Ruins of Hitoyoshi Castle
At the ruins of the castle where governing feudal lords lived for 700 years, well-preserved stone wall alone is a must-see
The Sagara family had lived in this castle and served as the feudal load for about 700 years since expanding repair in 1199 while going through renovation and generation change. It is rare that the feudal loads of the same family governed an area for such a long period of time. Another name for the castle is Sengetsu Castle. The castle is one of the 100 best castles in Japan and is the national designated historic site.
Although the castle does not exist at present, well-preserved stone wall extends long. The wall alone is highly valued by castle funs. The long wall, sumiyagura (an armory or a hut that serves as the defense basis at the time of a battle which is located at the corner), and tamonyagura (a long and large scaffold) have been restored in recent years. So, you can recall the time when there was the castle if you walk around.
The castle was one with a unique design that was very highly defensive which uses the Harima River in the north and the Mune River in the west as natural trench in addition to trench around the cliffs at the hills in the east and south. A stone wall called "Mushagaeshi" extends from the side of Horiai Gate. The "Hanedashi" method whereby the uppermost part overhangs outside adopted European castle construction technique and was epoch-making at that time. It is a very rare structure that is not seen at other castles and is thus worth seeing. It takes around two hours to thoroughly tour the castle.
There is also Hitoyoshi Castle History Museum (admission fee: 200 yen), and you can see underground remains with a well that are not seen at other castles. In addition, historical materials, such as Sengetsuishi (narrow moon stone) whose crescent pattern was said to bring good fortune, a 12 m scroll painting of the Sagara family's territory of influence in 1773, harnesses and armors are displayed there. Make sure to stop at the museum.
Address: Fumoto-machi, Hitoyoshi-shi, Kumamoto
Phone: 0966-22-2411 (Hitoyoshi Tourist Information Center inside JR Hitoyoshi Station)
Admission Fee: Free
Directions: 15-minute walk from Hitoyoshi Station (two and half hours from Hakata) of JR Hisatsu Line
(Car) 10 minutes from Hitoyoshi Interchange on the Kyushu Expressway