Kumamoto Castle is known as one of the best castles in Japan. The local feudal lord, Kato Kiyomasa, began the construction of the castle in 1601 and it was completed seven years later. Although some of the original towers and other buildings have been lost to fire over the years, the Uto Yagura (tower, or turret) has survived since the Edo period. Kumamoto Castle’s 600 cherry trees make it a top destination for sakura in the spring time, and the castle park is lit up and open to the public at night while the cherry flowers are in full bloom from late March to early April.
Note: Kumamoto Castle was heavily damaged during the April 2016 earthquake and many areas of the castle are still closed to entry. However, aspects of the castle can still be seen from points near Ninomaru Square and Kato Shrine.