Since last weekend’s brief visit to Nagoya won’t get blogged about for a good long while, I’d like to offer an abbreviated report covering the main target of that short excursion: the newly opened Taimenjo wing of Nagoya Castle’s opulent Honmaru Palace.
UPDATE: Click here to read a new Field Report documenting my November 2018 return visit to the Honmaru Palace. The major reception halls were mostly finished by that time, although two smaller auxiliary wings were still awaiting completion.
As for the ongoing series of posts covering my summer 2015 trip across Japan, not to worry: that’s still top priority on my blogging schedule. This post (and perhaps one or two more to follow) is just a sneak peek at a very recent and very short trip that I’m not likely to write about anytime soon, if at all.
I won’t give a detailed commentary here – that’ll have to wait until I write a more complete post documenting this experience. For further background information on Nagoya Castle and the massive Honmaru Palace reconstruction project, please read this older post about my first visit there, more than two years ago.
To set the stage, let’s have a look at the palace’s Genkan and Omote-shoin halls, part of a large section that was opened to the public in 2013 (you’ll find additional photos and detailed descriptions of each room here).
I’d seen all this before, but down this corridor was a brand-new set of rooms that I was about to lay eyes on for the very first time.
This area of the palace, the Taimenjo – consisting of a suite of reception halls – opened just last week. I didn’t get as good a look as I’d have wished, mainly because there was a television crew on hand to document the artwork and one of the better vantage points was blocked off for their use. Even so, I was very grateful indeed for the chance to see these richly decorated rooms, and so soon after their grand opening.
The newly opened wing also includes the Shimogozensho, a preparation room for servants attending to the castle lord and distinguished guests. Perhaps the room’s most interesting feature is the central hearth and the raised, vented section of ceiling directly above it, through which smoke could be let out: an Edo Period range hood, if you will.
Here’s an outdoor shot showing the newly opened section (on the right) and the previously completed wing (on the left).
A short walk away stands what might be the palace kitchens (at least according to a rather imprecise site plan that I’d seen earlier). Note the smoke vent built into the hall’s tiled roof. The interiors of this section weren’t open yet, but from the looks of things it’ll probably be ready to receive visitors not too long from now.
The third major section of the palace – still hidden away behind scaffolding at this stage – isn’t scheduled to open until 2018…
…but in a workshop elsewhere on the castle grounds, I was able to see two of the absolutely stunning carved wooden screens that will go into the recreation of that wing, which contains some of the Honmaru Palace’s grandest and most lavishly decorated rooms.
Here’s a look at the rest of the workshop. Seeing all the care and trouble invested into this gargantuan restoration project left me feeling quite impressed.
That’s it for the moment, chaps – expect a more detailed version of this post in a few months or so. Cheerio.