Friday, May 17, 2013

Kumamoto Castle

The packed tram ride from Suizenji Park to Kumamoto Castle took ~15 min. Visiting Kuamamoto Castle has been a bit of a dream since I was a child since I've wanted to visit that cool black castle. Unfortunately, when we visited in the fall, it rained through the day and evening.

Palace and courtyard

Windows along the base and a little higher were used to scope out the area for enemies.

Stone base with castle

As majestic as these castles appear on the outside, they are quite functional. Stone stairs near the entrance were purposely built craggy and the steps long in stride to slow invaders. Curved base walls made of stone were difficult to scale.

Kumamotojo Aerial
Aerial diorama of old Kumamoto

Two buildings within the keep are museums with castle and overhead models, and artifacts like helmets and early arquebuses, to building equipment, post and beam fittings, and screens. Both models below were quite sizable.

Kumamotojo Model
Models of the keep

The original castle was built in the 15th century. Through the years, the keep was expanded, rebuilt when certain areas were burnt from a rebellion in the 19th century, and reconstructed.

The tools that are on display weren't used for torture, but for building the castle. It's interesting to see how little certain tools have changed over time.

Kumamotojo Tools
Tools used to build the castle

A stairwell circles the center of the castle, becoming narrower with each higher level. At the top is a panoramic view through large wood frames. I wanted to stand there for much longer to drink in the beautiful mountains with treetops starting to turn. The view from the other side is of the sprawling city.

Kumamotojo View Top
View from the top

A few of the rooms were refurbished, providing us a glimpse of what parts of the castle must have looked like when it was inhabited. Below are pictures of the main reception area.

Kumamotojo Doors
Gold doors of the main reception

I haven't done the screens and ceiling of the main receiving room justice.

Kumamotojo Gold
Kumamoto Gold

Kumamotojo Rooms
Main reception room

From exquisite gold and colorful depictions of nature to clean symmetry in wood and paper, my favorite is somewhere in between. Several wooden doors were on display. This set with pheasants was my favorite.

Kumamotojo Door
Refurbished wood doors

We didn't have days to tour Kumamoto castle, so I quickly toured everything so I wouldn't regret missing anything. By the time we left, part of the grounds were closed and marched through the drizzle through a different gate forcing us to see a different angle of the castle from the outside, for which I am glad.

Time for dinner! Kumamoto is famous for basashi (horse meat sashimi), so I was going to be in for a treat!

- Cassaendra

Kumamoto Castle

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