community-forum community-penpal community-userReports destinations-admission destinations-beenThere-outline destinations-beenThere-solid destinations-city_outline destinations-city_solid destinations-closedDays destinations-date destinations-getThere destinations-hotels destinations-hoursFees destinations-itineraries-3 destinations-links destinations-nearbySpots destinations-pin-simple-outline destinations-pin-simple destinations-sortBy-dots destinations-thumbsUp destinations-tours destinations-town destinations-wishlist-heart-outline destinations-wishlist-heart-solid interests-agriculture interests-amusementParks interests-beaches interests-castles interests-city_solid interests-contemporaryArt interests-events interests-festivals interests-flowers interests-foodDrink interests-gardens interests-hiking interests-historicSites interests-industry interests-koyo-single interests-koyo interests-mangaAnime interests-museums interests-nature interests-onsen interests-parks interests-pottery interests-sakura-single interests-sakura interests-scenicRides interests-shopping interests-shrines interests-skiing interests-snow interests-sumo interests-temples interests-traditionalArts interests-traditionalTheater interests-viewpoints interests-volcanoes interests-wildlife interests-winterIlluminations news-section planning-section planning-tickets-2 planning-transportation-access planning-transportation-bicycle planning-transportation-boat-2 planning-transportation-boat planning-transportation-bus planning-transportation-car planning-transportation-plane planning-transportation-shinkansen planning-transportation-tickets planning-transportation-train planning-transportation-walk shapes-chevron-down shapes-circle shapes-star social-fb social-gplus social-instagram social-twitter social-youtube ui-alert-construction ui-alert-warning ui-calendar ui-date ui-globe ui-lightbulb ui-no_entry ui-ok ui-pencil ui-reverse ui-search ui-time ui-video-play ui-x user-avatar
Shimabara Castle

Shimabara Castle (島原城, Shimabarajō), is a white walled castle built during the early Edo Period as the seat of the local feudal lord. The castle was the extravagant centerpiece of the feudal domain and was far larger than those found in domains of similar status. The heavy taxation that was imposed to pay for its construction, together with the religious persecution of local Christians, were major factors that led up to the Shimabara Rebellion (1637-1638), a significant peasant uprising.

Shimabarajo was eventually destroyed during the Meiji Period (1868-1912). The current buildings are concrete reconstructions from 1964. The five-story keep houses the Castle Tower Museum with a collection of Christian artifacts excavated from the castle ruins, weapons and armor. An observation deck on the 5th floor has views out to Mount Unzen and across the water to Kumamoto on clear days.

Seibo Memorial Hall

One of the turrets (yagura) behind the keep houses the Seibo Memorial Hall, an art museum that displays the work of famed sculptor Kitamura Seibo, the artist who made the Nagasaki Peace Park statue. The museum has a collection of his works including sketches, statues and conceptual models of the Nagasaki Peace Park statue. Several more of his statues can be seen in front of the museum.

Additional small museums around the castle grounds include a Folk Museum with items from daily life from the 20th century, the Sightseeing Revival Hall with a small exhibition on the 1990-1995 eruption of Mount Unzen, and the west turret with a dusty display of kokeshi dolls and tenugui (traditional hand towels) with prints of famous Japanese castles.

Teppo-machi Samurai District

The castle used to be surrounded by the residential districts of the samurai serving the local lord. One of these samurai districts, called Teppo-machi (Gun Town) after the gunmen foot soldiers who resided there, has been preserved with three restored samurai houses that are open to the public. The district lies along a small, atmospheric canal street about a five minute walk from the castle.

The City of Swimming Carp, a quiet neighborhood lined by narrow canals filled with hundreds of brightly colored carp (koi), lies south of the castle. The waterways are fed with filtered spring water that passes through Mount Unzen's volcanic layers before bubbling up around the neighborhood. Along the streets are two preserved, traditional style houses that are open to visitors. One of these, the Shimeiso House, has a beautiful garden and spring-fed pond.

Shimeiso House

Access

The castle is a ten minute walk from Shimabara Station. The samurai district and City of Swimming Carp are respectively a five and ten minute walk from the castle grounds in opposite directions.

How to get to and around the Shimabara Peninsula

Hours & Fees

Shimabara Castle

Hours

9:00 to 17:30

Closed

December 29 to 30

Admission

540 yen

English

Moderate (castle tower), minimal (Seibo Memorial Hall)

Samurai Houses

Hours

9:00 to 17:00

Closed

No closing days

Admission

Free

English

Good

Houses in the City of Swimming Carp

Hours

9:00 to 17:00

Closed

No closing days

Admission

Free

English

None
Page last updated: June 24, 2015