Kumamoto Castle is a historical icon located in Kumamoto City, Japan. It is considered one of the three most significant castles in Japan, along with Himeji Castle and Matsumoto Castle. The castle was built in the early 1600s and has been restored several times due to natural disasters, such as the 2016 earthquake, and war damage. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of resilience for the people of Kumamoto.
In this blog post, I will tell you about my experience visiting it, and the update on the reconstruction.
The restoration work on the Kumamoto Castle is still ongoing after the 2016 earthquake that left significant damage to the main keep and the surrounding structures. As you walk along the elevated walkway, you’ll immediately notice the damages on the stone walls and roof tiles.
The castle’s keep, as mentioned above, which was a designated national treasure, also suffered damage to its stone walls and roof tiles. Fortunately, the restoration has been completed. The main keep is the only area that’s open to the public nowadays.
The Honmaru Goten Palace
Honmaru Goten Palace is a very popular area in Kumamoto Castle. It was constructed in 1610 and served as the living quarters of the feudal lord. The rooms are covered by intricate ornate paintings polished with gold.
I was looking forward to seeing it, but it’s a shame it was closed to the public. The staff whom we asked about it said that only the main keep was open to the public as of now.
The Main Keep, Kumamoto Castle
The main keep houses a museum. Kumamoto Castle Museum offers visitors a glimpse into the castle’s rich history and cultural significance, including exhibits on samurai culture, feudal Japan, and the castle’s role in shaping the region’s history.
Videos and photos aren’t allowed for mini theaters and other designated areas. I only got these for you.
There’s no English translation, so an English pamphlet comes in handy.
The Kumamoto Castle has an elevator. Anyone can use it, but as a good citizen, please give priority to those who need it the most.
Kumamoto Castle Grounds
The Kumamoto Castle grounds are quite spacious and offer a beautiful view of the castle. The castle is surrounded by a moat and is accessible through several gates. Inside the grounds are various gardens, ponds, and traditional buildings that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Japan. The castle grounds are also home to cherry blossom trees that bloom in spring, creating a scenic view.
Before going in through the main entrance, there’s a little shopping district with an array of restaurants and souvenir shops. It’s the Kumamoto Castle Town.
Admission tickets for high school students and older are 800円. For elementary and junior high school students, 300円.
If you come in groups, lesser than the basic prices.
Things to consider before going
If you’re visiting in summer, I don’t recommend it. The castle grounds are vast so you need to do a lot of walking and climbing. Mist towers are installed on the castle grounds as a countermeasure to the heat, so if you still visit despite the scorching heat, at least you can cool off a bit.
Just a heads up if you are expecting to see more interior stuff, the majority of the castle grounds including the castle and other important buildings are off-limits.
A good reminder though, despite the ongoing restoration that hinders us from enjoying its beauty, it’s still worth visiting.