This castle is notable for its size and for the pair of gold-plated dolphins—one male, one female—mounted atop the donjon (principal keep). Built on land artificially raised from the flat Nagoya plain, the castle is protected by vast stone walls and two picturesque moats. The current castle is a 1959 reconstruction of the 1612 original, and an elevator whisks you between floors. Between the entrance and the top floor, which has 360-degree views of modern-day Nagoya, are five floors of exhibits. On the third floor is an evocative re-creation of Edo-era streets, complete with sound effects. The fifth floor has several hands-on exhibits, including a full-scale replica of the 2,673-pound female dolphin that you can clamber all over. Inside the east gate a traditional teahouse built of hinoki (Japanese cypress) stands in the otherwise unspectacular Ninomaru Tei-en 二の丸庭園 (Ninomaru Gardens), where you can break for green tea for ¥500. Also on the grounds is the
site of the once Honmaru Palace, which is undergoing a rebuild ready for unveiling in 2018; you can tour the construction site (except Tuesday and Thursday) for a close-up look at traditional Japanese construction methods and craftsmanship. Nagoya-jo's east gate is one block north of the Shiyakusho 市役所 (City Hall) subway station.