After months of debate, Nagoya city council approves 50 billion-yen (US$451 million) budget.
While many Japanese cities have a castle as their most iconic symbol and biggest tourism draw, the irony is that these salutes to their samurai past are often built out of modern materials. See traditional Japanese architecture was almost entirely wooden, and castles, being military strongholds, were prime targets during warfare, so a popular tactic for attacking armies was to burn the fortresses to the ground.
That scenario continued into the 20th century, such as when the Imperial Japanese army installed a regional headquarters and administrative facility in Nagoya Castle during World War II. In May of 1945, a U.S. air raid destroyed a large portion of the castle, including its main keep. After the war, the keep was rebuilt from reinforced concrete, reopening in 1959 and continuing to attract visitors to this day.
However, after decades of wear and tear, plus a need for further earthquake-proofing, the Nagoya City Council has decided to rebuild the castle keep. Moreover, to emphasize its historical value, the rebuilt keep will be made of wood, just as the original was.
Nagoya mayor Takashi Kawamura initially proposed the idea last June. The required budget of 50 billion yen (approximately US$451 million) set off a lengthy debate, but on March 23, the city council approved the plan in a majority vote.
An exact timetable for the project has yet to be set, as the city is still in talks with contractors and construction firms. If everything progresses smoothly, though, the council hopes the new, wooden Nagoya Castle keep will be ready to start receiving visitors in 2022. Demolition of the current keep could begin as early as the fall of 2019, which would leave the city without a castle keep for two to three years, so if you can’t wait until 2022, you’ll want to make those Nagoya travel plans before the concrete keep comes down.
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