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Shimabara city

Shimabara city Shimabara is a small city located about 50 km east of Nagasaki Prefecture.
It is on the eastern coast of Shimabara Peninsula, and faces Ariake Bay.
There is Mount Unzen volcano about 10 km southwest of this city.

In 1624, Shimabara Castle was completed by Shigemasa Matsukura (1574-1630) who came to here as a new lord in 1616.
So Shimabara had developed as a castle town.

Originally, there were many Christians from the late 16th century.
The former lord of Matsukura was also a Christian, but he had been moved by the government's policy of banning Christianity.

But Matsukura was ambitious man, so he imposed heavy taxes on the people to achieve his big plans.
Additionally, he suppressed Christianity.
Poor farmers who were unable to pay the heavy tax and Christians were tortured brutally and put to death.

At last, Shimabara citizens rose in revolt against the tyranny of Matsukura in 1637.
After four months of battle, the revolt was suppressed by the great government troops sent from many domains in Kyushu Island.
But most of the residents (about 37,000 people) had been killed, so Shimabara had been a ghost town.
Of course, the government subjected Matsukura to liability, and he was put to death.

After that, the new lord worked for immigration policy. Then this city had been restored.
After the end of feudal Edo government in 1868, Shimabara Castle was demolished in 1871, but some buildings including the castle tower has been restored in the 1960s.

Shimabara Castle is located in the center of the city, and is about 0.3 km west of Shimabara station on Shimabara Railroad Line.
In the site, there are the castle tower with observatory and some other buildings with museums.

And the northwestern district had the samurai residenced from the 17th to the early 19th centuries.
Now a street about 400 meters long is popular as the old town.
Three samurai residences are opened to the public.
(Samurai residence is called "Buke-yashiki" in Japanese.)

How to get to here

By railroad

  1. By JR limited express "Kamome", to Isahaya, about 1 hour 40-55 minutes from Hakata, about 20 minutes from Nagasaki.
  2. By Shimabara Railroad Line, from Isahaya to Shimabara, about 1 hour 10-20 minutes.

Shimabara Castle One of the restored buildings
Street of Buke-yashiki A samurai residence

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