Kumamoto Castle

From Jcastle.info
Castle Properties
English Name Kumamoto Castle
Japanese Name 熊本城
Alternate Names Ginnan-jo
Founder Kato Kiyomasa
Year Founded 1607
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Reconstructed main keep
Designations Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, Special Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Main Keep Structure 3 levels, 6 floors, 1 floor below ground
Year Reconstructed 1960
Artifacts 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
Features main keep, gates, turrets, palace, trenches, stone walls, walls
Visitor Information
Access Kumamoto Sta. (Kagoshima Line), city bus
Visitor Information
Time Required
Website http://www.manyou-kumamoto.jp/contents.cfm?id=251
Location Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefecture
Coordinates 32° 48' 22", 130° 42' 21"
Admin Visits
Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Visits
Added 2005
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Kumamoto1.jpg


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

Visit 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.



Gallery



4.68
(28 votes)
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RonSAshigaru

13 months ago
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I got my calendar recently and it's a beauty! Not all of the months have before/after pics, but you get a large and small pic for each month (It's not stingy like many other J-calendars which share one picture for 2 months) and the photography is beautiful, showing some structures and angles not often seen.I recommend it VERY highly. Anyway Eric, you are still young and sure to be around when Kumamoto Castle is fully restored and better than before.
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JcastleHatamoto

13 months ago
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Ron, Thanks for the info! I think if I had to look at a calendar every day though I might get depressed (since I've never been there!). I would be interested in a detailed book of before/after photos however.
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RonSAshigaru

13 months ago
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Hey guys/gals! Have you got your calendar for 2017 yet? If not, or if you'd like another, how about this Kumamoto Castle \then and now"commemorative wall calendar. Each month features a part of the castle before and after the earthquake. For every calendar purchased the publisher will donate ¥200 to the reconstruction fund. I kind of wish that are a little more but hey! It's better than nothing! https://www....0282_TE_item"
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RonSAshigaru

13 months ago
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One of the most incredible things I've EVER seen in my life was the ability of eight corner stones to hold up the Gokai Yagura despite continuing aftershocks. It is a tribute to the quality of the wall's construction and the durability of traditional wooden buildings (they can twist and flex to an amazing degree). Almost as incredible is the arm and brace that was constructed and slid into place to relieve those weary stones of their brave task. Otusakesama deshita miracle stones! Check out this article in English: http://www.s...ion-efforts/ You can see a time lapse video of the process on the Kumamoto Castle Facebook page: https://www....amotoCastle/
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SnoworionGunshi

14 months ago
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Visited on 15 December 2014 and again on 21 December 2014. Excellent castle with imposing castle grounds. This has to rank among the best castles I have visited and will visit again.
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RonSAshigaru

18 months ago
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Thaks Yosh! You saved me some translation work.
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Anonymous user #1

18 months ago
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Hey, guys! Go to the site below if you want to make a donation for the castle. It's in the Kumamoto city website.

http://www.c...donation.htm
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RonSAshigaru

18 months ago
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Hey folks! Let's put our money where our hearts are! Below is a link from the official Kumamoto Castle web site to donate money for the castle's restoration. It's all in Japanese. As soon as I can I'll translate the important bits.

http://www.m....cfm?id=1158
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ARTHatamoto

19 months ago
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It's sad but the description above is no longer accurate. In the 震度7 which hit the kumamoto area, both juuhachiken yagura collapsed along with their stone foundations and are no more.
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DiegoDeManilaAshigaru

19 months ago
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Visited 2013 and 2015. On my earlier visit (https://with...-april-2013/), I went almost straight through to the honmaru to gawk at the absolutely magnificent reconstructed palace. On my more recent trip (https://with...-march-2015/), I detoured east to admire some of the surviving yagura in that part of the castle. The Bagu Turret guarding the Hazekata Gate - through which I entered the castle on both trips - was under wraps for reconstruction in 2013, and was fully unveiled by 2015; a nice little bonus that enhanced my second time there.
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Anonymous user #1

37 months ago
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If you have a rail pass then this castle is easy to do in a day trip from Osaka. The Sakura shinkansen leaves there at around 6:30 pulling into Kumamoto at 10am. Then you have the day before leaving Kumamoto anytime until about 5-7pm.

Naturally the castle deserves more. An overnight will get you some wonderful night views of the castle, lit up. And then early morning sees the walls and turrets in that golden hour of sunshine.

There is a fantastic dance festival held all over the town in late March, with two stages at the castle. 60 odd dance groups, putting on 10-20 minutes of dancing shows that go on for two days. Some of the dances feature period costumes. The castle is great as a backdrop, but the dancing is amazing too. During that time the castle stays open to 8pm, not sure if that is normal, and there is no problem about free re entry once you got your day ticket, so worth checking out.
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RaymondWHatamoto

39 months ago
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I went to this castle again during the Obon Holiday in mid-August. Since my last visit in February 2012, they have almost finished rebuilding the Bagu Yagura down by the river. It will be open to the public in October. This castle is so big that this time round I managed to visit a part that I had missed on my previous visits in 2008 and 2012.
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Anonymous user #1

42 months ago
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Whatch this video about Kumamoto castle!! It's fantastic!

http://youtu.be/RVnPftWc7gQ
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Kiddus i2003Ashigaru

44 months ago
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Impressive is the only word to describe it. Imagine if all of the original buildings existed today, what a sight.
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RaymondWHatamoto

55 months ago
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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.
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FurinkazanHatamoto

55 months ago
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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.
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Anonymous user #1

56 months ago
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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.
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RaymondWHatamoto

69 months ago
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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.
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BryanbaierPeasant

70 months ago
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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!
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Anonymous user #1

74 months ago
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wow
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Frank T.Gunshi

75 months ago
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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.
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RebolforcesAshigaru

79 months ago
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Saw it light up at night and also got pics during the day. The palace reconstruction is amazing. Lacquered room with gold.
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Anonymous user #1

80 months ago
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i just love the archetecture on the japanese castle-the exteriors are elegant as well as functional, in stark contrast to the european castles
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Anonymous user #1

93 months ago
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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.
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Anonymous user #1

94 months ago
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i havent been there yet so i dont know whats its like !!! bahahahahaha
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Anonymous user #1

113 months ago
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I went there during March this year. What an amazing place. :)
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Anonymous user #1

114 months ago
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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
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Anonymous user #1

115 months ago
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i have been to the castle and it is terrific.
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Anonymous user #1

116 months ago
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i love japan and i think this castle is a beauty of architecture. i did't know that mhyst
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Anonymous user #1

117 months ago
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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