What makes “SAMURAI TOURISM” so attractive is not just the martial arts experience. In the city of Hirado in Nagasaki Prefecture, the Shirohaku program, which lets visitors stay in the Kaijuyagura tower of Hirado Castle, named on of Japan's best known castles, is another major attraction for travelers.
Hirado Castle serves as the symbol of Hirado Island, the oldest of Japan's bases for trade with Spain and Portugal in the 16th and 17th centuries. While the original castle built during the Edo Period by clan chieftain Matsura had long ago been destroyed, the castle tower and four turrets were rebuilt during the 1960s. Then, in April 2021 one of these, the Kaijuyagura tower, was remodeled as a permanent Shirohaku lodging facility. Inspired by the Rinpa school of art, which also influenced the Austrian painter Klimt, its interior is characterized by a gorgeous design that also expresses the essence of Japan. The bathroom, the only structural addition made during the remodeling, is in an excellent location facing the sea, with panoramic views of Hirado Ohashi Bridge connecting Hirado Island with the Kyushu mainland. Since the Kaijuyagura tower is rented as a whole to each party of guests, it provides a rare opportunity to experience the life of a lord of Hirado Castle.
A wide range of other attractive sightseeing spots is scattered around the area. For example, Kameoka Jinja shrine in Hirado has a history that traces back to the Matsura family, chieftains of the Hirado clan. Since Nakayama Aiko, daughter of the 34th chieftain Kiyoshi Matsura, was maternal grandmother of the Meiji Emperor, Kameoka Jinja is a spot closely related to the Imperial family. It's said that the Showa Emperor and other members of the Imperial household have come here to offer prayers.
Akizuki in the city of Asakura, Fukuoka Prefecture is another spot you'll want to visit. It is home to a number of structures with deep historical significance, including the Kuromon and Nagayamon gates on the site of the ruins of Akizuka Castle, designated tangible cultural assets by the Japanese government. The entire town has been designated a preservation district for important traditional structures by the Japanese government. A simple stroll through the scenic townscape, called the "miniature Kyoto of the Chikuzen region," provides a feel of its rich historic atmosphere.
SAMURAI TOURISM plans provide an opportunity to experience the esoteric world of the Bushido, which survives today in the land of Kyushu.