1607 年（慶長12 年）、加藤清正によって築城。13 の重要文化財建造物や武者返しと呼ばれる石垣など、往時の姿をよく残している。1960 年（昭和35 年）に外観復元された大小天守は、白い漆喰壁と黒い下見板の調和が美しい。先の震災で甚大な被害を受けたが、なおも威風堂々とした姿は、“難攻不落”の名に相応しい熊本のシンボルである。
Kumamoto Castle was built in 1607 by Kiyomasa Kato, feudal lord of Kumamoto. The castle has remained largely as it appeared in days of old, with 13 structures in the castle complex designated as Important Cultural Properties, and its distinctive stone walls (referred to as musha-gaeshi) that were designed to repel attackers. The castle keep, a reconstruction built in 1960, maintains a beautiful and harmonious balance of white plastered walls and black down-facing weatherboard siding. Although the castle sustained extensive damage as a result of the recent Kumamoto earthquake, it remains a symbol of Kumamoto with its imposing and majestic appearance, making it worthy of the name “impregnable fortress.”
Karashi mentaiko are spicy, salted sacks of pollock roe. They originated on the Korean Peninsula, where people would eat the roe of the suketodara (Alaska pollock) seasoned with red chili peppers and various other spices. Later the Japanese developed their own preferred style of flavoring, and it is said that mentaiko seasoned in this way and sold in the Nakasu district of Hakata (part of the city of Fukuoka) was the beginning of modern-day karashi mentaiko. It is also said that the catalyst for the dish becoming a nationally-renowned Hakata specialty came in 1976, with the arrival of the Sanyo Shinkansen high-speed rail line running through Hakata.
The Yoshinogari site is a massive archeological site that straddles the town of Yoshinogari and the city of Kanzaki in Saga Prefecture. It is an import site because it offers valuable insight into the various changes that took place over a period of approximately 700 years, during Japan’s Yayoi Period. It has also gained major attention due to the fact that it is reminiscent of Yamatai-koku, a historically significant country in ancient Japan. Today, as Yoshinogari Historical Park, the site’s moated settlement has been reconstructed, complete with monomi yagura (watchtowers) and pit dwellings, enabling visitors to experience first-hand what life would have been like for the ancient people of Japan.
Gunkanjima (meaning “Battleship Island”) is an uninhabited island, approximately 160m wide and 480m long. From the Meiji Era onwards it enjoyed a period of prosperity as an undersea coalmining site. During its heyday, over 5,000 people lived on this small island. Gunkanjima earned its nickname due to the fact that the remains of the high-rise concrete apartment buildings of the time and the island’s surrounding sea wall give it the overall appearance of a battleship. The island was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015, and is now gaining popularity for its sightseeing tours.
Saigo Takamori (also known in Japan as “Saigo Don”) was an influential samurai who achieved major accomplishments during the Meiji restoration. He suffered defeat fighting against the armies of the new government in the Seinan War, and met his end at Shiroyama, in the city of Kagoshima. His statue (which stands with Shiroyama in the background) was created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death. The statue was produced by Kagoshima-born sculptor Teru Ando, who also created the famous statue of the faithful dog Hachiko which sits in front of Shibuya Station.
Oita Prefecture is famous as Japan’s top Onsen-ken (literally meaning “hot spring prefecture”), boasting the greatest volume of hot springs in all of Japan. There are over 4,000 hot spring sources in the prefecture, including famous destinations as Beppu and Yufuin. The “Shinfuro” promotional video has drawn attention for both its unique concept (synchronized swimming in a hot spring bath) and the magnificent performance given by the professional synchronized swimming team. This model presents an artist’s impression of a scene from the video.
Mangos are a representative specialty product of Miyazaki Prefecture. The secret of their delicious taste lies in them being fully ripe. The mangos are harvested using a unique method, in which they are ripened until they fall naturally from the tree, and are caught using a net. Taiyo no Tamago (meaning “eggs of the sun”) is a brand name that is only given to the very finest fully ripened Miyazaki-produced mangos that have cleared the strictest standards of quality.
Yufuin no Mori is an express train that connects Hakata with Yufuin, one of Kyushu’s most famous and representative hot spring resorts. The train adopts a European classical design. The high-decker type train cars offer excellent views, enabling passengers to enjoy the mountain greenery and other beautiful scenery from their windows. This model is a recreation of the KiHa 72 series train, which entered operation in March 1999.
A lot of sights that talk about Japanese history
The hot spring spot filled with the power of the earth
A rich climate and unique food culture
People and earth are warm and powerful
Kyushu collected the specialties of the 7 prefectures