Built in 1607, Kumamoto Castle is considered one of the three most famous castles in Japan. Built to withstand a potential attack, the expansive castle grounds cover 98ha with a circumference of 5.3km. At the time of completion, the castle boasted 49 turrets of various sizes, 18 tower gates, and 29 other castle gates, and even today, 13 of the turrets remain, including the Uto
– Turret. In addition, the unique stone walls, known as musha-gaeshi, curve upward at a steep angle toward the stop, making it impossible for intruders to climb up them.
Many other minor details like this demonstrate how Kumamoto Castle was built for war. Several parts of the castle sustained severe damage during the earthquakes of 2016, and reconstruction work continues to this day. Reconstruction of the castle keep was completed in the spring of 2021, and you can access a multilingual app with audio guidance when viewing the revamped displays inside.
You can also enjoy a panoramic view of Kumamoto City from the top floor of the keep. Below the castle, you can stop by Kumamoto Castle Museum, which is home to a tourist information center and fascinating exhibits on local history and culture, and Sakuranobaba Josaien, a tourist facility with souvenir shops and restaurants.