Michael A. Stecker


Kumamoto Castle
Kumamoto Castle on Japan's southern island of Kyushu (east of Nagasaki) is one of the most impressive castles in Japan.  Only a few structures have survived the centuries since the castle's construction in 1607. The castle keep and most other buildings are modern reconstructions. With about 800 cherry trees, the castle becomes a popular cherry blossom spot usually in late March and early April.

The construction of Kumamoto Castle in the early 1600s took seven years, and it was designed by the feudal lord (daimyo) who ruled the area, Kato Kiyomasa.  Less than 50 years after its construction, the castle and surrounding area were taken from the Kato clan and given to the Hosokawa clan which ruled the area from Kumamoto Castle for the next two centuries.