☙ Fall Foliage 2019 ❧ Chubu - Nagoya Castle and Its Surrounding Red Leaves
Autumn is coming to the northern hemisphere, and in Japan that means it's time for koyo (紅葉), or fall foliage viewing! Every year crowds around the country flock to the most beautiful spots to see the seasons change, and the leaves shift from green to red. With amazing weather and colorful scenery, it's a great time to explore Japan. In Nagoya, the castle is encircled by a swath of trees that turn a deep, beautiful red, bringing crowds who wander the gardens.
When the leaves in Nagoya Castle's Ninomaru Garden (名古屋城の二之丸庭園) start to turn yellow, orange, and then red, you know it's time for the yearly Autumn Festival! The garden is one of three surrounding this historic castle (sometimes called Meijo Park, 名城公園), and trees hailing from all over the country of Japan have taken root in the elegantly maintained grounds. Thanks to the variety of plants, at any point in during the fall leaves of all colors can be found in the garden. Foliage in all different hues, and trees at various different points in their seasonal changes make the castle gardens a gorgeous place to see every fall. Plus, each year the festival includes a chrysanthemum growing competition, where florists grow and sculpt fantastic chrysanthemums, put on display at the Nagoya Castle gates.
- Image Source: Guruguru Nagoya
Hours: 9:00 - 16:30
Admission: Adults 500 yen/Children free
Autumn Festival 2019: Oct. 12 ~ Nov. 17, 2019
But Wait - Check Out the Castle Itself, Too!
- This palatial structure makes for a great part of the autumn scenery, but it has its own history, too. Some even call it one of Japan's top 3 castles (alongside Kumamoto Castle, and Osaka Castle)! The first iteration of the castle was built by the Imagawa clan in the early 1500s, and was supposedly the birthplace of legendary figure Oda Nobunaga, before being subsequently abandoned (just decades after its construction). The next version is how the castle is now remembered, being rebuilt in the early 17th century by the historic Tokugawa Ieyasu, another key player in the shaping of Japan. The castle continued on this way, maintained by dozens of isolated renovations, for hundreds of years, before being destroyed during the bombings of World War II. Thankfully, much of the structure was rebuilt in the late 50s, leaving us with a gorgeous castle to admire to this day, with history lining the inside. (Literally - check out the museum indoors!)
One thing to look out for behind the crimson leaves is the castle's golden "shachi" (金鯱, kinshachi), rooftop decorations symbolizing a legendary Japanese beast. A shachi is a koi fish (or sometimes a dolphin) with the head of a tiger, and they're placed on the roof to act as a talisman against fire!
What to Do Nearby!
- Nagoya is a major urban center in Japan, and with interesting sights to see, it's got a burgeoning tourism industry as well. There's plenty of shopping, markets, and temples to check out. As the birthplace of Toyota automobiles, the city also has strong connections with the transportation industry. It's home to more than one Toyota Museum, including one that also explains the company's pre-car manufacturing history. Plus, nearby is the SCMaglev and Railway Park, where train-lovers can see the evolution of the locomotives from steam engines to modern bullet trains.
Not to mention Suzuka Circuit, which is just an hour away by train. It's the first full-scale standard international racing course in Japan, and host to many Formula 1 races. They even have a racing-themed amusement park, perfect for kids of all ages. (See more on that in our video! ⇩)
Planning on heading over to Nagoya Castle to see the leaves, and ramble the gardens? Or perhaps you've already had a great time in Nagoya? Let us know about your experience, and show us your pictures, on twitter
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