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Inuyama Castle is located on the southern side of the Kiso River just downstream from the railway bridge. The site of the castle was initially occupied by the Harigane Shrine, and the shrine was moved to Shirayamadaira so that the castle could be built on the steep hill overlooking the Kiso. Inuyama Castle holds the distinct honor of being the oldest castle in Japan, though the date of its original construction a bit of a debate. In Japan it is always difficult to pinpoint the exact date a castle was concstructed. What with all of the earthquakes, fires, wars, and changing of hands castles rarely if ever were permanant structures. Thus making it rather troublesome to decide whether to call the new bits the founding day since it is really a new castle, or do you just consider the new towers and buildings a bit of redecoration. In any case, some consider 1440 the year that Inuyama was constructed, though at this time it was little more than a fortified house or fort. On the other hand the castle as it stands today was constructed in the year 1537 by Oda Nobuyasu, an uncle of the great warlord Oda Nobunaga.

Battles of Komaki & Nagakute in 1584 - 9 years after Nagashino and Shitagahara - Hideyoshi's headquarters were here. Role of the Nakasendo should be mentioned. Proximity to Gifu castle also should be mentioned.

From the time Oda took up residence here to the present day the castle has changed hands many times. After Hideyoshi took control of Odawara, he placed Ishikawa Sadakiyo in charge of Inuyama Castle. Though Ishikawa's defeat at the Battle of Sekigahara meant he also lost control of the castle to Matsudaira Tadayoshi. He in turn awarded his retainer Ogasawara Yoshitsugu his newly aquired prize. As the year 1616 appoached Ogasawara was replaced by Naruse Masanari, whose family occupied the castle until the Meiji Era. In the year 1872 the government seized control of Inuyama from the Naruse family. In 1891, the Great Nobi Earthquake destroyed much of the castle, leaving only the main keep standing. After that, in 1895, the government decided to return ownership of the castle to the the Naruse family under the condition that the family repair and maintain the castle. The family agreed and today Inuyama is the only privately owned castle in Japan.

Ashley in front of a large rock that says Inuyama Castle.

Inuyama Castle tower through the trees.

An explanation of Inuyama Castle.

Five samurai warrior outfits on display in the castle.

Lord's Room explanation.

The Lord's Room, warriors hid behind the walls on the right side ready to protect the lord.

Scale and structure of Inuyama Castle.

Ashley walking up some of the VERY steep stairs.

The castle structures are really cool looking, at least I think so.

The view.

A church below, it's really pretty looking.

Ashley said this would be her reading alcove if she lived in the castle.

One of the inside walls on the lowest level.

Ashley enjoying some melon soft cream and enjoying the view.

The Four Castles Designated as National Treasures ... Matsumoto-Jo, Inuyama-Jo, Hikone-Jo, and Himeji-Jo

This is a typical Japanese cemetary. Very different from an American cemetary.