Kumamoto Castle, one of Japan's three great castles
Kumamoto Castle is considered one of the three great castles in Japan. The castle was built after a seven-year construction period in 1607, by the lord of Higo Province (the previous name of the Kumamoto region), Kato Kiyomasa. After sustaining severe damage in the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake, the reconstruction of the castle is still in progress. Since the 2nd Special Opening began in June 2020, visitors can see the current form of Kumamoto Castle as it undergoes daily restoration construction from the newly constructed, 6-meter-elevated Reconstruction Observation Path. The complete restoration of the Tenshukaku Castle Tower is scheduled for the Spring of 2021 and plans to reopen the interior of the structures to the public. Every autumn, visitors are astounded by the magnificent colors of the massive ginkgo tree thought to have been planted by Kato Kiyomasa himself. For this very reason, Kumamoto Castle has earned the additional title of the "Ginkgo Castle.