It took just 6 months for 20 000 labourers to build the stone base and walls of Nagoya Castle’s main tower, led by the legendary samurai Katō Kiyomasa 「加藤 清正」 in the early 1600s. Kiyomasa was a leader of men, having fought in the Seven-Year War as division commander in the first wave of the Japanese invasion of Korea. He was also born in Nagoya, becoming a key figure in the construction of its castle.

This monument to Kiyomasa stands close to the original tower foundations inside the Nagoya Castle complex, depicting the huge stone he stood atop of while directing the castle wall construction.

Kiyomasa's Pulling Stone, Nagoya Castle
NIKON D5200 (18mm, f/8, 1/200 sec, ISO800)
Kiyomasa’s Pulling Stone, Nagoya Castle

It is said that Kiyomasa, who was ordered to build the stone base of the donjon, personally “called the tune”, and made young and old alike sing the cadence while he supervised the hauling of the huge stones used in the construction.

From a sign next to the monument at Nagoya Castle

Inside the castle’s main tower is a popular stone pulling hands-on exhibit. Visitors can try pulling a massive stone, experiencing the construction of the castle under Kiyomasa’s direction over 400 years ago.

Nagoya is Japan’s 3rd largest city, about halfway between Tokyo and Osaka. View 20+ photos and detailed travel information at our Nagoya Castle and Hommaru Palace travel guide.