Kumamoto-jo Castle

Beautiful Scenery History

Kumamoto-jo Castle, along with Himeji-jo Castle and Matsumoto-jo Castle, is considered one of the three principal castles in Japan. It has a history of several hundred years, and there are a number of places within the vast grounds that have been designated by the Kumamoto Prefecture as Important Cultural Properties. The castle grounds are split into ten different zones: Castle Tower Zone, Honmaru-goten Palace Zone, Heizaemon-maru Zone, Sukiyamaru Hall Zone, Iidamaru Zone, Higashi Takenomaru Zone, Takenomaru Zone, Nishidemaru/Bugyomaru Zone, Ninomaru Zone, and Sannomaru Zone. Each zone has its own buildings and features, including towers, “map” stones, flower gardens, a grassy park, and more.
Possibly the most popular area in the castle grounds, however, is the Castle Tower Zone. Many features here are unique even among Japanese castles, such as the inclusion of both a main tower (daitenshu) and a small castle tower (shotenshu), as well as an underground passage called Kuragari-Tsuro (literally “dark passage”), which is actually the official entrance to the castle and one of its defense features. The main castle tower was built as a fortress, so iron spikes and other traps meant to keep enemies at bay can still be found. In addition, it was used for weapons storage during the Edo period, and even today some rooms are still labeled for their original purposes. For anyone looking for a fantastic landscape, head to the stairs: the top of the castle offers a view of Kumamoto City and even as far as the Aso Mountain Range.
A number of structures in the castle grounds were damaged during the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, and reconstruction efforts are still underway. Even so, there are a wide variety of historical and cultural sites to visit, so anyone in the area should make sure to stop by.

1.5 Hours
Telephone Number
Postal code
1-1 Chuo-ku, Kumamoto City
Method of payment
Recommended season
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
Admisson Fee
JPY500 / Adult

Age 7-15: JPY 200

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