12 Chapters of Nagoya Tour: Chapter 2 – Regions of the Owari Tokugawa Family
Welcome back to the 12 Chapters of Nagoya Tour. From my previous post on the first chapter, we move on to the second chapter which features the regions of the Owari Tokugawa Family and the Cultural Path. The Owari is a branch of the Tokugawa clan that reigned for over 250 years around the areas of present Nagoya and Aichi Prefecture. When you explore historical areas around Nagoya you will sometimes encounter the Gosanke emblem, a crest that shows a circle around three hollyhock leaves, which shows that one of the three houses of the Tokugawa clan either ruled here or this was part of their many treasures around the city.
1. The course starts at the Nagoya Castle, which I have been before. I still started there but went across the road to the Nagoya Noh Theatre. The theatre features traditional Noh performances. During the reign of the Owari Tokugawa family in the Edo Period (1603-1868) Nagoya was fast becoming an entertainment capital. A traditional 14th century Noh Theatre was structured around song and dance. The present day Noh Theatre houses a 630-seat theatre complex, meeting rooms, a small museum and a coffee shop.
2. Tokugawaen. A quick tourist bus ride from Nagoya Castle is the Tokugawaen, Tokugawa Art Museum and Hosa Library. The Tokugawaen was a former residence of the Owari Tokugawa Family in 1889. In 1931 the garden was donated by the family to the City of Nagoya and after an extensive renovation it was opened to the public the following year. Unfortunately, most of the buildings were destroyed in 1945 during air raids in World War II. After more renovations the garden was finally opened as a Japanese garden in 2004.
The garden features seasonal trees and flowers. At the moment plum trees are blossoming and a spray of cherries are starting to show as well. I have previously visited Tokugawaen during their Autumn Festival. I didn’t mind visiting it again this time as I like this beautiful intimate Japanese garden design.
3. Tokugawa Art Museum and Hosa Library. Right next door to the garden is the museum and library. Having survived air-bombings during the World War II the museum’s renovation project was completed in 1987. It houses the extensive possessions of the Owari Tokugawa Family and is the third oldest privately owned museum in Japan. The Owari also inherited objects from the first shogun Ieyasu including extant sections of the twelfth century Illustrated Tales of Genji.
The Hosa Library is adjacent to the museum and can be accessed through it. A continuation of the Owari Tokugawa Family’s collection in the museum, the library contains superior classic Japanese and Chinese books as well as pictorial images. Both the museum and the library hold permanent and special exhibitions throughout the year.
I was quite excited to revisit these places as I always liked viewing the collections for the Illustrated Tales of Genji and this season’s Dolls Festival or the Peach Blossom Festival. The dolls festival is also known as Hina Matsuri or Girls’ Day, usually celebrated on the 3rd of March. Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed inside, but some websites do feature these dolls. The Owari Tokugawa family’s collection was extensive!
The rest of the course was meant to be the Cultural Path as a region of samurai residences and western-style buildings and is a symbolic neighbourhood of Nagoya. It was drizzling the whole time I walked through the Tokugawaen. I decided to abandon the cultural path for another time as I would not have enjoyed walking through the neighbourhood in the rain. I will have to add that part as a post script next time.
I hope you enjoyed exploring this chapter and I look forward to the next one which is Oda Nobunaga – “Owari’s Foolhardy Youth” Course packed with temples around my neighbourhood! Hope you continue to walk with me.