Castle Type: Mountain
Class: 12 Remaining Existed Castles, National Treasure of Japan.
Inuyama castle (also called Inuyama Hakutei castle) is located in the city of Inuyama in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. The castle overlooks the Kiso River, which is on the border of Aichi and Gifu prefectures. Inuyama castle is recognised as the oldest standing castle in Japan, having been originally built in 1440 and it is one of only 12 extant castles in Japan built before the Edo period (1603-1868).
According to the Heian Period book "Engishiki," there was a Shinto shrine called Harigane jinja located here originally and it was moved to make way for the castle.
Lordship of the castle was bestowed on Naruse Masanari in 1617 and maintained by the Naruse clan, retainers of the Matsudaira clan, until the Meiji period. It was seized by the Japanese government as part of the Meiji Restoration and the abolishment of the clan system. Most of the castle's surrounding buildings were torn down at this time with only the central keep remaining.
In 1891, the west side of the main keep and the southeast towers were damaged during the Great Nobi Earthquake and it was returned to the Naruse family in 1895 on the condition that they oversee extensive repairs and maintain it.
In 1935 the castle was designated as a National Treasure of Japan. Inuyama castle is unique in Japan in that it was for an extended period privately owned and it has the status of National Treasure of Japan. In 1961 reconstruction work began and the restoration was completed in 1965. In 2004, the castle was acquired by the city of Inuyama and the Aichi Prefectural government. It is currently maintained by the Inuyama Hakutei Bunko.
(Reported By Junpei)