Uto Turret Kumamoto Castle
Main Towers (tenshukaku) of Kumamoto Castle
Facts & Figures
Kumamoto Castle (Ginnan-jo) with its two main towers belongs to the top three premier castles in Japan, besides Matsumoto Castle and Himeji Castle. It is the main attraction of the city Kumamoto. The castle grounds measures are 1.6 km x 1.2 km. The larger main tower (donjon) has 6 stories and reaches a height of 30.29 meters. The impressive stone walls of the tower are 13.5 meter high. The smaller main tower has 4 stories and reaches a height of 19 meters. 13 buildings of the hilltop castle complex are designated by the Japanese Government as Important Cultural Properties.
Since 2004 I travel nearly every year to Japan. The rail pass made my life easier to discover all those amazing places in my favourite country.
Kumamoto Castle is also one of the top 100 cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan.
A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 in 2016 caused huge damage on the Kumamoto Castle. Finally in 2021 the main keeps (tenshukaku) of the castle were restored and are again accessible by the public. Unfortunately it will take roughly 20 years to bring back the castle grounds to its former glory. To give visitors a chance to see and follow the restoration of the inner castle grounds, an elevated walkway was built in 2020. In normal times two million visitors came here every year.
- Kumamoto Castle:
- Opening Hours - 8:30 am to 5:00 pm (last entry 4:30 pm) November till March
- Opening Hours - 8:30 am to 6:00 pm (last entry 5:30 pm) rest of the year
- Closed - December 29th till 31st
- Admission Fee - 500 yen (Adults), 200 yen (Elementary and Junior high school students)
Kumamoto Castle was built by daimyo Kato Kiyomasa (1561 - 1611) from 1601 till 1607. He extended massively the smaller castle (dating back to 1467) located at this site. The Hosokawa clan took over the castle in 1632. The clan stayed in power for the following 240 years until the Meiji period (1868 - 1912). During the Satsuma rebellion in 1877 the main tower and other buildings burned down completely. Many years of reconstruction were necessary to rebuilt the castle and to maintain its unique atmosphere. The main towers of the castle were reconstructed by using concrete in 1960. For the 400th anniversary in 2007 the castle received a major overhaul.
Kumamoto Castle is located in Chuo-ku (ward) in the city Kumamoto.
Address: 1-1 Honmaru, Chuo Ward, 860-0002 Kumamoto City
How to get to Kumamoto Castle?
- 15min from JR Kumamoto Station to Kumamotojo-mae St. by train (Shiden 2 Line) and
- 10min from Kumamotojo-mae Station to Kumamoto Castle
Kumamoto Castle Museum - The museum contains samurai armour, Japanese swords, palanquins and other artifacts from the Hosokawa and Kato clans.
Old Hosokawa Gyobu-tei House - The residence of Hosokawa Gyobu's family (samurai clan) gives you an insight view how upper warriors lived at that time.
Honmaru Goten Palace - The palace was created by Kato Kiyomasa for his government office and completely destroyed during the Seinan Civil War (1877). The building was reconstructed for the 400th anniversary of Kumamoto Castle. It opened its doors for the public in 2008.
Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)
Kumamoto Castle Marathon (around 19th)
Established in 2012 to celebrate the new status of an ordinance-designated city.
Kumamoto Spring Castle Festival (March 23rd - April 7th)
Enjoy the cherry blossom in full bloom around Kumamoto Castle and visit various events like the traditional Japanese dance performance called Yosakoi.
Kumamoto Castle Festival (mid October)
The highlight of the festival are the Taiko drumming performances. The show begins at sunset and you can enjoy different groups with powerful performances.
Where to stay near Kumamoto Castle?
My 100 Best Moments in Japan
I am visiting Japan nearly every year since 2004. This is my collection of the 100 best moments in my favourite country. Enjoy the pictures and I hope you will start your own journey soon.