Hirado Castle
Dominating the hill that rises above the town and the harbour, Hirado Castle, also known as Kameoka Castle, looks out over the surrounding blue sea. Whether you want to visit the exhibits about Hirado in feudal times or obtain a panoramic view of the city, Hirado Castle is a place not to miss.

Hirado Castle At the same place where the current castle stands, the first castle was built in 1599 by the 26th lord of the Matsura clan, Shigenobu Matsura or Hôin Chinshin, which was called `Hinotake Castle`. The Matsura clan had to burn it down in 1613 to gain the trust of Tokugawa shogunate. As Japan entered a period of national isolation under the same shogunate there were no more profits of foreign trade for the Matsura clan so they turned their attention to domestic affairs. Under the rule of the 29th Lord Shigenobu Matsura or Tenshô Chinshin, new efforts were made to rebuild the castle, and construction started in 1704 with help of the befriended military strategist Sokô Yamaga. The Matsura administration was moved to the main donjon in 1707. Hirado Castle, which was called Kameoka Castle at the time, was completed in 1718 incorporating the Yamaga style of military tactics and using the natural features, creating a stronghold guarding over the Hirado Strait. It served for over 150 years as the centre of the Matsura clanfs rule; from 1707 until the Meiji Restoration.

The main donjon was reconstructed in 1962, followed by other warehouse and defense donjons. From the top of the main donjon one can admire the view of the harbour and the primeval forest of little Kurokojima Island. Beyond the rapids caused by the ebb and flow of the tides in the Hirado Strait one can see as far as Iki Island. Inside the building many items and artifacts from feudal times are on display.
Address Hirado city, Iwanoue-cho 1473, §859-5121
Opening times Open daily from 08:30 hours till 17:30 hours
Closed on December 30, 31
Entrance fee Individuals Groups (over 30)
Adults ¥500 ¥400
Adolescents (15-18) ¥300 ¥240
Children ¥200 ¥160
Parking Parking space for buses and cars

Hirado Castle Telephone (Japanese only):
Within Japan: 0950-22-2201

Umeyashiki villa

Umegayatsu Kairakuen Mansion

This one storied Japanese style villa was built as a country house over 190 years ago, in 1816, by the 35th lord of the Matsura clan, Kanchû Hiromu. It is commonly known as Ume-yashiki or the Plum Tree Residence as there are many plum trees in the gardens. Matsura lord Kanchuu Hiromu had a great interest in culture and had a particular interest in literature and art but was also very successful in stimulating the local economy.

In old times there used to be an extensive ground to play the traditional Japanese ball kicking game (Kemari) as well as a plum tree garden. An anchor of one of the Dutch VOC trading ships used to be located in the garden but it is now on display at the Matsura Historical Museum. Nowadays, various art objects are displayed inside the villa. From the grounds one also has a superb view of the surrounding sea.


Hirado city, Akenokawachi-cho 348, §859-5112
A left turnoff from route 383 between Hirado and Kawachi

Opening times Open daily from 08:30 hours till 17:00 hours
Closed on December 30, 31 and every week on Thursdays
Entrance fee Adults ¥400, Children free entrance
Parking Parking space for cars

Hirado Tourism, Commerce and Industry Division (Japanese only)Within Japan: 0950-22-4111

Close-up: Introducing 2 Displays

The door of Hirado Castlefs Kitakoguchi Gate

`Kantô-no-tachi` Sword

This original is an impressive door of the Kitakoguchi Gate and is good reminder of the original castle. Original door of the Kitakoguchi Gate
This sword is 93 cm long and has a round pommel and a scabbard made of bamboo wrapped in horse skin. It is said to have belonged to an army general at the time of Empress Jingufs invasion of Korea. Generation after generation, it has been preserved by the feudal lords as an important asset of Kameoka Shrine. It has been designated as an Important National Cultural Treasure. National Treasure - `Kantou no tachi` Sword
Location Hirado city, Kagamigawa-cho 12, §859-5152
Opening times Open daily from 08:00 hours till 17:30 hours (in December till 16:30 hours)
Closed on December 29, 30, 31; January 1
Entrance fee Individuals Groups (over 30)
Adults ¥500 ¥400
Adolescents (15-18) ¥300 ¥240
Children ¥200 ¥160
There are reduced entrance fees for physically handicapped people.
Entrance is free for citizens of Hirado every 3rd sunday of the month
Please bring supporting documents for both categories.
Parking Limited parking space available for physically challenged people. Please park at the Kôryû-hiroba Square and walk up the stairs.

Matsura Historical Museum Telephone (Japanese only):
Within Japan: 0950-22-2236
Japanese webste: http://www.matsura.or.jp/

Matsura Historical Museum

This is the site where the old administrative centre of the feudal reign by the Matsura clan, as well as the clanfs old residence, was located before it was moved to Hirado Castle. After the abandonment of the feudal system in Japan by the Meiji restoration, the current buildings were built in 1893 by the Matsura clan to serve as their residence. In 1955 it was donated by the Matsura clan to serve as a historical museum. In the old audience hall a personal collection of items is on display that has been passed on from generation to generation by the Matsura family.

Kan-un-tei Tea Ceremony House

About 300 years ago, the 29th Lord Shigenobu Matsura or Tenshô Chinshin, the feudal lord of Hirado at that time, started a new style of tea ceremony, the Chinshin school of tea ceremony. In 1893, the 37th lord Matsura had the Kan-un-tei Tea Ceremony House built here using natural materials. For over a hundred year it stood here in the grounds of the Matsura clan's residence until it was destroyed by a typhoon in 1987. It was rebuilt using the same techniques and materials as the original building creating a natural and authentic atmosphere.

When you visit you can enjoy a cup of tea with a traditional sweet for ¥500 yen.