Type: Hilltop Castle.
Built in: late 15th century.
Originally, it was built in late 15th century by Kikuchi clan. In 1588 after the conquest of Kyushu by Hideyoshi, Kato Kiyomasa was given this land of Higo and built current castle. Tenshu-kaku was built in 1600. In 1632, the son of Kiyomasa, Tadahiro was abandoned his land, Hosokawa Tadatoshi became the lord of Higo and castle lord. He fixed the castle and extended baileys, walls and moats. Current structures were constructed by him.
In 1877, Satsuma Rebellion happened. Because this castle was used as the army base of the Meiji Government, it was attacked by Satsuma army, but it defeated them and kept until the help army arrived. This is the last civil war in Japan, and the siege of Kumamoto castle is the last castle which is used in the battle.
Today, it is opens as the national historical park. It is chosen as 100 best castles and 100 best Sakura Spots.
... of Kumamoto Castle is 3 layers 6 stories and 1 basement building. On the side, there is small keep attached. It has "Shinobigaeshi (Ninja Block)." Ishigaki (Stone walls) of the base is very tall and angle is almost 90 degree at the top. This is the highest technology at that time.
5 stories Yagura
There were six of 3 layers 5 stories Yagura.
Uto Yagura Keep
... is the only original multi-layered keep remaining on Kumamoto Castle. Uto Yagura has three exterior layers and 5 stories and 1 basement. It is 19m tall which is almost as tall as Tenshu-kaku in other castle. This Yagura is mainly composed of pine wood. As many as 46,000 tiles in total are used on the roof. It is registered Important Cultural Property.
Nishitake Bailey 5 stories Yagura
It was very important for south defense line. It remained until Meiji restoration, and abandoned after Satsuma Rebellion.
Iida 5 stories Yagura
Ishigaki (stone walls) of this Yagura is designed two steps. So, it is very strong structure.
3 layers 3 stories Yagura
There were nine 3 layers 3 stories Yagura in Kumamoto Castle.
... is located western bailey.
the original building was destroyed by Kirino Toshiaki.
Gate and baileys
13 of ruins of gate and keeps of Kumamoto castle are original buildings and registered as important cultural property.
Nishi-Ote Yagura mon Gate
Amongst the three great gates installed in the west, south and north of the Nishidemaru ground (western bailey) of Kumamoto castle, Nishi Ote Yagura mon Gate, located in the west, was the most prestigious front gate.
Nagabei (long wall and moat)
... is 242m long which is the longest wall and moat in Japan.
... was designed by Kato Kiyomasa for his government office. It was reconstucted in 2007.
Sakura is very beautiful in this castle, and Ume, Japanese plum is very popular as well.
Official Web site: http://www.manyou-kumamoto.jp/castle/