A plan to restore iconic Nagoya Castle to attract more tourists is facing criticism as the mayor aims to re-create the original 17th century structure with no elevators for people with disabilities.

Citing problems with quake resistance, the Nagoya Municipal Government will demolish the concrete main tower and rebuild it with woodwork, which it says is more durable and similar to the version built in 1612 by the Tokugawa shogunate.

The current tower has elevators, and Mayor Takashi Kawamura's fidelity to history has triggered a backlash from the public, with citizens' groups saying the project goes against building a barrier-free society.