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English > Interesting Places and Festivals > Historical Sites > The Site of Kushima Castle

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update:January 20, 2016

The Site of Kushima Castle

 

The remaining ruins of Kushima Castle can be seen in Omura Park.
The first feudal lord* of Omura-han, Yoshiaki Omura, built Kushima Castle on a stretch of land that was surrounded by water on three sides. One of those sides has since been filled in and is now the location of the current Omura City Hall and the Boat Races. Kushima Castle served as the residence for the Omura family until the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate, nearly 270 years.
During that time, the castle was surrounded by moats that served as protective barriers. One of them was called Sutebori (throw-away-moat) and was a pitfall for enemies. It was cleverly located in the surrounding bay hidden by water from unsuspecting intruders. This moat was most likely in the area that City Hall now stands.

Under the second feudal lord of Omura-han, Sumiyori Omura, the castle was renovated in 1614. It is said that Kiyomasa Kato, the first feudal lord of Higo-han in Kumamoto Prefecture, who was known to be an expert on castle construction, gave Sumiyori ideas for new construction on the castle.
Kushima Castle was destroyed under the Meiji government in 1871. However, its stone walls remain today as a testament to its grandness. Today, Omura Shinto Shrine is on the ground where the inner citadel of the castle had been located.

*Sumitada Omura, father of Yoshiaki, was the 18th and last feudal lord of Omura territory (Omura-ryo), so he was a Ryoshu (feudal lord of a territory). Yoshiaki succeeded Sumitada as the lord of Omura. However, when the Tokugawa Shogunate came into power, a new political system was put into place, which created Omura-han (a territory and administrative organization controlled by a feudal lord in the Edo period). Therefore, Yoshiaki became the first lord of Omura-han and was called the first Omura Hanshu (feudal lord of a han).