Kumamoto: A Town with a Castle and a Garden

I visited Kumamoto on April 4, 2006. It was one of the stops on my Kyushu trip. I arrived via the train from Fukuoka.

Some facts about the city courtesy of japan-guide.com and jnto.go.jp:

Kumamoto, situated roughly at the center of Kumamoto Prefecture, is the administrative and economic center of the prefecture. From the early 17th century to the end of the 19th century, it was prosperous as a castle town. Shira-kawa River and its branches run through the downtown area around the Kumamoto Castle. Therefore the city is called "City of Woods and Fresh Water".

Kumamoto is also a major city on Kyushu's west coast with a population of 650,000. The city is most famous for its castle, which is one of Japan's largest.

Kumamoto Castle:

Kumamoto Castle was constructed by the Kato Clan in 1607. Half a century later, it was handed over to the Hosokawa Clan, which ruled the surrounding fief from there for over 200 years until the end of the feudal age.

In 1877, Kumamoto Castle became the site of Japan's last civil war, when an army of former samurai under Saigo Takamori unsuccessfully rose against the new Meiji government. Large parts of the castle were destroyed in that civil war.

Most of the present castle buildings, including the large and small castle towers, are reconstructions, dating from the 1960s. The interior of the castle towers is a modern museum.

(from japan-guide.com)

Sakura in full bloom at the castle grounds:

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I visited Fukuoka, Japan on April 3, 2006:

Spring, in Japan the season of new beginnings, this is probably a new hire orientation.

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