Kumamoto Castle is one of the three most magnificent castles, along with Himeji Castle, Matsumoto Castle, Osaka Castle and Nagoya Castle in Japan. Kumamoto Castle was constructed on the orders of Hidenobu Ideta, who was said to be an expert in civil engineering. Construction started in 1467 and it took seven years to finish the castle. Kumamoto Castle is surrounded by large gingko trees in the the Large Castle Tower and Honmaru Goten Palace. Kiyomasa Kato planted trees that bear fruit or nuts on the castle grounds so that they would not starve during wars.
There is a large and small castle tower, 49 turrets, 18 turret gates, and 29 castle gates at Kumamoto Castle. Among them, 13 of the castle towers are designated Important Cultural Properties. The castle ruins are also listed as a Special Historical Site. The castle towers that were reconstructed in 1960 are must-see landmarks. In 1960, the castle was reconstructed with concrete.
In the Sukiyamaru/Iidamaru areas, beautiful stone pavement called Kiriishidumi is well-known. Kiriishidumi means pilling up the cut tuff stones. The two story building, Sukiyamaru Hall was used as a place for serving guests, Noh plays, tea ceremonies, and poetry readings.
In the Takemaru/East Takemaru areas, Nagabei or the Long Wall, the white and black contrast is beautiful, it extends 242 meters and connects Hiraon Turret and Bagu Turret. It is said to be the longest existing castle wall. Kumamoto Castle is famous for its cherry blossoms. In the spring, cherry trees in full bloom surround the castle and it is beautiful.
Kumamoto Castle has been the center of politics, economy, and culture of Kumamoto from the old days. Even now, there are several museums and art museums, such as the Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art and the Kumamoto Museum around Kumamoto Castle.
A huge earthquake hit Kumamoto Castle in April 2016, the castle was severely damaged. However, thanks to the hard work of local people and the municipal government, the reconstruction of the castle is expected to be completed by March 2019. Until the construction is finished, certain areas are off-limits.
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Address: 1-1 Honmaru, Chuo Ward, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture
Access: 8 minute walk from Kumamotojo-Shiyakusho-Mae Station
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM (March-November)
8:30 AM – 6:00 PM (December-February)
500 yen (Adult)
200 yen (Child)
Website: Kumamoto Castle