The massive walls and black keep of Kumamoto-jo Castle rarely fail to impress, but they aren't the only highlight on the castle grounds. During the Edo-era (1603-1868), this one-story structure just outside the main keep was used as a residence for daimyo lords and their families. It burned down during the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877 but has been painstakingly rebuilt - often incorporating original artifacts where possible - over the course of the last decade. An absolute must-see are the painted walls and doors of the reception rooms.
The “Honmaru Goten” Palace Reception Hall or Lord’s Extravagant Inner Palace Reception Hall of Kumamoto Castle was constructed around 1610. This palace was used by successive daimyos as their residence and center of governance.
However, this palace was burnt down during the Satsuma Rebellion (1877) along with the castle’s “Tenshukaku*”. Restoration of the Honmaru Goten Palace was finally completed in April 2008 after nearly half a century’s work.
As the centerpiece of the reconstruction of Kumamoto Castle, this hall was restored to its original condition with documents and illustrations from the Edo-era. Luxurious and sumptuous pictures have been restored on partitions and sliding screens have been painted with illustrations such as the Chinese beauty Wang Zhaojun from the Qianhan Era, known as O Shokun in Japan. Exquisite handiwork can also be seen on the ceilings.
Particularly well-known in this "Homaru-goten" is “Shokunnoma”. The “Shokunnoma”, a lavishly decorated room inside, is a luxurious and gorgeous space where the essence of daimyo culture is on display.
*Tenshukaku is a castle’s keep, Main tower.