Kumamoto Castle

Culture of Kumamoto:The land of history and legend

Kumamoto Castle:Symbol of Kumamoto

Kumamoto Castle was built by Lord Kiyomasa Kato in 1607. After all, it has been a historically important castle with the age over 400 years, and also well known as one of top three finest castles in Japan. One of the salient features is its stone wall, with its lower parts curving gently and upper parts angling sharply. The signature curving stone walls are also known as musha-gaeshi, designing to prevent foes from penetrating the castle in old times.
There are green-rich parks in the second foreclosure and in the third foreclosure of Kumamoto Castle. As local residents’ resting space, many people also visit here for sakura blossom in the spring season. Kumamoto Castle is the symbol of Kumamoto and spiritual support of citizens, but in April 2016, it was tremendously damaged by Kumamoto Earthquake. Although at the moment the Castle cannot be entered due to the construction work, the restoration and reconstruction are underway and certainly stepping forward. Recovering of the Castle encourages victims and residents daily, and thus it became the symbol of hope.

Sakitsu Village of the hiding Christian

Sakitsu Village
Sakitsu Village

In June 2018, "the hiding Christian related inheritance of Nagasaki and Amakusa district" including "the Sakitsu Village" in Amakusa was successfully registered as the world's cultural heritage. The history of the Christianity has a strong connection with the Sakitsu Church. The Church is also called "the Lord of Heaven temple by the sea" and was built in the fishing village of Sakitsu. What unique about the Church is that it has the solid Gothic style raising a cross on a spire, but if you go inside of the building, it has the tatami mat on the floor which is unusual for temples in the world. In addition, it is said that a severe allegiance test was carried out in the place with the altar of the front for the prohibited religion era. Faith has been protected as "a hiding Christian" for 240 years while receiving intense oppression after a prohibited religion law of 1638 in this ground where Christian propagation was carried on.

Myouken FESTIVAL:the Legend with Tortoise Snake rampaging

Myouken Festival in Yatsushiro
Myouken Festival in Yatsushiro

The Myouken Festival in Yatsushiro is held on November 22nd and 23rd every year ever since more than 380 years ago. It is always full of both domestic and foreign spectators from around the world. Honorably, it was registered as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in December 2016.
The climax of the festival is the dance of the Tortoise Snake which always attracts attention from all participants. It was associated with the legend that Myouken God crossed the sea on a tortoise snake in the old days, and the "Tortoise Snake" was an imaginary animal that combined a snake with a tortoise. Despite as an imaginary character, the Tortoise Snake is familiar and close to the local residents. The rampaging of Tortoise Snake with maximum length of 5 meters is most impressive and astonishing.

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