Inuyama Castle 犬山城
Founder Oda Nobuyasu
Year 1537
Type Hilltop
Condition Original
Alternate Name Hakutei-jo
Structure 3 levels, 4 stories, plus 2 stories below ground
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Historical Value Top 100 Castles, National Treasures
Historical Artifacts National Treasures:

Location Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture
Map Google Map
Access Inuyama Yuen Station (Meitetsu), 15 minute walk
Website Inuyama City Hall Sightseeing Information
Visited July 1992; May 1996; February 22, 2004
Notes This is a great little castle to visit if you are in the area and have some time. It's also not far from Gifu or Nagoya so you could go to 2 sites in the same day. If you're really ambitious you might be able to make it to all three.

The castle as it stands today was established in 1537 by Nobunaga's grandfather Oda Nobuyasu.

According to a Heian period book called "Enkishiki," at the site where Inuyama castle now stands, there was a shrine called Harigane Shrine (Harigane Jinja). This temple was later moved to Shirayamadaira to make way for the castle. The castle was not entirely constructed from scratch, but the main keep was actually moved here from a different castle known as Kanayama Castle.

After Hideyoshi took Odawara, he stationed Ishikawa Sadakiyo at Inuyama castle. Following the Battle of Sekigahara, Ishikawa was defeated and Matsudaira Tadayoshi (master of Kiyosu castle) stationed his retainer Ogasawara Yoshitsugu in Inuyama Castle. In 1616 Ogasawara was replaced by Naruse Masanari and his family have more or less owned the castle through the present day.

Inuyama-jo was famous for being the only privately owned castle in Japan. It had a few different owners early on, and was seized by the Meiji government who held it in their possession from 1872 to 1895. It suffered damage during an earthquake in 1891 and was returned to the Naruse family in 1895 under the condition that they repair the damages continue to keep up the castle into the future. It was recently sold to the city of Inuyama and will soon be taken over by Aichi Prefecture.

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  • furinkazan    May 28, 2017 at 08:43 PM
    I revisited this nice castle today. I came from Nagoya on the Meitetsu line. They have a Inuyama castle 1-day ticket. It's 1340¥ and you receive 5 tickets. The first is the ride from MeitetsuNagoya station to Inuyama or Inuyamayûen station. The second is for the entrance to the castle. The third one is a coupon with which you have up to 3 reductions at some shops. The fourth is the return ticket to Nagoya station. The fifth is a receipt. After the castle i visited the karakuri museum and the Shiro to machi museum(already mentioned in the comments below). The fee for both is a mere 100¥. Like told by DiegoDeManila, the model of the castle and its town is awesome. I visited also the Isobe and Hirobe residences. These were build during the late Edo and Meiji periods. If you like old japanese architecture, these are very interesting.
  • snoworion on My Page    September 20, 2016 at 05:11 PM
    Visited on 9 October 2015. Small castle but one of the best I visited. Its original, small, intimate and sits magnificently atop a hill that overlooks the town and the river. I absolutely loved this castle.
  • lidiamq on My Page    June 01, 2016 at 07:22 PM
    2015 July. Very crowded. Not that spectacular
  • DiegoDeManila    April 12, 2014 at 06:43 PM
    Visited 04 February 2014. Best as a day trip from nearby Nagoya, though I did it as a day trip from distant Tōkyō (long story) and still had time later in the day for Kakegawa Castle on the way back. The scaffolding put up for the recent restoration project spoiled the view somewhat, but didn't ruin the visit entirely. The vistas from the top level were some of the best I've seen - really makes one want to imagine what the castle lord would have glimpsed centuries ago, with the river running directly underneath and his lands stretching out far into the distance. Admission ticket valid for two nice museums in the old part of town, both a short walk from the foot of the castle hill: one with an impressive display of karakuri ningyō, the other about the castle town in its heyday (don't miss the splendid scale model of the town and castle as they looked in the Edo period).
  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    April 04, 2014 at 10:51 PM
    An early castle on my list, it didn't disappoint , will go back at another time and season.
  • Eric    March 04, 2014 at 10:00 PM
    According to the administration office, everything will be complete and the scaffolding removed on March 14.
  • Maciej    March 03, 2014 at 03:30 PM
    I visited the castle last year around October. Unfortunately there was some work being done and the entire castle was covered in scaffolding. Can anyone please tell me if that has been completed and the castle is free of any obstructions? Thank you.
  • Chizuru    January 05, 2014 at 11:01 AM
    Thank you for visiting Inuyama Castle. I'm living near the castle. I recommend a visit in the season of Sakura, cherry blossoms. See my photos in the cherry blossom season.
  • bryanbaier on My Page    February 13, 2012 at 10:08 PM
    Great castle and a great place to view the sakura.
  • rebolforces on My Page    January 15, 2012 at 09:41 AM
    Second time at this castle, this time made sure I got to the 2 other museums down the road opposite, that were included in the ticket price. Love the walk from the station along the river with the castle perched on the hill over looking your progress
  • RaymondW    June 18, 2011 at 10:11 PM
    Went to this castle again. On my earlier visits to this place, I had ignored the painted screens on the first floor after you have climbed the stairs from the entrance. The screens show a number of famous battles including Sekigahara and Anegawa.
  • Alamo6400    January 08, 2011 at 04:43 PM
  • Kris on My Page    November 14, 2010 at 11:50 PM
    There are great views of Inuyama castle walking up the river and it seems to perch on the hill staring across the river into Mino, (part of modern day Gifu prefecture). Once you reach the top of the keep the view down to the river actually makes you quite dizzy. Inuyama was the first stop on my Natsu-no-Jin. I had a guide so I didn't get lost and discover anything cool or, conversely, do anything silly like pray backwards at the shrine and get a curse on my camera. I really enjoyed this castle. I third the opinion that this castle is a definite must see in the area. The mascot is Wanmaru-kun, (for once not just an arbitrary cute animal mascot – Inuyama does actually mean dog mountain). The 100meijo stamp is on request at the office.
  • RaymondW    November 05, 2010 at 08:31 PM
    I was very lucky on the day that I went to this castle as I had picture-perfect autumn weather. The leaves are beginning to change colour, but they will probably not be at their best for another week or two (mid-November). Still, it was good to visit this original castle in autumn. I second Furinkazan's comments below. If you are in the Nagoya / Gifu area, go and see this beautiful castle. Entry is 500yen.
  • furinkazan on My Page    October 15, 2010 at 05:32 PM
    Went today to this castle as well as Komakijo. This one is really a must do. Very nice structures and location. If you are in the vicinity, visit this castle>
  • Admin    April 04, 2010 at 10:22 AM
    There's not really a standard style. Every donjon is different. In the Edo Period you do see a lot more of the thinner more symmetrical "sotogata" style however.
  • John    April 04, 2010 at 02:56 AM
    I've noticed that the tenshu or donjn on some of these castles are different from the standard ones because they are taller and not as wide as the others.
  • Julian (from Canada)    October 23, 2009 at 09:39 AM
    Great little castle with great views of the city and close to nice, small museums. Also, not far from Jo-an tea house. I'm a bit sad to read that it's been sold. At least, I guess, that means it will be well-maintained.
  • chelsea krass    May 01, 2009 at 09:08 AM
    wow that castle is sooo pretty hahaha
  • MM    March 17, 2008 at 02:44 AM
    Inuyamajo does not have as many original buildings (four) as some castles. Yet, it is a good castle to go to if you love Shiro (like me) due to the fact that it has the oldest surviving Tenshu.
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Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture
Inuyama Castle views
donjon main keep
view from the main keep honmaru viewed from the main keep
Inuyama Castle Sunset Kurogane gate