City of Surprises, Kiyosu

After visiting Nagoya Castle I set off to Kiyosu, a town next to Nagoya which has… another castle. My first few days of the trip were dedicated to intense castle-hopping, they are easy to find around Nagoya considering the history of the area.

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Kiyosu had many factories so it is probably more of an industrial town, at least on the streets I crossed. However, a quiet path next to the train tracks leads straight to the castle through a nice green park, so I thought the place was nice after all and a welcome change after the bustling streets of Nagoya.


As well as a nice rock garden in front of the entrance, the castle also has a small green garden!
The most important thing for me when visiting a castle are the displays and information. I don’t mind whether it’s a reconstruction, if it’s hard to get to, if it’s small or huge, but a good museum will easily win points. Kiyosu Castle is small but it has many interesting displays. As soon as I walked in, the man selling tickets gave me an audio guide in English so I was able to understand all the explanations.

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Kiyosu Castle was once witness to the power squabbles between Oda Nobunaga, his uncle Nobutomo and his brother Nobuyuki (Nobunaga won), the treaty negotiations and alliance between Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu, more squabbles between Hideyoshi and Nobunaga’s second son (Nobukatsu), a few years with Fukushima Masanori in charge, Matsudaira Tadayoshi’s death and it finally fell into the hands of Tokugawa Yoshinao. Despite all of this, the castle saw its demise when order of reconstructing Nagoya Castle came about in 1607 and parts of the castle were dismantled and relocated to Nagoya. With a history like this, it isn’t strange that the museum would have a few things to tell.

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While looking out over Kiyosu from the top floor I was surprised by the shinkansen zooming past! I’d only ever seen the shinkansen entering a station in the distance once before, so I stood there for a while until more shinkansens went by.

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Finally satisfied with the amount of shinkansens I’d seen, I left to visit a secret gem hidden a few streets over. Kiyosu has a History Museum, it seemed to be more aimed towards kids so I didn’t go inside, but the park in front of the museum has a Yayoi period house (or maybe Kofun period, I wouldn’t know, prehistoric architecture isn’t one of my fortes). Excavations have shown that the settlement in this area didn’t have extensive rice fields, so the people must’ve made a living through commerce and exchange with other groups. The house had an open door so I took a look inside!

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In the end my trip to Kiyosu turned into a nice quick visit. If I ever end up moving to Japan (it’s unlikely, but hypothetically speaking) I’ll add Kiyosu to the list of contendants for cities to live in.

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