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Innovative experiences attract visitors to Japan Kumamoto Castle
A one-hour tour route has been prepared for viewing Kumamoto Castle exteriors and the on-going reconstruction following its damage in the April 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes.
Guideposts have been set up at 24 locations marked with QR codes that give access to multilingual videos explaining major points of interest. The tour route is free, with the exception of a few facilities along the way.
Prior to the earthquake, Kumamoto Castle was one of the most impressive castles in Japan. With large castle grounds and a variety of buildings, Kumamoto Castle offered its visitors one of the most complete castle experiences in Japan.
Kumamoto Castle was built in 1607 by Katō Kiyomasa, lord of the Kumamoto domain, and later taken over by the Hosokawa clan. It has been renovated and reconstructed many times over the centuries since then. This Japanese castle is famous to this day for its twin large and small keeps, numerous turrets, and elegant black wooden siding.
The April 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes destroyed or damaged all 33 of the structures in the Kumamoto Castle complex, including 13 structures designated as National Cultural Properties, and caused a third of the castle’s stone walls to collapse.
Reconstruction has started, and is projected to take around 20 years in all, reaching completion in the late 2030s. The stone walls in the castle complex were built at different times, using different techniques and featuring a variety of gradients in their slopes. Special care is being taken in the repair work to ensure that the walls will be restored to their original forms prior to the earthquake.
A plaza in front of the main keep is scheduled to open to the public from 5th October to 14th October, 2019 during the Rugby World Cup, and will afterwards be opened on Sundays and national holidays.
The interior of the castle's main keep is scheduled to be reopened to the public in spring 2021, while the rest of the grounds are expected to require about 20 years to be fully repaired. The main keep will remain partially covered in scaffolding until autumn 2019.
With about 800 cherry trees, the castle becomes a popular cherry blossom spot usually in late March and early April.
6th May 2011 - Quake-hit Japan welcomes rare tourists
15th March 2011 - Sporting events called off after Japan Earthquake
14th April 2016 - Japan approaches annual 20 million visitors target
3rd July 2009 - Japan to host 2019 Rugby World Cup?
24th October 2014 - Japan wins bid for expansion Super Rugby licence
27th December 2016 - Legoland Japan to open in April 2017
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