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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, and it was designed by Kato Kiyomasa, the local feudal lord (daimyo). Kato was well known for his castle design skills, and 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), 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. Within the building 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). 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
      Featuring a restaurant, fitness centre, bar and free WiFi, THE BLOSSOM KUMAMOTO is located in Kumamoto, 2.5 km from Kumamoto Castle and 2.5 km from Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei. The property is set 4.4 km from Suizenji Park, 2.3 km from Shimada Museum of Art and 2.4 km from Kumamoto City Museum. All units in the hotel are equipped with a kettle. Every room is fitted with air conditioning and a flat-screen TV, and certain units at THE BLOSSOM KUMAMOTO have a safety deposit box. All guest rooms will provide guests with a fridge. A buffet breakfast is available daily at the accommodation. THE BLOSSOM KUMAMOTO offers 4-star accommodation with a sauna. Languages spoken at the reception include English and Japanese. Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto is 2.7 km from the hotel, while Former Residence of Natsume Soseki is 3.2 km away. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 16 km from THE BLOSSOM KUMAMOTO.
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    • 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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    • 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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    • 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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    • FAV HOTEL KUMAMOTO
      Luxury
      Featuring a terrace, FAV HOTEL KUMAMOTO offers rooms in Kumamoto, 3.4 km from Suizenji Park and 1.3 km from Kumamoto City Museum. With a bar, the 4-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. At the hotel, each room is equipped with a desk, a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, bed linen and towels. At FAV HOTEL KUMAMOTO, the rooms come with a seating area. The accommodation offers a ? la carte or American breakfast. Popular points of interest near FAV 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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    • Place Hotel Ascot
      Mid-range
      Featuring 3-star accommodation, Place Hotel Ascot is set in Kumamoto, 2.7 km from Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei and 3.3 km from Suizenji Park. 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. Kumamoto City Museum is 2.1 km away and Shimada Museum of Art is 5 km from the hotel. All guest rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, slippers 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. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy a buffet breakfast. Popular points of interest near Place Hotel Ascot include Kumamoto Castle, Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto and Former Residence of Natsume Soseki. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 17 km from the hotel.
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    • tsukigakireidesune
      Budget-friendly
      Located a 15-minute walk from JR Kumamoto Station, tsukigakireidesune offers Japanese-style hostel accommodation with free WiFi. Bicycle rentals are available for a fee. Fitted with tatami (woven-straw) flooring and futon bedding, each room features air conditioning, a seating area and an electric kettle. Bathrooms and toilets are shared. tsukigakireidesune comes with a common living room and a terrace where guests can unwind and socialise with other guests. The shared kitchen has a microwave and an electric kettle. The property is 2.6 km from Kumamoto Castle, 2.8 km from Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei and 3.6 km from Suizenji Park. Kumamoto Airport is a 30-minute drive away.
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    • Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kumamoto
      Luxury
      Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kumamoto offers rooms in Kumamoto near Kumamoto City Museum and Former Residence of Natsume Soseki. Among the facilities at this property are a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Attractions in the area include Suizenji Park, 3 km away, or Shimada Museum of Art, set 2.1 km from the property. 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. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Kumamoto Castle, Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei and Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 14 km from Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kumamoto.
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    • Dormy Inn Kumamoto Natural Hot Spring
      Mid-range
      Dormy Inn Kumamoto Natural Hot Spring is centrally located in Kumamoto, in front of the Kumamoto Bus Terminal and 1.6 km from the JR Kumamoto Station. It offers sauna facilities, a public bath and rooms with free wired internet. Modern guest rooms offer both air conditioning and heating facilities. Each room is equipped with a fridge, a tea/coffee maker and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. The en suite bathroom comes with toiletries and a hairdryer. A coin laundrette is located on site and dry cleaning service is also available. Massage services can be arranged upon request. English speaking staff can assist guests at the front desk. Guests can enjoy a daily breakfast buffet at the hotelfs restaurant. Dormy Inn Kumamoto Natural Hot Spring is 800 metres from the Kumamoto Castle and 1 km from Sakuranobaba Johsaien. Departure times of the hotel's free shuttle to Kumamoto Station are given in Important Information below.
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