Hirado Castle

From Jcastle.info



The first castle was built in 1599 by Matsuura Shigenobu. The Matsuura clan burned down the castle in 1613 to show their loyalty to the Tokugawa shogunate. Construction on the present day castle was begun in 1704 and completed in 1718. The castle was designed by military strategist Yamaga Soko making use of the natural features of the land to increase the defensive ability of the castle. The Matsuura continued to rule from Hirado until the Meiji Restoration. The main keep and four yagura were reconstructed in 1962.

Visit Notes

A great castle and town to visit, but not very convenient without private transportation.

  • Reconstructed Main Keep
  • Honmaru Gate
  • Main keep
  • North Gate
  • Kitakoguchi Mon and Jizozaka Yagura
  • Tanuki Yagura
  • Kenso Yagura and the straits from the keep.
  • View of Kaiju Yagura
  • Kenso Yagura, Kaiju Yagura and the sumo grounds.
  • View of the Inui Yagura from the road.
  • Hirado Bay
  • Map

Castle Profile
English Name Hirado Castle
Japanese Name 平戸城
Alternate Names Kameoka-jo
Founder Matsuura Shigenobu
Year Founded 1599
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Reconstructed main keep
Designations Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Year Reconstructed 1962 (concrete)
Features main keep, gates, turrets, stone walls, castle town
Visitor Information
Access Tabira Hiradoguchi Sta (Matsuura Rail), bus
Visitor Information open 8:30 to 17:30; 500 yen; closed Dec. 30-31.
Time Required
Website http://www.city.hirado.nagasaki.jp/english/sights/traditionaldetails.htm
Location Hirado, Nagasaki Prefecture
Coordinates 33° 22' 6.89" N, 129° 33' 27.25" E
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Added to Jcastle 2011
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

(7 votes)
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69 months ago
Score 0++

To be honest, as a castle site this was a bit underwhelming to me, but it's interesting enough if you combine it with the other sights in towns.

There are two original buildings at this castle site, a gate and a yagura. They did a decent job rebuilding many of the other buildings, though these are best appreciated from afar, I think. There are many great views of the castle, from the town but also from the bridge connecting Hirado and Kyūshū. The exhibitions in the main keep are surprisingly good. They relate not only to the castle's history but also to the Dutch and Christianity. From the main keep you can get good views of the harbour, the sea and nearby islands.

The Dutch Trading Post and the Matsura Historical Museum are the better sights in town. The Dutch Trading Post, together with Dejima in Nagasaki City, is probably the best place to learn about the history of the Dutch in Japan. The Matsura Historical Museum is a topnotch museum exhibiting many very high quality pieces like scrolls, folding screens, lacquerware, etc. There are quite a few exhibits here relating to castles: a few maps of Hirado Castle and surroundings; a gold leaf roof tile of Fushimi Castle; a painting on the inside of a shell depicting a castle; and (a personal favourite here) a beautiful scroll depicting the road from Hirado to Edo, following the Saigoku Kaidō and Tōkaidō. If you can read Japanese it can be great fun to 'follow' the road and see which of the castles/places along the way you have visited.


137 months ago
Score 0++
Nice castle to visit. They at least tried to put some colors resembling wood. You are able to take photos of everything. After the castle i visited some other places of interest in the city. One for samurai-history-fans is surely the Matsura historical museum. From there you can take a picture of almost all towers of the castle afar. Inside you may take pictures without flash. The artifacts are really wonderfull. They have a byoubu(=folding screen) of the battle of Nagashino, and some other battles. I first had planned to take the train from Sasebo-station, but i decided to use the bus. You have to take it at busstop 2 in front of the east-exit of Sasebo-station. You can take it to the busterminal at Hirado, but i went off at the Saiwai-bridge.(the fee is the same : 1300yen) from there it is easy to walk to the castle or anywhere in the city. The time with the bus is +/-1h30min. This is the same time from Sasebo-station to Tabirahirdoguchi-station. The fee for the train is 1190yen, but you still have to take a bus or walk to Hirado(=+/-4.5km) The way back is very easy, the end-stop of the bus is at the Sasebo-station.