Kiyosu Castle, in the suburbs of Nagoya, makes no bones about authenticity. The castle was built in 1989. The original, which was situated on the other side of the river, dated from the 14th-15th century but was demolished in 1610.
Local strongman Oda Nobunaga took possession of the fortress in 1555 and many of the exhibits in the castle relate to this most famous of Aichi Prefecture's sons.
The castle grounds contain a stone garden and ornamental pond, now empty of carp, for on the day we visited all the fish had fallen prey to hungry herons (shirasagi). The birds can't handle fully grown carp but were able to take the young fish from the pond much to the despair of the garden's attendant.
The first floor has a display of suits of armor, made out of recycled beer cans no less, which visitors are encouraged to try on and be photographed. Polished wooden stairs lead up to rooms with the usual displays of samurai swords, roof tiles and photographs of Japan's other major castles. The "highlight" is a plastic mannequin of Oda Nobunaga performing a traditional dance surrounded by his fearsome, loyal retainers.
There are good views back to Midland Square and the skyscrapers around Nagoya Station from the top storey.
Across the ornamental bridge, which is illuminated along with Kiyosu Castle at night, is a souvenir and snack shop and a small park where the original castle once stood. Kiyosu itself still retains some old wooden houses and the walk from Shin Kiyosu Station on the Meitetsu Line along the river bank is a peaceful stroll.
The Kiyosu Festival with a parade in traditional dress takes place on the Taiku no Hi (Sports Day) public holiday annually in early October.
Tel: 052 409 7330
Hours: 9.00am to 4.30pm
Admission: 300 yen
Take the JR Tokaido Line two stops north from Nagoya Station or the Meitetsu Line eight stops to Shin Kiyosu Station on the Nagoya Main Line. It is a 15-20 minute walk from either station.
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