The roof of the Japanese castle is often decorated with large ornaments - shachi - shaped like a fantasy animal called shachihoko (which is often incorrectly translated as “dolphin"), with the head of a tiger and the body of a carp. They are always in pairs, a male and a female and they act as talismans, protecting the castle against fire.
At the Nagoya castle, the original sculptures were destroyed at the end of the WWII, together with the main donjon. They were remade during the reconstruction from 1957 and today they adorn the roof of the reconstructed castle.
Even if these shachi are huge, over 2.5 meters tall, due to the size of the donjon they are quite difficult to see. But if you visit the castle, you will be able to see a life-size replica of the female shachi displayed in the courtyard, covered with golden leaf like the originals.
Golden shachi, Nagoya Castle, Nagoya
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: Japanese garden bridges, Yatsuhashi