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Kyushu | Nagasaki | Shimabara Peninsula

Shimabara Castle

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Shimabara Castle

Shimabara Castle was built in 1624 during the Edo period as center of power for the local feudal lord located in current day Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. This white castle stands 33 meters high and was extravagantly built which was abnormal for a lord of very little annual revenue compared to those of similar status in other domains. Matsukura Shigemasa increased taxation within the domain in order to raise funds for Shimabara Castle, which was a main factor contributing towards the famous Shimabara Rebellion in 1637, along with mass killings of Christians due to strict prohibition against Christianity. The current castle travelers can visit was reconstructed with concrete in 1964 for the original castle was destroyed during the Meiji period. Christian artifacts excavated from the original castle ruins along with weapons and armor is kept on display in the current castle. The observation area on the 5th floor offers a view of Mount Unzen and the Ariake Sea. Many small museums surround the castle grounds for visitors to explore. Visitors can also travel to the nearby Teppo- machi, which is a restored area of the once residential location for the samurai warriors serving the local lord. The surrounding atmosphere offers visitors a look into the past, a time when the samurai were the upper most elite class in society.