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Kumamoto Castle

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Kumamoto Castle, one of Japan's three great castles, was started by Kato Kiyomasa in 1601, with the construction lasting seven years. The castle is also known as Ginnanjo (Ginkgo Castle). It is a truly grand and magnificent castle of approximately 980,000 m2, and within the castle grounds, which have a circumference of about 5.3 km (as originally built), there are three towers, 49 turrets, 18 turret gates, and 29 castle gates. The unique castle structure makes use of ishigaki stone walls and natural landforms that give it its beautiful curves. Katsu Kaishu once stated, “there are no other castles like this castle,” praising its intimidating size and height.
During the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877, the castle demonstrated its value as an impregnable fortress by fending off the Satsuma army led by Saigo Takamori for 50 days, but a mysterious fire the day before the main attack left only 12 towers including the Uto Turret standing. The present castle tower was rebuilt by Kumamoto City in 1960 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of Kato Kiyomasa and the 70th anniversary of the municipality. It is famous as a cherry blossom spot, with 600 Yamazakura, Higo, and Yoshino cherry trees that attract more than 100,000 people when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The park is open at night where they reflect off the lit up castle. The cherry blossoms bloom from late March to early April. The Honmaru Goten, completed in 2008, further adds to the castle’s allure.

Street address

1-1 Honmaru, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto

Access

  • Kumamoto City Tram About 10 minutes by foot from Kumamoto City Hall

Opening Hours

●8:00-18:30 (March-November); 8:00-17:30 (December-February)
*The above time is the hours of operation for the Ninomaru parking lot as the paid admission area of inside Kumamoto Castle is closed. (Due to the earthquake)

Closed

Open all year

Fee

Free admission
*Ninomaru Park and others

Website

https://kumamoto-guide.jp/kumamoto-castle/en/admission/

Best season

All year

Point

Although you cannot currently enter Kumamoto Castle, it is worth walking around the grounds to see the restoration take place step by step.
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