Japan’s rich history can be experienced most anywhere in the country. With hundreds of ancient castles still standing nationwide, it’s easy to take a trip back in time to a land of feudal lords and samurai. Although a history lesson may conjure up images of stuffy museum visits, Nagoya Castle has found a unique way to entertain and educate its guests with its very own band of Samurai warriors.
©JNTO Photo Library
Nagoya is conveniently located in the Aichi Prefecture just 1 hour 45 minutes from Tokyo or a short 30 minute trip from Kyoto by bullet train. Naogya Castle makes a great day trip or stop-off destination on your way and castle guests can expect an elaborate greeting from the Castle’s own Samurai welcoming committee aptly named the “Omotenashi Bushotai”.
The Omotenashi Bushotai is a troupe of performers that portray notable characters from Japanese history and specifically the history of Nagoya including the castle’s architect, Ieyasu Tokugawa. You can see these handsome actors as they parade through the castle grounds in historically accurate attire circa 500 years ago. During the weekdays, they mostly greet visitors and snap photographs with their avid fan base but during the weekends you can catch them performing thrilling swordfights and epic battle reenactments.
The Omotenashi Bushotai has become quite the tourist attraction in recent years, drawing large crowds for each performance. Visitors who come specifically to see the samurai group, seek out their favorite performers much like tourists searching for their favorite Disney character. Although popular with children and tourists, their most dedicated fan base is middle aged Japanese women who make the good looking samurai actors seem more like members of a boy band.
Don’t worry if you aren’t able to understand the particularly archaic brand of Japanese spoken by the performers – who remain in character regardless of the situation – as the action will provide you with plenty of entertainment. It’s a great opportunity to really immerse yourself in the ancient culture and history of Japan. In addition to the fighting action, audiences can also enjoy impressive weapon displays and dances.
So if you enjoy thrilling swordfights, samurais, or even just looking at charming gentlemen in fantastic costumes, you should consider making a stop at Nagoya Castle and enjoying a trip back through Japanese history. If your trip takes you elsewhere, you can also enjoy similar performances at Sendai Castle in North Eastern Japan or just outside of Kochi station in Japan’s South Western island of Shikoku.
Sendai <Tohoku Region>
Kochi <Shikoku Region>