12 Chapters of Nagoya Tour: Chapter 3 – Oda Nobunaga “Owari’s Foolhardy Youth” Course
Welcome back to the 12 Chapters of Nagoya Tour. If you have been following this series, thank you very much, and welcome to Chapter 3. If you have missed the other chapters they are always there for you to enjoy, Chapter 1: Nagoya Castle Course and Chapter 2: Course Covering region of the Owari Tokugawa family and the Cultural Path.
Chapter 03 course takes us through many temples and shrines that Oda Nobunaga visited during his youth. The course is based on his image as a youth – “foolhardy” as he was known to show outlandish style in dressing and behaviour in public. He was mostly known for initiating the unification of Japan in the late 16th century. So, let’s go for a walk.
1. Ruins of Ancient Nagoya Castle. The course kicks off at the Nagoya Castle where we were meant to find a rock which was a piece from the old Nagoya Castle. I have visited the castle a couple of times, but must admit that I must have missed important landmarks around the grounds. In 1532, Oda Nobunaga’s father Oda Nobuhide established the ancient Nagoya Castle as his headquarters. Construction was finished in 1612 but, unfortunately, in 1945 during World War II air raids, most of the buildings were burned down. In 1957 reconstruction started then finished and opened to the public two years later.
2. Sakuratenjin Shrine. A tiny hole-in-the-wall shrine along Sakura-dori Honmachi road. Built by Nobunaga’s father in 1537, dedicated to Sugawara Machizane, an ancient scholar and statesman. The shrine came to be called “Sakura Tenjin” as there used to be a big cherry tree and famous for viewing cherry blossoms. Whilst the Nagoya Castle was being constructed the Lord Kato Kiyomasa was known to often had tea under the big cherry tree. The tree was burned down by massive fires in 1660. Apparently, the Sakura-Dori subway line was named after this shrine.
This shrine was so cute and had unusual features to it that I haven’t yet seen in other temples I’ve visited. It has a cattle and plum to symbolise Machisane, with cattle painted on their Ema, a wooden plaque to write their wishes. It also has a miniature replica of the ‘Hour Tower.’
3. Soken-ji Temple. This temple was built by Oda Nobunaga’s second son to mourn his death. As part of the Nagoya Castle construction this shrine was moved here, from Kiyosu during the Kiyosu-goshi – a massive scale relocation of a city. It is a non-public temple and as such the gates were closed.
4. Bansho-ji Temple. Nobunaga was believed to have made an appearance here during his father’s funeral and threw incense at the altar of the deceased. A small but beautiful temple right in the middle of the Osu Shopping Mall. I love the many paper lanterns that almost covers the whole temple.
5. Tennei-ji Temple. A small temple moved here from Kiyosu in 1610, where Nobunaga was believed to have visited to pray for the healthy growth of his children. Records showed that in the past visitors offered unglazed clay to the shrine. Currently they are happy to offer the wooden plaques for their wishes to the buddha.
6. Hioki Shrine. It is believed that Nobunaga visited here to pray for victory before the Battle of Okehazama. This was a small temple as well and very quiet. The architecture of the buildings were quite beautiful, though.
7. Furuwatari Castle Ruins. Within the Higashi Bitsuin Temple lies remains of a 16th century castle. Established by Nobunaga’s father – Nobuhide in 1534 was abandoned in 1548 and fell into ruins. Nobunaga was believed to have had his genpuku (coming of age at 13) here. The remains of the demolished castle is now part of the Higashi Bitsuin Temple built here in 1690. In 1945, along with many buildings destroyed by World War II’s air raids, the temple was also damaged. It was rebuilt in the same location in 1962.
8. Nobunaga-bei Wall. Within the Atsuta Jingu Shrine an earthen wall runs in front of the shrine gate and known as one of three most famous earthen walls in Japan. Nobunaga donated this wall in 1560 to Atsuta Jingu Shrine after his victory in the Battle of Okehazama.
This is probably the shrine that I have visited most. I like the feel of the place. I enjoy walking the vast grounds and bush areas they have around the property. It was only through this course that I came to understand how special those earthen walls were.
I have greatly enjoyed doing this chapter as it was filled with visits to various temples and shrines. I hope you enjoyed this chapter as much as I have. I look forward to sharing the next chapters with you all so stay tuned.