Hirado Castle is in Hirado that was prosperous with trade from places like Portugal, The Netherlands and China up until the national isolation. In 2006, it was selected as one of the 100 fine castles of Japan. Here we will clearly introduce the appeal of this castle.
Surrounded by the ocean on 3 sides, Hirado Castle
Hirado Castle is surrounded by the ocean on three sides. Since it was built in the Edo period, they were unable to construct a castle keep with the characteristics of previous castles and so the three-story Inui Yagura served as the tower. However, that castle, like other castles in Japan, was deconstructed by orders of the Meiji Government in 1871 and only the Tanuki Yagura, Kitakoguchi gate remained. The castle keep and Yagura that stands now are ones that were built in 1962.
Things to see at Hirado Castle, Nagasaki
The Hirado Castle, the castle tower of Nagasaki
Hirado Castle had no castle keep tower from the day it was built to the day it was deconstructed. However, in 1962, when they rebuilt the castle, they made a castle keep when they were rebuilding the Yagura. As a result, Hirado Castle became the castle with an imitation castle keep. One point of this castle keep is that you can see the beautiful view of the town and the ocean stretching from Hirado port. The valuable historical items displayed in the castle keep, such as one of Japan’s Important Cultural Property, the Kameoka Shrine’s Sword is worth seeing. It is a place that will tickle the curiosity of people who are interested in Japan’s history and Bushou.
Kameoka Park, the park surrounding Hirado Castle, Nagasaki
Formerly the center of Hirado Castle is now the place where Kameoka Shrine stands and the area around it is Kameoka Park. The bridge that connects the castle town to the West side of the park is Saiwai Bridge, which has been designated an Important Cultural Property. In addition, you can take a stroll while looking at important historical landmarks such as, a 400-year-old yew plum pine trees lining the road designated as a Nagasaki natural commemoration monument, and Konponsui, the water well designated as a famous fountain that stands in front of Kamioka Main Shrine.
The Legend of Tanuki Watchtower, Hirado Castle, Nagasaki
Tanuki Yagura is the only Yagura from the Edo period that still stands. It`s an official name is Tamongura, but as it has many legends relating to Tanuki surrounding it, it started to be known as Tanuki Yagura. In the legend, it is said that a Tanuki was spotted under the floor during repairs, and it appeared in the Daimyō‘s bedroom disguised as a human. The Tanuki requested to be allowed to live in the Yagura and in exchange, it would protect the castle forever. The Daimyō granted the request, and so that promise is being kept even now. It is fun to imagine the story of the Tanuki while standing in front of the legendary Yagura.
Access to Hirado Castle
To access Hirado Castle, it takes about 10 minutes Saihi Bus from Hiradoguchi Station front bus stop bound for Hirado Pier bus stop, get off the bus at Yukokan bus stop or City Hall front bus stop and walk for 10 minutes to the castle. Alternatively, it takes 10 minutes by car from Hiradoguchi Station.
- Spot name: Hirado Castle
- Street Address: 1458 Iwanouechō, Hirado-shi, Nagasaki 859-5121
- Access: About 10 minutes Saihi Bus from Matsuura Tetsudo Nishikyushu Line Tabira Hiradoguchi Station front bus stop bound for Hirado Pier bus stop, get off the bus at Yukokan bus stop or City Hall front bus stop and walk for 8-10 minutes to the castle
- Opening times: 8:30 - 17:30
- Admission fee: 510yen for adults, 300yen for high school students, and 200yen for primary and junior high school students.
*From January 2019, parts of the Yagura will be closed for large scale repairs. From October 2019-March 2021, the castle keeps and others will be closed for repairs.