The history of the Nagoya Castle dates back to the 1520’s, though it has been rebuilt and renovated several times during that period. The most notable being after its almost complete destruction during WWII. Currently, it is undergoing some refurbishments that are to be completed next year.
However, a majority of it is open to the public. In fact, there is so much to see that our afternoon there was completely packed without seeing everything. And the best part? It only costs 500 yen! (roughly $5)
Inside the castle proper, there is a museum that is super interactive. You can ride on a reproduction of a whale that sits atop the castle or try your hand at pulling a stone in the same manner as the original builders. The top floor has a observation deck where you can see all of Nagoya.
Outside there is so much deliciousness to be had.
Taiyaki is a fish shaped pastry that is filled with either red bean paste or custard. I don’t feel super strong about red bean paste one way or another but I have definetly had my fill this week. So, I opted for the custard filled variety. Which I can’t recommend enough. Good Lord. It was delicious. But unbelievably hot! I totally burned my tongue because I was impatient. I have discovered that the great thing about Japanese sweets is that they aren’t overly sweet, like in America. They are lightly sweet and refreshing (or scaling if you are impatient).
My ice cream was as wonderful as it looks. It was green tea and milk, maybe? My philosophy thus far in Japan has been: just pick something, if it’s delicious eat it. If its not. Don’t. This has worked out great thus far with only one egg onigiri leading me astray.
Our final activity on the grounds of Nagoya castle was to get traditional matcha tea. They service included the green tea and a small sweet. The sweet was beautiful and had a strange sturdy jello-like quality. Ultimately, I’m not a big green tea person and found it to be a little too bitter. But one of them had gold flecks in it! Somehow that made it a little better. 🙂 It was a cool experience for only 500 yen. You can’t beat that!
The Nagoya Castle is the pride of Nagoya and the first recommendation of every travel site so it was an obvious first outing and an overall wonderful experience.