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Kumamoto Castle (F{, Kumamotojō) is one of the most impressive castles in Japan. With large castle grounds and a variety of buildings, Kumamoto Castle offers its visitors one of the most complete castle experiences in Japan.

Only a few structures have survived the centuries since the castle's construction in 1607 intact. The castle keep and most other buildings are modern reconstructions, but the reconstructions are mostly of a high quality and new buildings are continually being added. With about 800 cherry trees, the castle becomes a popular cherry blossom spot usually in late March and early April.

The construction of Kumamoto Castle in the early 1600s took seven years. It was designed by Kato Kiyomasa, the local feudal lord (daimyo), who was well known for his castle design skills. His fortifications were highly regarded for their strategic effectiveness. Less than 50 years after its construction, the castle and surrounding area were taken from the Kato clan and given to the Hosokawa clan which ruled the area from Kumamoto Castle for the next two centuries.

A few years after the Meiji Restoration (1868), the castle played a pivotal role in the Seinan Civil War, during which the famous samurai Saigo Takamori led an uprising in Kyushu against the new government. Kumamoto Castle was the main garrison of government troops in Kyushu, and Saigo attacked the castle in early 1877. Despite being outnumbered, the government forces were able to withstand Saigo's two-month siege, forcing the rebel forces to retreat.

Unfortunately, the original castle keep burnt down in 1877 just before the siege. In 1960 a ferro-concrete reconstruction was built that recreates the building's outward appearance. Inside the building, however, there is a modern museum with displays on the castle's history and construction rather than a reconstruction of the original interior. The castle keep consists of two towers, a main tower with six stories and a smaller tower with four stories. Nice views of the castle grounds and surrounding city can be enjoyed from the top floor of the main tower.

A unique attraction of Kumamoto Castle is the reconstructed Honmaru Goten Palace (currently closed due to the earthquake), which was created in celebration of the castle's 400th anniversary and was opened to the public in 2008. The original palace building was much larger and included the living quarters of the daimyo, but unfortunately it was one of the many buildings destroyed during the Seinan Civil War.

The current palace building was constructed with original materials and methods. Inside, visitors can see accurate recreations of the opulent surroundings in which the daimyo would receive guests. There are also interesting displays regarding the building's reconstruction.

Besides the castle keep and palace building, Kumamoto Castle features impressive stone walls and moats, as well as several turrets and storehouses, many of which can be entered (currently closed due to the earthquake). The Uto Turret is one of the few structures that survived the siege of 1877, and dates back to the period of the castle's construction. There is also a unique underground passage that leads to the palace building and a former residence of the Hosokawa clan about 500 meters northwest of the main castle grounds.

Getting there and around

Kumamoto Castle is located in the center of Kumamoto City, a 15 minute, 170 yen tram ride from JR Kumamoto Station. Get off at Kumamotojo-mae tram stop. You can also walk from Kumamoto Station to the castle in about 30 to 45 minutes.

How to get to and around Kumamoto

Hours and Fees

Castle Keep Interior

Hours

Closed

Admission

Hotels around Kumamoto

Top rated in Kumamoto
Budget:
    • Minshuku Hiroshimaya
      Budget-friendly
      Situated in Kumamoto, an 40-minute walk from Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei, Hiroshimaya provides air-conditioned accommodation with free WiFi. Located around 2.2 km from Kumamoto Castle, the guest house is also 5 km away from Suizenji Park. The property is 800 metres from Shimada Museum of Art. Guest rooms at the guest house are equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. The shared bathroom is fitted with a shower and free toiletries. Kumamoto City Museum is 1.5 km from Hiroshimaya, while Former Residence of Natsume Soseki is 2.3 km away. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 16 km from the property.
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    • THE BLOSSOM KUMAMOTO
      Luxury
      Located 3.2 km from Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei, THE BLOSSOM KUMAMOTO offers 4-star accommodation in Kumamoto and features a fitness centre, a restaurant and a bar. The property is around 3.4 km from Kumamoto Castle, 6 km from Suizenji Park and 14 km from Egao Kenko Stadium Kumamoto. The hotel has a sauna, a 24-hour front desk and free WiFi throughout the property. All guest rooms in the hotel are equipped with a kettle. All units will provide guests with air conditioning, a safety deposit box and a flat-screen TV. Hirayama Hot Spring is 35 km from THE BLOSSOM KUMAMOTO, while Kumamoto Station is 200 metres away. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 17 km from the accommodation.
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    • Dyeing and Hostel Nakashimaya - Female Only
      Budget-friendly
      Only a 2-minute walk from Senbabashi Train Station, Dyeing and Hostel Nakashimaya is a female only property that offers affordable accommodations with free Wi-Fi. Guests can enjoy views of Kumamoto Castle from the balcony and experience traditional tie-dyeing activities. JR Kumamoto Train Station is a 20-minute walk away. Guests can choose to stay in private Japanese-style rooms or in shared dormitory-style rooms. All rooms feature air conditioning, tatami (woven-straw) floors and Japanese futon bedding. Bathrooms and toilets are shared. Nakashimaya Dyeing and Hostel is a 15-minute walk from Kumamoto Castle and a 10-minute drive from Honmyo Temple. A coin-launderette is available. Guests can sit by the traditional Irori hearth and enjoy DVDs on the flat-screen TV at the shared lounge. A free-use internet PC is available and the free-use kitchen comes with a microwave and fridge. No meals are served.
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    • FAV HOTEL KUMAMOTO
      Luxury
      Located in Kumamoto, within 1.9 km of Kumamoto Castle and 2.2 km of Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei, FAV HOTEL KUMAMOTO provides accommodation with a bar. With a terrace, the 4-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. Private parking is available on site. Guest rooms are equipped with a fridge, microwave, a kettle, a bidet, free toiletries and a desk. At the hotel each room is equipped with bed linen and towels. Popular points of interest near FAV HOTEL KUMAMOTO include Kumamoto Station, Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto and Kumamoto City Museum. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 16 km from the accommodation.
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    • REF Kumamoto by VESSEL HOTELS
      Luxury
      Set in Kumamoto, within 1.2 km of Kumamoto Castle and 2.6 km of Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei, REF Kumamoto by VESSEL HOTELS offers accommodation with a spa and wellness centre and free WiFi throughout the property. Featuring a 24-hour front desk, this property also provides guests with a restaurant. Attractions in the area include Suizenji Park, 4.2 km away, or Shimada Museum of Art, located 2.9 km from the property. A continental breakfast is available every morning at the hotel. REF Kumamoto by VESSEL HOTELS offers a sauna. Children's amenities are available at the front desk free of charge. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto, Former Residence of Natsume Soseki and Kumamoto City Museum. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 18 km from REF Kumamoto by VESSEL HOTELS.
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    • Sotetsu Grand Fresa Kumamoto
      Mid-range
      Sotetsu Grand Fresa Kumamoto is located in Kumamoto, 3.2 km from Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei and 3.8 km from Suizenji Park. With a restaurant, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. The property is non-smoking and is situated 1.5 km from Kumamoto Castle. All rooms in the hotel are fitted with a flat-screen TV. At Sotetsu Grand Fresa Kumamoto the rooms come with bed linen and towels. Speaking English and Japanese at the 24-hour front desk, staff are ready to help around the clock. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto, Minami Kumamoto Station and Kumamoto City Museum. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 15 km from Sotetsu Grand Fresa Kumamoto.
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    • Candeo Hotels Kumamoto Shinshigai
      Luxury
      Located in Kumamoto, within 1.5 km of Kumamoto Castle and 2.6 km of Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei, Candeo Hotels Kumamoto Shinshigai features free WiFi throughout the property. This 4-star hotel provides a spa experience, with its sauna and hot tub. Suizenji Park is 4.1 km away and Egao Kenko Stadium Kumamoto is 12 km from the hotel. A buffet breakfast is available daily at the hotel. Languages spoken at the reception include English, Japanese and Korean, and guests are invited to request guidance on the area when needed. Popular points of interest near Candeo Hotels Kumamoto Shinshigai include Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto, Former Residence of Natsume Soseki and Kumamoto City Museum. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 15 km from the accommodation.
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    • KOKO HOTEL Premier Kumamoto
      Luxury
      KOKO HOTEL Premier Kumamoto is located in Kumamoto, 4.4 km from Suizenji Park and 13 km from Egao Kenko Stadium Kumamoto. The 4-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is set 1.3 km from Kumamoto Castle. At the hotel, all rooms include a desk. All guest rooms in KOKO HOTEL Premier Kumamoto are fitted with a flat-screen TV and free toiletries. A buffet breakfast is available every morning at the accommodation. Languages spoken at the reception include English and Japanese. Popular points of interest near KOKO HOTEL Premier Kumamoto include Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei, Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto and Kumamoto City Museum. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 15 km from the hotel.
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    • Hotel Nikko Kumamoto
      Luxury
      Located in the heart of the city, Hotel Nikko Kumamoto features accommodations with free wired internet access and views of Kumamoto Castle. Torichosuji Train Station is a 1-minute walk, and the JR Kumamoto Train Station is a 10-minute drive away. Guests can choose among 5 dining options and relaxing massages can be requested as well. The air-conditioned rooms feature carpeted floors and a flat-screen TV. An electric kettle and nightwear are provided for guests. The en suite bathroom comes with slippers and a hairdryer. Laundry and photocopying services are available at the 24-hour front desk. Room service and newspapers are also provided. Les Celebrites serves French dishes, and Tao-Li offers Cantonese specialities. Benkei serves Japanese cuisines with nice views and drinks are available at Fountain bar lounge. Breakfast is served at AsoShed. Kumamoto Hotel Nikko is a 10-minute walk from Kumamoto Castle, and the Contemporary Art Museum is only a 1-minute walk away.
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    • &and COMFY HOTEL Kumamoto Jo View
      Mid-range
      &and COMFY HOTEL Kumamoto Jo View is situated in Kumamoto, 3.7 km from Suizenji Park and 12 km from Egao Kenko Stadium Kumamoto. This 3-star hotel features free WiFi and a restaurant. Hirayama Hot Spring is 33 km away and Former Residence of Natsume Soseki is 800 metres from the hotel. The reception at the hotel can provide tips on the area. Popular points of interest near &and COMFY HOTEL Kumamoto Jo View include Kumamoto Castle, Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei and Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 15 km from the accommodation.
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