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IMAGE: Castillo de Nagoya (drawing by Tsuchiya Koitsu, 1870-1949)
Nagoya Castle (名古屋城, Nagoya-jō) is a Japanese castle located in Nagoya, Japan.
Nagoya Castle was constructed by the Owari Domain in 1620 during the Edo period on the site of an earlier castle of the Oda clan in the Sengoku period. Nagoya Castle was the heart of one of the most important castle towns in Japan, Nagoya-juku, a post station on the Minoji road linking two of the important Edo Five Routes, the Tōkaidō and the Nakasendō. Nagoya Castle became the core of the modern Nagoya and ownership was transferred to the city by the Imperial Household Ministry in 1930. Nagoya Castle was destroyed in 1945 during the bombing of Nagoya in World War II and the reconstruction and repair of the castle has been undergoing since 1957.
Meijō, another shortform way of pronouncing Nagoya Castle, is used for many Nagoya city institutions such as Meijō Park, the Meijō Line of the Nagoya Municipal Subway, and Meijo University, reflecting the cultural influence of this historic structure. The castle has also historically been called Kinjō, which means "Golden Castle".
In order to advance into Owari Province, the military governor of Suruga Province, Imagawa Ujichika, built Yanagi-no-maru, a precursor castle at Nagoya, between 1521 and 1528 during the Taiei era for his son, Imagawa Ujitoyo. It was located near the site of the later Ninomaru residence. Oda Nobuhide seized it from Imagawa Ujitoyo in March 1532 (Kyōroku 5), residing there and changing the name to Nagoya Castle. His son, Oda Nobunaga, was supposedly born there in 1534 (Tenbun 3), although this is subject to debate. After he defeated Oda Nobutomo at Kiyosu Castle in April 1555 (Kōji 1), he established his residence there. Around 1582 (Tenshō 10), the castle at Nagoya was abandoned.
After various upheavals in Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu emerged victorious and decided in November 1609 (Keichō 14) to rebuild the castle at Nagoya. Up until the Meiji Restoration, Nagoya Castle flourished as the castle where the Owari branch, the foremost of the three Tokugawa clan lineages, resided. Castle construction technology had been extensively developed and consolidated since the construction of Azuchi Castle in 1576 by Oda Nobunaga (1534–1582). One of the main architects who designed and directed the building of the castle was Nakai Masakiyo, who was previously involved in the construction of the Nijō, Fushimi, Edo, and Sunpu castles. He had gathered and refined existing castle and fortification construction technology and techniques and ultimately formulated the standards for the Tokugawa shogunate's castles, as exemplified by Nagoya Castle.