In the heart of Kumamoto City in southern Japan lies a site with
a fascinating history, Kumamoto Castle.
Near the front gate are several shrines, with people praying
The scope and grandeur of the walls themselves still gives the
feeling of an impregnable fortress. In 1877, during the Meiji
Period, was the last civil war in Japan, which was dramatized
in the film The Last Samurai. Samurai rebels rose up
against the Emperor. Troops loyal to the Emperor held their ground
in Kumamoto Castle, and the rebel troops laid siege to the castle.
This might well have been history's last actual castle siege.
The government troops held out for several weeks, and the castle
was never taken. There are photos of the aftermath of the siege
inside the castle museum. The siege laid waste to huge portions
of the city.
The grounds are extensive, with about 9 km around the perimeter
of the walls.
Entrance to the main tower, which is now a museum.
Inside the central tower is a museum, with a lot of Edo Period
artifacts, like riding chairs, lunch boxes, cosmetic sets, and
such, as well as artifacts from the 1877 civil war, like photographs,
cannon balls, uniforms, and muskets. Some of it looks like army
surplus from Civil War. Not surprising considering how avidly
the Japanese adapt to some Western innovations.
A noble's palanquin.
There was even a ninja. He was showing off for the tourists.
He had a shuriken on a string that he threw at the people, then
reeled it back in. He posed well.
The Clueless Gaijin and one of the guards at the rear gate.