Kumamoto: Castle Town Loves Its Past with Eye on the Future *RERUN
Kumamoto Castle was built by the feudal lord Kato Kiyomasa. The construction began in the late 16th century and was completed in the 17th century. Designated as a National Special Historic Site, it is also known as Ginnan Castle (ginkgo castle) because of a great ginkgo tree near the main tower. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, James Lambiasi explores the legacy of the sprawling castle, meeting local people and learning about the reconstruction efforts after the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake.

Kumamoto Castle

Designed by Kato Kiyomasa, Kumamoto Castle took about seven years to build. The castle is currently under repair, but the main tower has reopened to the public.

The Hanaguri-Ide

The Hanaguri-Ide is an irrigation canal built by Kato Kiyomasa. Its ingenious structure washes down sediment and volcanic ash from the waterway bottom.

Suizenji Jojuen Garden

Suizenji Jojuen Garden, with about 73,000 square meters, was designed as a stroll garden in the Azuchi-Momoyama period. Its pond is fed by spring water from Mount Aso.


To reach Kumamoto Prefecture from Tokyo, it takes about one hour and fifty minutes by air from Haneda Airport.