No trip to Japan would be complete without a visit to at least one castle. They were all built well before modern technology which is an incredible feat considering the era when they were constructed.  Visiting a Castle also gives you an insight into the history of Japan when there were warring clans and factions all over the country. Imagine how spectacular these castles must have been in their day with their amazing architecture and walls along with the extensive moats and grounds.

In Kyushu Island, castles can be found in Kokura, Kurume, Karatsu, Kumamoto, Fukuoka City, Shimabara, Nakatsu, Kitsuki, and Hirado Island. In this newsletter we will introduce Shimabara Castle.

Shimabara Castle, known as Shimabarajo in Japanese, is a white-walled castle built during the early Edo Period. The castle was the extravagant centerpiece of the feudal domain and was far larger than those found in domains of similar status. The heavy taxation that was imposed upon the peasants to pay for its construction, together with the religious persecution of the local Christians, were major factors that led up to the Shimabara Rebellion of 1637-1638.

Shimabarajo was eventually destroyed during the Meiji Period (1868-1912). The current buildings are concrete reconstructions from 1964. The five-story keep houses the Castle Tower Museum with a collection of Christian artifacts excavated from the castle ruins, weapons, and armor.  An observation deck on the 5th floor has views out to Mount Unzen and across the water to Kumamoto on clear days.