Shimabara Castle (1/2)Shimabara Castle told by the castle owner

Hey, hello everyone! Summer is approaching day by day, but I wonder if it's bad for my health.
I am Tadafusa Takaki, the third lord of Shimabara Castle.
This time, I visited japan travel samurai to write a column on the theme of ``My Favorite Castle.'' It's probably going to be a long post, but I hope you'll stick with me until the end!

1. About me

Before I talk about my favorite castles, many of you may be curious about my writing style. Therefore, let me tell you a little bit about myself.
As I mentioned earlier, his name is Tadafusa Takaki. He is the third generation lord of Shimabara Castle. Born 400 years ago in 1584, he is a warlord who will turn 440 years old next year, but for some reason he was revived in the Reiwa era and now spends his days as part of Shimabara Castle's Shimangoku Busho-tai.
The Shimabara Castle Shichimangoku Bushotai is made up of four military commanders who, like me, have transcended time and transcended gender. Every day, we provide hospitality to tourists at Shimabara Castle and use social media to spread the word about Shimabara's charms.

In other words, in this column, military commanders themselves will talk about the charms of castles. Well, this would have been unthinkable 400 years ago, but the Reiwa era is truly free and comfortable.

2. Favorite castle

I hope you understand more or less about me. I think I have also given consideration to what I write about as my ``favorite castle.''
My favorite castle is Shimabara Castle, which is my base of activities.
First, let's take a look at its brave and beautiful appearance.

Shimabara Castle

What do you think? When you look at these photos, you'll probably think of something different. There may be some who think, ``It's not that big of a deal compared to ●● Castle,'' or ``It's not worth actually seeing.'' The challenge for me is how to make introductions that will get such owners interested.

3. Shimabara Castle

First, we will introduce the basics of Shimabara Castle!
Shimabara Castle is located in Shimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture. It is a relatively new castle that will celebrate its 400th anniversary next year in 2024. It was the political center of the Shimabara Peninsula until it was demolished under the Castle Abolition Order.
Shimabara Peninsula is located in the southern part of Nagasaki Prefecture. The area is nestled in the Ariake Sea, and you can see Kumamoto Prefecture across the sea to the east. Mount Unzen Fugendake towers over the center of the peninsula, watching over the lives of the people.
There is. Shimabara is a land with both the sea and mountains.

When many people hear the word "Shimabara," there is something that comes to mind. It was the Shimabara-Amakusa Uprising - to put it in familiar terms, it was the ``Shimabara Rebellion.'' The setting was Shimabara and Shimabara Castle.

Currently, not only the castle tower but also the three turrets have been restored. The photo is the west turret

Shimabara Castle was built in 1618 by Shigemasa Matsukura, who came from Nara.
Until he entered Shimabara, Shigemasa was a feudal lord with a wealth of 10,000 koku and ruled Gojo in Nara, but in recognition of his military exploits at the Osaka Siege, he was appointed to rule Shimabara, Hizen Province, with a wealth of 40,000 koku. Even though he was moved away from the big city of Kinai and was placed in a rural area, considering the additional 30,000 koku, it was a big promotion. I wonder about that kind of spirit. It can also be seen from Shimabara Castle.

Shimabara Castle has a five-story castle tower towering over its main enclosure. It is very conspicuous because it is located on a small hill. The photos taken so far are of the restored castle tower, but the height etc. have been restored based on historical materials from the time. Even today, the castle can be seen from the shadows of the buildings. This would have been especially true in an era when there were no tall buildings like we do today.

Shimabara Castle towering in front of Shimabara Station

Shimabara Castle is a castle in the form of a tiered tower tower that was often built in the early Edo period. Layers are stacked like building blocks, and ornate decorations have been carved out. Therefore, construction time and costs are reduced.

The most distinctive feature of Shimabara Castle's exterior is that it has no gables except on the top floor. It's a rough explanation, but a gable is a triangular roof in the middle of a castle's roof. Shimabara Castle has a clean castle tower without any of this. A castle tower with a gable looks great and is an impressive sight, but a castle tower without a gable at all has a strangely impressive feel to it.
It's not just the castle tower that is impressive. The stone walls are also quite impressive.

The current Shimabara Castle tower was rebuilt in 1964, but most of the moat and stone walls surrounding the Honmaru and Ninomaru remain as they were when they were first built.

Beautiful stone wall with folded folding screen

Look at this stone wall! The folded part is called a folding screen fold, and allows you to attack enemies from the front and side.
And what! You can go down to the moat of the current Shimabara Castle. When you look up at the stone wall from here, you will be overwhelmed by its height!

I took a picture to compare the size, but I would like you to actually feel the pressure of the stone walls at Shimabara Castle. It's so powerful that photos can't convey it enough!

By the way, this is the building you can see in this photo. This is not a castle tower, but a three-story turret (west turret). The castle tower is located further back, so you can see how strong the defense is.

In fact, at Shimabara Castle, you can not only go near the moat, but you can also go inside the moat! The moat on the east side of Shimabara Castle is currently dry, so it is possible to go inside. The stone wall seen from inside the moat...umm, despair! You can't help but look up at the stone wall as if you were an enemy soldier.

The stone wall of Ninomaru still remains, so you can compare the stone wall of Honmaru with the stone wall of Ninomaru from the east side. As expected, the stone walls of the Honmaru are higher. As a soldier, it is strange to see the stone walls up close, as Shimabara Castle, now a symbol of tourism, transforms into a fortress.

On the right is the stone wall of Honmaru, and on the left is the stone wall of Ninomaru. This photo clearly shows the difference in height.

These stone walls protect a five-story castle tower. Stand on the top floor of the castle tower and look around. The stone walls and moat were designed to protect the castle. Samurai residences are lined up across it. The ridgeline of Mt. Unzen Fugendake rising in the background looks like a wall protecting the back of Shimabara Castle. And the Ariake Sea spreads out before your eyes. Shimabara, which was once the center of the Nanban trade, benefited greatly from this. In front of the sea that extends to Europe, a newly developed castle town is spreading out and people are living there.

How did Shigemasa Matsukura, the builder of the castle, view this scenery? It took seven years to build the castle, including the maintenance of the castle town. Perhaps he was overwhelmed with emotion, or perhaps he harbored ambitions for the future.
For now, if it were me, I'd just grab a drink.

4.Charm of Shimabara Castle

What is the charm of castles? It will vary from person to person and from castle to castle.
The appeal of Shimabara Castle, to me, is its solid construction. And, like the ``Jigemasa standing in the castle tower'' that I imagined earlier, it is easy to imagine the emotions of the people associated with it. I feel that these two things are the charm of Shimabara Castle.
I'm sure everyone had a good understanding of the basics of Shimabara Castle, what kind of castle it was, and its location. Therefore, let's go a step further and talk about the charm of Shimabara Castle from two major incidents surrounding it.

5. Shimabara Rebellion and Natural Disaster

The Shimabara Amakusa Uprising is essential when talking about Shimabara Castle. First, let me explain the background behind the uprising.

The article about Shimabara Castle continues

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Shimabara Castle

Tadafusa Takayuki
introducerTadafusa Takatsuki (Shimabara Castle Shichimankoku Bushotai)He was the third lord of Shimabara Castle and was responsible for the restoration of Shimabara, which was devastated by the Shimabara-Amakusa Uprising. After being revived as the Shimabara Castle Shichimangoku Bushotai, I enjoy talking, acting as MC at events and having long conversations with tourists. My recent goal is to increase the frequency of Twitter updates.Shimabara Castle Shichimankoku BushotaiFour military commanders who were active on the Shimabara Peninsula 400 years ago will be revived at Shimabara Castle.
He goes to his base, Shimabara Castle, every day to provide hospitality to tourists. Sometimes they go on "expeditions" outside the prefecture to promote tourism of Shimabara Castle and Shimabara City.
On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, dance performances are performed at Shimabara Castle. We are also actively updating various SNS.
Click here for official website/SNS
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