Visit Inuyama Castle and Take a One Day Stroll Around a Historical Town
Nagoya city is known primarily for its shopping and gourmet food, but that’s not all it has to offer. There are a lot of sightseeing spots to visit as well. Come join DiGJAPAN! As we take you on a walking tour around Inuyama castle, a national treasure of Japan.
It's easy to get to Inuyama, but the quickest and most convenient way is by express train. From Nagoya Station, the Meitetsu Inuyama Line will take you straight to Inuyama station, the gateway of Inuyama castle, in about 30 minutes.
As you leave the ticket gate, you will see the tourist information office on your left. We recommend you get a map here. It is very helpful for checking where you are and where sightseeing spots are.
There are two exits at Inuyama Station but you will find plenty of signs in English. They did a great job at showing the way so don’t worry about getting lost!
Explore the Castle Town of Inuyama
It takes about 20 minutes on foot from the station to reach the castle but you won’t feel it at all. There is so much to see on the way. The road to the castle once flourished with activity when Inuyama castle was initially built. Now the street is lined with stores, stylish cafes and souvenir shops. You will also spot many old and well-preserved traditional buildings. These are a treasured sight you get to see while enjoying the scenery and food of Inuyama city.
Following the signs you'll first get to the former Isobe family residence. This is an old building with 150 years of history! In the Edo period (1603 - 1868) it used to be a fabric shop, and now it is registered as a Cultural Property of Japan. Make sure to stop by on your visit and learn about Japanese architecture in the Edo era. Also, you can visit it for free!
While walking around the town we saw many women dressed in yukata (a lighter, summer version of a kimono). There are shops that offer a kimono rental service so if you are interested, try wearing a yukata robe to immerse yourself in the culture and charm of this castle town.
The town streets are brimming with history.
Along with the Yukata rental shops, there are many restaurants, cafes, and a variety of goods shops.
Showa Yokocho, the Food Street
There are delicious restaurants all over the town, but if it's a little snack you're craving then look no further than Showa Yokocho. Stepping into this street will take you back to Japan's Showa era (1926–1989). The retro-looking shops have chairs and tables in the back that will allow you to enjoy a snack even in busy periods.
The most popular street food at the moment is the Koi Komachi Dango! The shop is in an easy-to-find spot at the entrance of Showa Yokocho. Since it is a popular shop, there is almost always a line in front of it making it even easier to recognize.
Koi Komachi Dango became famous on social media mainly from its unique looks. It’s quite different from your average dango sweet dumplings, which normally look just like plain white balls. Its colorful appearance makes it really stand out. Once you brave the line, we recommend the ‘Haikara Koi Komachi Set’. This set treats you to two colorful dumpling sticks and a matcha ice tea.
Each dumpling has its own flavor! Two of which are always changing with the season.
Flavors (from top to bottom): honey lemon, peach-flavored bean paste, strawberry-flavored bean paste, ripe mango-flavored bean paste (seasonal flavor).
Flavors (from top to bottom): Amaou strawberry-flavored bean paste, Japanese summer orange-flavored bean paste, edamame-flavored bean paste, spicy kinako-flavored bean paste (seasonal flavor).
The Inuyama Castle
After enjoying a few treats we can resume our walk along the main road toward Inuyama castle. The scenery begins to open up and we are greeted by a bright red torii gate.
Here you will find Sanko Inari Shrine. The shrine grounds lead straight to Inuyama castle so be sure to visit on your way.
This is one of the shrines in Japan where you can practice a ritual called zeniarai. It is said you can bring economic fortune by washing your money in a specific way. An offering is needed to perform this cleansing, just ask for instructions at the shrine's office and follow the signs.
The shrine features a row of red torii gates that make for a great photo spot. This style of gates is mostly known from another Inari Shrine in Kyoto, although you will find this one considerably less crowded.
After passing through the gates, you will see that the ema (wooden prayer plaques) are heart shaped here. This shrine is said to bring luck with love, so do not miss the opportunity to write your own love wishes on one of them.
Once you pass through the torii and climb up a hilly slope, you will reach the entrance to Inuyama Castle!
The castle tower will appear in front of you when you pass the entrance. This is the oldest castle tower in all of Japan! It has been designated as a national treasure by the Japanese government and is quite famous.
You can also visit the inside of the castle. This tower is 4 stories high and the first floor to the third floor are exhibition corners. On the fourth floor you can overlook Inuyama city and enjoy a great view! However, the wooden staircase inside the castle tower is extremely steep, so please be careful when you go up and down and hold onto the handrails.
You can grab a souvenir at the shop inside the castle after your visit. There are goods from Inuyama castle sold only here.
This is the mascot character of Inuyama City. You will find it not only in the stores but also around town, even on vending machines.
Before heading home, be sure to browse the local shops. They have many items that you can only find in Nagoya like chicken wing-flavored snacks and ogura toast-flavored cookies!
Inuyama city has many wonderful things to see, great food and fun shops to visit. If you are traveling to Nagoya we highly recommend adding Inuyama to your trip!
InformationInuyama Castle | 犬山城
Access: Approx. 20 min. walk from Inuyama Station on the Meitetsu Inuyama line, direct line from Nagoya Station
Visiting time: 9: 00am - 5: 00pm (last entry time is 4:30pm)
Price: Adult 550 yen. Elementary / middle school student 110 yen
Website (Japanese-only): http://inuyama-castle.jp/
About the Author
Lee Carrotylee is from Taiwan. She graduated in literature at Doshisha University and lives in Kyoto. She feels like she could live in Japan no matter how many years and never get bored of it, because of the constant change of the seasons. She's committed to delivering deep Kansai travel information to people who love Japan.
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THIS ARTICLE IS BASED ON INFORMATION FROM 10 25,2018 Author：DiGJAPAN! Editorial Team