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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Ganbarou, Kumamoto Castle!

Back to a brief recap of the Kyushu trip/update on what has changed(: I'm going to skip over the Nagsaki days because:

1. You have already heard (and will hear) a lot about Sasebo from me.
2. Not much has changed for Nagasaki since my trip in 2014. There is the Ghibli exhibition going on now (which I just realised that I haven't blogged about. What is with my brain?! Ok, coming sometime this week) but if you only have one day, I'd suggest going to the Atomic Bomb Museum and depending on your interest, either the Museum for Christian Martyrs (pro: unusual, thoughtful and close to Nagasaki station. con: up a very steep hill) or to Chinatown.

Instead, I'll skip to Kumamoto which has definitely undergone the most changes since my last visit, which was just last year.

As you probably heard, Kumamoto Castle was very badly damaged during the earthquake last year. I was hoping that it would have recovered after a year (which is really silly of me because a google search shows articles saying that it'll take decades), but it was not to be. The castle is still undergoing reconstruction and it is still not open to the public. But, if you're in the city, you can still view the exterior of the castle and learn about it at Sakura no baba Jyosaien (桜の馬場 城彩苑).

If you head there first, you can get a map that tells you about the different places you can go to see different parts of the castle. You could also make one round, but that's going to take quite a bit of time and does involve a slope. Those traveling with elderly family members may want to just take the free shuttle bus to one spot and view the sites there instead of walking around.

They do have photos of how the castle was at certain spots, which was really sad because you could see just how devastated the castle is.

I think this field of stones are stones from the castle, laid out for the reconstruction.

The next two photos are pretty much the only "nice" photos that I took.

To sum up the devastation: Lots of fallen stones which means lots of walls that have crumbled. At least, that was what I could see.

If you're interested in helping out with the reconstruction, you can make a donation at Sakuranobaba. And if you want to help but don't feel like donating, do consider buying products if you see one of the Ganbarou Kumamoto campaigns or by visiting the prefecture, because the last thing they need is for the tourists (and tourist dollars) to leave.

And to end this post full of destruction, a picture of the one blooming sakura tree at Kumamoto castle. A good reminder that spring does come and Kumamoto will be back to normal sooner or later.

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