Kumamoto Castle 熊本城
Founder Kato Kiyomasa
Kato
Year 1607
Type Hilltop
Condition Reconstructed
Alternate Name Ginnan-jo
Reconstructed 1960
Structure 3 levels, 6 floors, 1 floor below ground
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Historical Site Special Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles, Important Cultural Properties
Historical Artifacts Important Cultural Properties:
Utoyagura, East Juuhachiken Yagura, North Juuhachiken Yagura, Goken Yagura, Gennoshin Yagura, Juuyonken Yagura, Shichiken Yagura, Hirayagura, Kenmotsu Yagura, Nagabei, Tako Yagura, Yonken Yagura, Akazuno mon
Location Kumamoto, Kumamoto Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Kumamoto Sta. (Kagoshima Line), city bus
Website Kumamoto City Sightseeing
Notes Not personally visited. Pictures donated by Pavel F.

This is currently the #1 castle I want to visit. While the main keep and several structures are modern reconstructions, there are also several original structures and the castle itself well preserves the layout and atmosphere of these old, big Edo Period castles. Particularly in the past few years they have been rebuilding and restoring many structures for the 400th anniversary in 2007. When the lord's inner palace is completed in 2007 Kumamoto castle will be a most impressive tourist destination.

History After the battle of Sekigahara, Kato Kiyomasa built this incredible fortress in Kumamoto. The castle expertly utilizes the geography to make one of the most impregnable castles ever built in Japan.

The Kato reign ended after only two generations when Kiyomasa's son was replaced by Hosokawa Tadatoshi in 1632. The Hosokawa reigned for 240 years until the Meiji Period.

The main keep and connected smaller tower, among other buildings, were burned to the ground during the Satsuma rebellion of 1877

Photo Tags

18
Viewer Comments

Comment on this castle
  • Anonymous    May 30, 2014 at 02:45 AM
    Whatch this video about Kumamoto castle!! It's fantastic! http://youtu.be/RVnPftWc7gQ
  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    April 04, 2014 at 10:59 PM
    Impressive is the only word to describe it. Imagine if all of the original buildings existed today, what a sight.
  • RaymondW    April 21, 2013 at 08:38 AM
    Furinkazan: agree with you about the concrete tenshu, but I guess it was a reflection of the times during the Showa Period when they went for durability (fireproof) over authenticity in their reconstructions. Nevertheless, this is a great castle to visit.
  • furinkazan on My Page    April 19, 2013 at 07:02 PM
    This is really a fabulous caslte to visit. I spent the whole day at the site. I didn't had enough with 1 pair of eyes to look at everything. Nevertheless i give it only 4.5 stars because of that little, very little black spot that is the concrete tenshukaku.
  • KulaRon    April 17, 2013 at 06:41 AM
    Visited the castle during sakura season which made it more spectacular. The immense size of the entire castle complex is astounding with walls and gates extending almost half a mile from one end to another. Trip to Kumamoto was to research information regarding my grandfather and the visit to Kumamoto Castle was an all-to-brief side trip. I need to return to follow up on my grandfather but will spend at least a day in the castle to better appreciate its history. Although my visit was the first to a Japanese castle, I felt the restoration work was excellent.
  • RaymondW on My Page    February 28, 2012 at 10:58 PM
    This is one castle site without an original castle keep that can easily compare well with and surpass some of the smaller original castles in Japan. I spent two days at this castle. I think for most castle fans, you can easily spend a full day at this castle as it is huge with lots of ishigaki, original and reconstructed turrets and towers, a reconstructed palace, multiple massive baileys, deep moats, and a concrete castle keep. The original Uto Tower (Uto Yagura) would be a castle keep in its own right anywhere else in Japan, but at Kumamoto Castle, it is just one of the major defensive towers protecting one corner of the inner castle site. As mentioned on this website already, there are 13 original structures including the Uto Yagura. Not all the yaguras are open, but you can go inside Uto Yagura, Iida-maru Five-storey Yagura, Sukiyamaru Two-storey Hall, the Honmaru Goten (Main Bailey Palace) and, of course, the castle keep. Some of the other yaguras and structures are open to the public only on special occasions. About a third of the original Honmaru Goten has been restored, but it has been done very well. You can take photos inside the palace with the flash off. This is an awesome castle site to visit. If you can make it to only one castle site in Kyushu, make this your number one priority, but give yourself plenty of time to see it all. These guys are continuously working on improving the castle site. Right now, they are working on restoring the Bagu Yagura next to the Hazekata Gate. This is certainly a five star site.
  • bryanbaier on My Page    February 13, 2012 at 10:11 PM
    The extensive stone walls of this castle are amazing and the original turrets are incredible. The tower may be a reconstruction but that in no way detracts from the experience. In Kumamoto? Go!
  • miki    October 23, 2011 at 07:46 PM
    wow
  • Frank T. on My Page    September 21, 2011 at 07:56 PM
    Despite the fact that the keep is not original, this is one of the best castle sites. The grounds are extensive and there are many structures. I strongly recommend strolling the grounds at night since the structures are lit up. I can't wait to visit again and see the reconstructed palace.
  • rebolforces on My Page    May 22, 2011 at 07:17 PM
    Saw it light up at night and also got pics during the day. The palace reconstruction is amazing. Lacquered room with gold.
  • john    April 20, 2011 at 10:14 AM
    i just love the archetecture on the japanese castle-the exteriors are elegant as well as functional, in stark contrast to the european castles
  • john    April 03, 2010 at 06:10 AM
    what i would LOVE to see is a book that would have lots of pictures and would be a walk through guide to all the major japanese castles;Edo, Osaka Fuikayama, Hemieji,Kumamoto,Shimabara,Matsumoto,Nagoya,Hiroshima,etc. thatway us armchair travelers could see them too.
  • annonymous    February 28, 2010 at 10:43 AM
    i havent been there yet so i dont know whats its like !!! bahahahahaha
  • melvyn    August 04, 2008 at 11:00 PM
    I went there during March this year. What an amazing place. :)
  • Tommy Jackson    June 18, 2008 at 11:59 AM
    i've been here years ago, back when i was around 14. my ancestor on my grandma's mom's side is Kato Kiyomasa , so i feel kinda connected to it. on my grandma's mom's side im realted to Kato Kiyomasa and on my grandma's father's side im related to Oda Nobunaga
  • dyl    May 31, 2008 at 06:11 AM
    i have been to the castle and it is terrific.
  • jaime    May 08, 2008 at 12:49 AM
    i love japan and i think this castle is a beauty of architecture. i did't know that mhyst
  • mhyst    April 12, 2008 at 02:38 AM
    This castle is cool. You could add that the famous samurai Miyamoto Musashi was hosted in this castle invited by Hosokawa Tadatoshi and lived there some time. I'm an assiduous reader of this website since I discovered some years ago. Thank you for your work
Average Rating
Sign in to add this castle to your castle visits or to rate it.
  • Global rating average: 4.6 out of 5
  • 4.6
  • 4.6
  • 4.6
  • 4.6
  • 4.6
  • 4.6
  • 4.6
  • 4.6
  • 4.6
  • 4.6

Kumamoto, Kumamoto Pref.
Kumamoto Castle views
Kumamoto-jo Donjon main keep
main keep main keep and connected tower
kotenshu Utoyagura
view from Utoyagura Utoyagura
Utoyagura Inui Yagura
stone walls stone walls
stone wall, yagura yagura, donjon
stone walls stone walls, yagura
stone walls, yagura stone walls, yagura
stone walls, yagura