Inuyama-jō in Aichi prefecture. Shutterstock.



Top choice in Central Honshū

A National Treasure, Japan's oldest standing castle is said to have originated as a fort in 1440. The current donjon (main keep), built atop a 40m rise beside the Kiso-gawa, dates from 1537 and has resisted war, earthquake and restoration, remaining an outstanding example of Momoyama-era architecture. Inside are steep, narrow staircases and military displays – the view from the top is worth the climb. The castle is 15 minutes' walk from Meitetsu Inuyama-yūen Station.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Central Honshū attractions

1. Haritsuna Jinja

0.09 MILES

Just south of Inuyama-jō is this picturesque Shinto shrine. The tunnel of 20-plus red torii (gates) is particularly photogenic.

2. Sankō-Inari Jinja

0.12 MILES

Just south of Inuyama-jō is this picturesque Shinto shrine with interesting statues of komainu (protective dogs), lovingly dressed in cloth collars.

3. Karakuri Exhibition Room (Annexe)

0.16 MILES

This small annexe of the town museum exhibits Edo- and Meiji-era karakuri ningyō (marionettes). On Saturday and Sunday at 10.30am and 2pm you can see the…

4. Uraku-en & Chashitsu Jo-an

0.16 MILES

Within the pretty garden of Uraku-en in the grounds of the Meitetsu Inuyama Hotel, you'll find 'Jo-an', one of the finest teahouses in Japan. One of…

6. Dondenkan

0.49 MILES

A rotating selection of three to four of the 13 impressive floats from Inuyama Matsuri are on year-round display in this custom-made building.

7. Meiji-mura

4.23 MILES

Due to war, earthquakes and development, few Meiji-era buildings have survived here. In 1965 this open-air museum was created to preserve this unique…

8. Ōagata-jinja

4.33 MILES

This ancient shrine on a lovely hillside is dedicated to female Shintō deity Izanami and attracts women seeking marriage or fertility. See if you can find…