Inuyama

The area around Inuyama has been hailed as the Japanese Rhine. It is famous for the castle, perched on the hill overlooking the river; the strolling garden Uraku-en and the cormorant fishing.

The most famous attraction is Inuyama Castle on a 40-meter rise overlooking the Kiso River. This Japanese castle was designated as a Japanese national treasure in 1935 and again in 1952. The castle in its current form was built in 1537 by Oda Nobuyasu, grandfather of the great warlord Oda Nobunaga. The castle is the only privately owned castle in Japan, and has remained unchanged since it was built, making it the oldest original wooden castle in Japan.

Another famous attraction is the Urakuen tea garden used for tea ceremonies. This garden contains the Joan tea house, built in 1618 by Oda Uraku 1547–1621, younger brother of Oda Nobunaga. Tea master, Oda Uraku, was a student of the famous tea master Sen no Rikyū. While the Joan tea house was originally built in Kyoto, it was moved to its current location in 1972. The building is considered one of the finest examples of tea house architecture.

The Kiso River also has some very picturesque rapids upstream of Inuyama Castle. These rapids and the rock formations are called the Nihon Rhine after the Rhine river in Germany, and boat tours are available. Cormorant fishing on the Kiso River is also done, although nowadays almost exclusively for tourists.

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