more discoveries and stories in my quest to get to know this city.
Post Script (from two weeks after)
6. The Remains of Magistrate’s Office, Honmachi Ote Gate and Feudal Lord’s Alley. So on a cool day I took another walk to the Nagoya Tosho-gu Shrine and my, how the scenery have changed in a couple of weeks. The cherry trees were starting to blossom!
Then walking across the street, literally, from Tosho-gu Shrine was The Remains of Magistrate’s Office. A gate that now sits in front of the Aichi Trade Center. Following the map across the dry moat you are met by two tall stone walls – Honmachi Ote Gate. I the past the gate led to daimyo road, a street lined by residences of feudal lords. I did not notice any signage or indication of where the Feudal Lord’s Alley used to be. The alley indicated on the map is now lined with the police headquarters and a park.
That closes Chapter 1. Hope you all have a good Holy weekend.