Near Nagoya! Visit Inuyama Castle From Centrair Airport and Feast on Castle Town Food

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Inuyama Castle is a place you’ll want to visit in the Chubu Region, along with Sanko Inari Shrine and the nearby castle town which boasts a variety of tasty cuisine. We introduce a travel course that allows you to sample delicious food for only 3000 yen!

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Inuyama Castle, a famous castle home to Japan’s oldest wooden castle keep, is a site you’ll definitely want to visit when you’re in the Chubu Region. The atmosphere of the Edo period still remains in the nearby castle town and those who visit fall in love with its charm.

One thing you cannot miss out on is the trying the delicious food in the castle town. You can enjoy amazing and visually snacks and dishes, including colorful dumplings, bite-sized sushi, and more!

In this article, we introduce a model travel route starting from Centrair (Chubu International Airport). After you’ve finished sightseeing in the Inuyama Castle area, you can enjoy sampling the tasty cuisine of the castle town for around 3000 yen!

7:20 -- Travel to Inuyama Castle from Centrair by Airport Limited Express

Centrair Chubu International Airport Inuyama sky

Access to Inuyama Castle

The nearest station to Inuyama Castle is Inuyama-Yuen Station. Take the Meitetsu μ-SKY Limited Express train from Centrair bound for Shin-Unuma and you’ll arrive in about one hour without needing to transfer trains. A detailed timetable is available here (weekdays, weekends/holidays). The train fee is 1700 yen. After a fifteen minute walk from Inuyama-Yuen Station, you’ll arrive at Inuyama Castle.

We suggest visitors carrying luggage make use of coin lockers available inside the train station or at Inuyama Castle.

Inuyama Castle Entrance Fee

The entrance fee for Inuyama Castle is 550 yen for adults and 110 yen for elementary and junior high school students.

9:00 -- See Inuyama Castle, Home to Japan’s Oldest Wooden Keep

inuyama castle kiso river

Inuyama Castle is located on top of a small hill situated along the Kiso River. It has a long history, constructed by Oda Nobuyasu, the uncle of Oda Nobunaga (*1), a military commander of the Sengoku period, and was once an important military base.

The castle was claimed by the Naruse clan (*2) in the Edo period and continued to be governed by them up until the Meiji period.

*1 Oda Nobunaga... A military commander of the Sengoku period.
*2 Naruse Clan... The chief retainers aiding the Tokugawa family.

existing keep inuyama castle

Inuyama Castle was unable to escape the fate of being demolished as a result of the haijo-rei, or Ordinance for the Disposal of Castles (*3), during the Meiji period. Many parts of the castle, were destroyed, except for the castle's turrets, castle gate, and keep.

A large portion of the remaining castle was also devastatingly damaged due to a major earthquake in the Chubu Region in 1891. Several years later, Aichi Prefecture transferred the rights of the castle back to the Naruse family on the condition that they “restore and preserve Inuyama Castle.” Up until 2004, Inuyama Castle had been the only castle in Japan to be owned by an individual.

The wooden castle keep is one of the highlights of Inuyama Castle. It is said to have been constructed in 1537 and is considered Japan’s oldest keep out of all the castles with a keep.

*3 Haijo-rei (Ordinance for the Disposal of Castles)... A law issued by the Japanese government at the time, ordering the demolishment of castles throughout Japan along with the plot of land. The ownership of many of Japan’s castles were privately transferred during this time and were then demolished.

inside Inuyama Castle

The castle has four stories, with the entrance to Inuyama Castle on the second floor basement. The stairs in the castle are very steep, so please be careful when going up and down the stairs.

Mostly armors and historical records are displayed on the first and second floors, along with photos of the existing castle keep. The fourth floor functions as an observation deck, allowing a panoramic view of Kiso River and the townscape near the castle.

Inuyama Castle features

There are talisman tiles in the shape of turtle’s shell with a peach on top of the castle roof. It is said that there are eight of these talismans in Inuyama Castle. How many will you be able to find?

10:00 -- Visit Sanko Inari Shrine to Get Blessed for a Lucky Encounter!

Sanko Inari Shrine

After visiting the castle you'll want to stop by Sanko Inari Shrine, located a three minute walk from Inuyama Castle.

This is a shrine known as a sacred spot for matchmaking and is where Inari, the guardian deity of the Naruse clan, is enshrined. Aside from wishing for a nice encounter, there are also people who pray for a happy marriage and economic fortune.

Aichi Sanko Inari Shrine Torii

The row of red torii gates located on the premises is a photo opportunity you can't miss. The cover of the red seal book sold at the shrine also features these red torii gates together with Inuyama Castle.

Aichi Sanko Inari Shrine Ema

The ema, or prayer plaques, to wish for a great match, are heart-shaped and pink. They’re extremely adorable and we recommend taking a commemorative photo with them. The heart ema are 500 yen (plus tax).

11:00 -- Feast on Tasty Food in the Castle Town for 3000 Yen!

Inuyama Castle Town

You’ll reach the castle town after a five minute walk from Sanko Inari Shrine. Here you’ll find a treasure trove of delicious and visually stunning cuisine. The plentiful selection of food here is perfect for those wanting to sample a variety of snacks and dishes. We introduce several amazing foods that you can enjoy for approximately 3000 yen!

Try Dengaku Kushi, an Inuyama Specialty, at Sakura Chaya!

With the great water quality of the Kiso River, tofu making was widely practiced in Inuyama for a very long time. There are still many tofu specialty shops in Inuyama with dengaku (*4), a dish consisting of tofu coated in miso paste and grilled, which the town has become known for.

*4 Dengaku... Foods such as tofu, taro, etc. skewered onto a stick, coated in miso (fermented soybean paste), then grilled.

Inuyama Tofu Dengaku

First, let’s eat dengaku. Dengaku kushi is available for takeout at Sakura Chaya allowing customers to readily enjoy the delectable flavors of dengaku. The dengaku costs 100 yen per skewer (plus tax). We recommend enjoying your dengaku while gazing out onto the townscape on the benches outside the store.

The flavor of the tofu, soft and rich with the aroma of soybeans, is brought out the heat of the grill.
*Inside seating is reserved for customers who order a set meal.

Relish the Taste of the Homemade Goheimochi at Yamada Goheimochiten

Yamada Goheimochiten

Next you'll want to visit Yamada Goheimochiten, a shop famous for its goheimochi (*5). You can also relax here and sit inside the shop, which has been registered as a Tangible Cultural Property.

*5 Goheimochi... A dish of pounded rice formed into an oval shape on a skewer. It is then brushed with a miso sauce and grilled.

Inuyama Yamada Goheimochiten

The typical goheimochi is made into a single oval, but the goheimochi at Yamada Goheimochiten is shaped into small balls. Not only does it look adorable, but it’s also easy to eat. It is priced at 100 yen per skewer (plus tax).

The goheimochi at this shop is homemade, and the texture of the rice and the fragrant aroma grows more as you take a bite. The miso sauce used on the mochi contains sesame seeds, walnuts, and peanuts, resulting in a rich, delicious flavor.

Taste Cute Soft Serve at Honmachi Tea House, a Traditional Japanese House

Inuyama Honmachi Tea House

Honmachi Tea House is a Japanese-style café that was built by renovating a 100-year-old Japanese house. The shop is famous for their local Inuyama cuisine with their vivid soft serve ice cream being super popular with the tourists.

Honmachi Tea House

One especially popular menu item is the Extra Rich Premium Soft Serve Ice Cream topped with colorful oiri (*6) candies. It is priced at 350 yen (plus tax). It is too adorable not to take a photo.

*6 Oiri... a mochi (rice cake) candy that is slightly sweet with a soft texture that will dissolve softly in your mouth.

Adorable Toy-Like Temari Sushi at Iseya Sunaoroshi

Temari Sushi

The temari sushi at Iseya Sunaoroshi, a restaurant that serves konjac dishes, is perfect for a light lunch during your eating tour. The characteristic bright colors and round shape of temari sushi resembles temari, a traditional Japanese toy.

The sushi rice in the temari sushi at Iseya Sunaoroshi contains konjac rice, or rice processed with konjac, and has half the calories of regular sushi. We’re happy to note that it has plenty of dietary fiber and is healthy. The dish is priced at 750 yen per five sushi (plus tax).

The Colorful, Internet-Famous Dessert at Kuraya

Stylish Love Town Beauty Set

We recommend trying the colorful dumplings at Kuraya for dessert. The Stylish Love Town Beauty Set, the restaurant’s most popular menu item, allows you to enjoy eight different flavored toppings, is popular online for its beautiful visual presentation. It is priced at 600 yen (plus tax) and comes with two skewers and a cup of green tea.

Six out of the eight flavors are permanent, but you’ll be also able to enjoy seasonal flavors with honey yuzu and tangerine in the winter, and honey lemon and mandarin orange flavors available in the summer. The standard flavors include Amao An (Amao strawberry red bean paste), Zunda An (mashed green soybean red bean paste), Momo An (peach red bean paste), and Koshian Ichigo (smooth red bean paste with strawberry).

You can choose the remaining two flavors to your liking from a selection of six to seven types of seasonal flavors. The set is very satisfying with the green tea which contains brown rice produced in Inuyama, pairing perfectly with the sweetness of the dumplings.

The Most Beautiful Wagashi in Japan at Sakuraya Kaho

Inuyama Sakuraya Kaho

Once you’ve rested at Kuraya, be sure to stop by Sakuraya Kaho, an over 50-year-old shop located in the neighborhood.

Inuyama Mai no Kazashi

A specialty of the shop are the wagashi kushi (skewered Japanese sweets) served for a limited time during spring and autumn. These sweets look like the hair ornaments worn with kimonos, and are known as “Japan’s most beautiful Japanese sweets” online.

Mai no Kazashi, the spring wagashi kushi, is made with anko (red bean paste), yokan, and agar-agar, and are extremely adorable. One skewer is priced at 250 yen (plus tax).

Fruit-Filled Parfaits at Yoshikawaya

Inuyama Yoshikawaya

The next place you’ll want to stop by is Yoshikawaya. The shop was originally a fruit store, but now sells desserts made using plenty of fruit.

The Seasonal Fruit Parfait is a popular dessert made with seasonal fruits like strawberries in the spring and winter, peaches in the summer, and pears in the autumn. It is priced at 780 yen (plus tax).

The fruits are cut and prepared only after you’ve put in your order, so you can enjoy fresh fruit. Despite the fact that the dessert is topped with so many fruits, this dessert is surprisingly priced under 1000 yen!

Traditional Nagoya Desserts at Uiro no Ohnoya

Inuyama Ohnoya

Let’s also visit a famous restaurant specializing in uiro. Ohnoya is a shop that has continued to make uiro for over 80 years and has long been adored and frequented by locals.

Uiro is a Japanese sweet made with rice flour and sugar. It looks similar to yokan but has a delicious and springy texture!

Inuyama Ohnoya Uiro Dumplings

The Skewered Uiro Dumplings sold in the shop allow you taste three flavors all at once – yuzu, plain, and matcha green tea. We recommend this to visitors trying uiro for the first time. It is priced at 130 yen (plus tax).

The yuzu is refreshing while the plain flavor has a mild sweetness, and the matcha dumpling will leave a matcha aroma in your mouth.

15:30 -- After Ending Your Inuyama Travels, Enjoy a Trip to Nagoya!

After you’ve finished sightseeing the Inuyama area, how about visiting the neighboring metropolis of Nagoya? To get to Nagoya from the castle town of Inuyama Castle, it is best to travel by the Meitetsu Limited Express from either Inuyama or Inuyama-Yuen Station. There are about nine trains every hour and travel time is about 30 minutes.

Travel while Tasting the Food at Inuyama Castle!

The area of Inuyama is home to many places you’ll want to visit, including not only Inuyama Castle, but also a shrine known for matchmaking, and shops offering delicious snacks and food in the castle town. You’ll be able to get here in just under one hour by taking the μ-SKY Airport Limited Express from Centrair Airport!

If you are traveling to Centrair Airport, be sure to also visit the historic town of Inuyama!

Travel In Chubu Special Feature

Official Chubu Centrair International Airport Website:

Written by Callie Chen
Sponsored by Chubu Centrair International Airport

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Tokyo, Japan

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