Historical Sites of Hirado Castle

Built in the Yamaga style, Hirado Castle is protected not only by the keep, but also by the many turrets, ramparts and stone walls, many of which still remain.
Take a stroll around the castle, which is filled with nice places, such as Kameoka Shrine and rows of old yew trees.

Kenso Yagura stands on top of a cliff, called Godan Haguchi, and guards the northern part of Ni-no-Maru, the secondary enclosure of the castle. It is now a viewing platform where you can relax. You will also find sightseeing information about related facilities and other Hirado attractions.
This turret was built overlooking Shirahama harbor to protect the eastern side of Ni-no-Maru. Here you can enjoy the unusual experience of staying overnight in one of the top 100 castles in Japan. (Booking required. Please inquire for prices.) It is an exclusive experience that will make you feel like you own the sea around Hirado.
This turret stands on the northern side of Ni-no-Maru. midway between Inui Yagura and Kitakoguchimon*. It was designed to protrude from the castle walls, allowing defenders to protect Kitakoguchimon from the side.
*Mon means “gate.”
This is the only remaining turret that was used during the Edo period. The proper name is Tamon Yagura, but because of the story of a tanuki (raccoon dog) that took the form of a peasant during repair work to ask Lord Matsura to allow him to live in the turret, it is called Tanuki (raccoon dog) Yagura.
The castle’s only remaining wooden structure, this gate played an important role in protecting the northern side of the castle. It is built in the watari-yagura style, with the gate sitting on and between stone walls. This was the gate closest to the lord’s garden (Seikaen) and provided access to Ni-no-Maru.
At the time the castle was rebuilt, Inui Yagura is said to have been built to protect the residence of the lord in Ni-no-Maru. Inui means the direction north-northwest from the castle. Records reveal that there was a hidden opening on the northern side of this turret, which moved together with other gates of the castle.
The area around this bridge was the residential area for samurai of the Hirado Domain. The bridge was used to connect the castle with the town. The restoration of the stone bridge over Kagamigawa in front of Hirado City Hall was completed in 1984. Saiwaibashigomon was restored at the same time.
The shrine was built in 1880 on the site of Ni-no-Maru to replace the aging Reichinzan Shrine which stood elsewhere within the castle. Deities from Shichiro Shrine, Otomiya Shrine, and Hachiman Shrine were enshrined together. Each October, as part of the Hirado Kunchi Festival, all 24 versions of the Hirado Grand Kagura (sacred Shinto dance and music) are performed.
Normal loopholes in Japanese castles, which are made to shoot at the enemy from inside, are made in plaster walls, but in Hirado Castle they are made in stone walls, which is very unusual. You can see them inside the castle near Tanuki Yagura.
Aiko was born the 11th daughter of Matsura Kiyoshi, the 34th head of Matsura clan, and became the grandmother of Emperor Meiji. This shows the high-level ties between the Matsura family and the Imperial Family.
These trees on the hill overlooking Hirado Strait were probably planted around 1599 when Hirado Castle was built by the Matsura clan. There are 12 trees in two rows side by side, planted to form a right angle. The largest tree now has a girth of 5.5 meters. There are no other comparable examples of such rows of Japanese yews anywhere.
This stone monument records how in 1601 the Franciscan friar Pietronimus de Castro presented Matsura Shigenobu with tobacco seeds, the first to be brought to Japan.
This says much for Hirado’s place in international relations.
These cherry trees have an outer and an inner ring of buds. Once the outer buds have flowered, the inner buds flower, hence the name “double-petal” cherry blossoms.
This gate stands about 50 m inside the castle from the Ote Gomon, next to Ni-no-Ote Yagura. It was strategically important, because it led to the residence of the lord in Ni-no-Maru.
The main gate to Hirado Castle. The massive stone walls of this sturdy gate still stand proudly today. There was a rectangular space between the inner and outer gates where troops could muster. On the 3rd floor of the keep you can experience stacking stones in a stone wall diorama for yourself.