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Shimabara Castle was constructed over the course of seven years and finished in 1624 by Matsukura Shigemasa who was praised as a master castle builder. At the time of its construction in the early Edo period, heavy taxes were imposed and are said to be the cause behind one of the largest uprisings in Japanese history, the “Shimabara Rebellion.” The castle was dismantled during the Meiji period, but was rebuilt in 1964. It is counted as one of the top 100 castles in Japan, so get up close to witness the massive power of Shimabara Castle.
- 1-1183-1 Jonai, Shimabara-shi, Nagasaki
- Contact No.
- 10-minute walk from Shimabara Station on the Shimabara Railway
- Opening Hours / Holidays
Open all year round
- Official Website
- Time Required
- 60 minutes
- Admission fee
- Entrance Fee: 540 yen (Christian Museum, Tourism Museum, and Seibo Memorial Hall)
- Best time to see
- Lotus flowers bloom from late July to early August
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
Reconstructed Castle Tower
The reconstructed white, five-tiered main castle tower is a beautiful sight to behold. From the castle, you can get great views of the Ariake Sea and Kumamoto on the other side, as well as the nearby volcano of Unzen-dake. Inside of the castle tower is a history museum with documents and items concerning the “Shimabara Rebellion” to help you learn more about this intriguing spot.
Rare Lotus Flowers that Bloom in the Moat
In summer, beautiful lotus flowers bloom in Shimabara Castle’s surrounding moat. From the deep green leaves come the beautiful faces of a rare breed of lotus, “suihiren,” nelumbo nucifera. These lotuses were originally planted for food during the Meiji period. Please get up close for a view of these lovely flowers.
Turn into a Ninja or Samurai for Free!
Ninja and samurai costumes are available at Shimabara Castle so that anyone can enjoy casually slipping into a different world. Try on some of the various costumes and take a picture creating an unforgettable memory on your trip. All of this is for free, so please go ahead and give it a try.
View from the Top of the Castle
From the observation deck on the 5F of the castle tower, you can get great views of the Ariake Sea and the massive volcano of Unzen-dake.
In various restaurants that focus on different characteristics which all go by the common term of “Sasebo Burger,” you can get delicious burgers made by hand fresh after you order. Some of these restaurants can be found around Shimabara Castle. If you find yourself getting hungry in the castle, by all means go get yourself a burger!
Bukeyashiki Samurai Residences
The “bukeyashiki” (name for a district of former residences of samurai as well as individual samurai residences) were built along with Shimabara Castle as residences for the local samurai. Nowadays, in the bukeyashiki, three of the samurai residences are preserved as they were in olden times and a charming clear water drain runs through the center of the main street. By walking down these streets, you’ll feel like you’ve been sent right back to the ancient Edo period.