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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:
    • 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. This 4-star hotel offers luggage storage space. 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. Guests at THE BLOSSOM KUMAMOTO can enjoy a buffet breakfast. Kumamoto Castle is 3.4 km from the accommodation, while Suizenji Park is 6 km away. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 17 km from THE BLOSSOM KUMAMOTO.
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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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    • 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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    • FAV HOTEL KUMAMOTO
      Luxury
      Located 1.9 km from Kumamoto Castle, FAV HOTEL KUMAMOTO offers 5-star accommodation in Kumamoto and features a bar. Featuring a terrace, the 5-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. FAV HOTEL KUMAMOTO offers a ? la carte or American breakfast. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Kumamoto Station, Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto and Kumamoto City Museum. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 16 km from FAV HOTEL KUMAMOTO.
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    • Place Hotel Ascot
      Mid-range
      Featuring 3-star accommodation, Place Hotel Ascot is set in Kumamoto, 1.4 km from Kumamoto Castle and 1.9 km from Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Suizenji Park is 3.3 km away and Egao Kenko Stadium Kumamoto is 12 km from the hotel. All guest rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, free toiletries and a desk. The hotel offers some units that feature a safety deposit box, and all rooms are fitted with a private bathroom with a shower and a hairdryer. At Place Hotel Ascot rooms have bed linen and towels. The daily breakfast offers buffet, American or Asian options. 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, 14 km from Place Hotel Ascot.
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    • Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kumamoto
      Luxury
      Featuring 4-star accommodation, Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kumamoto is set in Kumamoto, 1.1 km from Kumamoto Castle and 2.2 km from Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei. This 4-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, luggage storage space and free WiFi. Suizenji Park is 4 km away and Egao Kenko Stadium Kumamoto is 12 km from the hotel. The hotel will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms with a desk, a kettle, a fridge, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. At Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kumamoto all rooms are equipped with bed linen and towels. The daily breakfast offers buffet, American or Asian options. 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, 15 km from Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kumamoto.
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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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    • Candeo Hotels Kumamoto Shinshigai
      Luxury
      Featuring 4-star accommodation, Candeo Hotels Kumamoto Shinshigai is located in Kumamoto, 1.5 km from Kumamoto Castle and 2.6 km from Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei. This 4-star hotel provides a spa experience, with its sauna and hot tub. The property features a 24-hour front desk and free WiFi is available throughout the property. Guests at the hotel can enjoy a buffet breakfast. 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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    • KKR Hotel Kumamoto
      Mid-range
      KKR Hotel Kumamoto is situated in Kumamoto, within 4 km of Suizenji Park and 12 km of Egao Kenko Stadium Kumamoto. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Private parking is available on site. At the hotel, the rooms have a desk, a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, bed linen and towels. KKR Hotel Kumamoto features some units with city views, and each room comes with a kettle. All rooms at the accommodation have air conditioning and a wardrobe. The daily breakfast offers buffet, ? la carte or continental options. Popular points of interest near KKR Hotel Kumamoto include Kumamoto Castle, Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei and Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 15 km from the hotel.
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    • Kumamoto Hotel Castle
      Luxury
      Kumamoto Hotel Castle is a 7-minute walk from the famous Kumamoto Castle. It features 4 restaurants and modern guest rooms with free WiFi. The hotel is situated a 10-minute drive from JR Kumamoto Station. To reach the Suizenji Park, take a 15-minute tram ride from Toricho Suji Station or alternatively take a 10-minute taxi ride. Rooms come with a private bathroom, a refrigerator and free toiletries. Satellite channels can be enjoyed at an additional charge on the flat-screen TV. The restaurants at Hotel Castle Kumamoto specialises in international dishes such as Japanese, French and Chinese. Dinning Kitchen Kuyouan is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hotel offers various services including luggage storage, currency exchange, dry cleaning and fax/photocopying.
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