Shimabara Castle in Shimabara city, Nagasaki, is a symbol of the city at the foot of Mt Unzen. The castle stands out against the beautiful Shimabara sky. Here we will introduce the history from the time it was built to its abandonment and restoration.
What kind of Castle is Shimabara Castle, Nagasaki
Shimabara Castle’s construction started in 1618 and was completed in 1620. There is a theory that says it took 4 years to complete while others say it took 7. It is a splendid castle with a 5 story castle tower with 3 Yagura turrets that are three stories high around it, 33 one-story towers for defense and 7 gates. However, the Meiji government ordered its deconstruction and only the stone walls and gates were left behind. The Shimabara Castle that stands now is the one that was restored in 1960. Now it is a famous place that has many visitors.
Things to see at Shimabara Castle, Nagasaki
The 5 Story Castle Tower and Yagura Tower at Shimabara Castle and its Restored Form
The western Yagura tower was restored in 1960 from pictures found in diaries and various Shimabara Domain records. After that, in 1964 the 5 story castle tower was restored, and in 1972 the southeast Yagura turret was restored. You can enjoy the picturesque view of Mt Unzen and the town from the top floor of the castle tower.
But at the same time, the view of the castle tower to the whole castle from the main gate ruins is highly recommended. The gentle outline of the moat wall and the Yagura turret that stands above it, and the appearance of the even grander castle tower reflected against the sky will show you a beautiful sight.
The Resources Hall in the Shimabara Castle Five-Story Castle Tower
The inside of the castle tower is a resources hall. On the first floor in the trade and religious corner with Christian historical materials, you can feel gorgeousness from the exhibits on the time when Japan was influenced by Christianity and Europe. In contrast, the prohibited religion period corner has displays of precious materials regarding hidden Christians who protected their faith even when oppressed. And then, in the Shimabara Rebellion corner, paintings of Amakusa Shiro, battle paintings, a golden cross and others exhibited are exhibited to convey the harshness and tragicness of the rebellion. The second floor has the corner of the local material has exhibited such as the sword that is said to be the castle’s guardian deity, armour, and helmets lined up. Finally, on the third floor, items used by commoners in their daily lives are exhibited.
Shimabara 7 Mangoku Bushoutai Event
At Shimabara Castle, on weekends and national holidays, there is an event where military commanders who belong to “Shimabara 7 Mangoku Bushoutai” perform. The performance of the military commanders with swords is worth seeing.
Access to Shimabara Castle
To access Shimabara Castle, take the Shimatetsu Bus from Nagasaki Airport and you will arrive at Shimahara Station in about 105 minutes. If you use the railway it takes 70 minutes from Isahaya station to Shimabara Tetsudo Station. From there it takes 5 minutes on foot.
- Spot name: Shimabara Castle
- Street Address: 1-1183-1, Shimabara City, Nagasaki. 855-0036
- Access: 105 minutes by bus, take the Shimatetsu bus from Nagasaki Airport, get off at "Shimabara Station", and from there it is 5 minutes on foot. 70 minutes by train from Shimabara Railway "Isahaya Station" to "Shimabara Station", and walk 5 minutes
- Opening hours: 9:00 - 17:30
- Entrance fee: Adult 540yen, primary, junior high, and high school students 270yen