Kumamoto Castle, with its large and small towers standing side by side. The castle was built in 1607 by Kato Kiyomasa, the first lord of the Kumamoto Domain in Higo Province, who was called a "master builder of castles," and it took him seven years to complete the construction. The castle towers were destroyed by fire just before the Seinan War in 1877, but were rebuilt in 1960 using reinforced steel-framed concrete construction. The exterior of the building has been accurately restored right down to the number of roof tiles. Despite being severely damaged by the Kumamoto earthquake in 2016, restoration work was carried out as a symbol of recovery, and the castle towers were fully restored as of March 2021. The castle remains a popular sightseeing destination even today.
Kumamoto Castle is known for its stone walls, called Musha-gaeshi. It is so called because it is gentle at the bottom and the higher it goes, the more it curves, making it impossible for warriors and even ninjas to climb it. One of the highlights of the castle is the Uto Yagura, the only structure that has retained its original appearance from the time it was built. It is a multiple turret with three stories, five floors, and one basement level, and is sometimes called the "third castle tower" because of its structure and size, which is comparable to those of the castle tower.
The Castle Festival is held in spring and fall. In spring, the about 800 cherry trees in Kumamoto Castle Park are in full bloom, attracting many people to enjoy the blossoms. The large ginkgo tree that gives Kumamoto Castle its name, Ginkgo Castle, has a strong presence in the plaza in front of the castle tower. The trees planted when the castle was built were destroyed by fire during the Meiji Era, but new shoots grew from them and have grown to the present day. In late fall, you can see the large trees glowing with golden colors.