If you’re planning a trip in Japan and looking for a place to stay, the first question you need to answer is if you’re going to stay in a modern, Western-style hotel or a traditional Japanese-style ryokan inn. Or, if you’re on a tight budget, you could opt to stay in a guest house, which sometimes lets you take advantage of some amazing bargains.
But if you’re planning to visit Nagasaki Prefecture, you might want to seriously consider passing on all those types of accommodations, and instead stay in a castle.
Standing near the shoreline in the seaside town of Hirado is Hirado Castle. Formerly the home of the Matsura samurai clan, rulers of Hirado Province during Japan’s feudal era, the stronghold was largely dismantled in the late 1800s, by order of the newly established Meiji period government, which wanted to limit the power of regional samurai families.
However, a re-embracing of castle culture in the latter half of the 20th century led to extensive rebuilding of Hirado Castle. While restoration projects are still ongoing, they’ve progressed enough that there are now multiple structures standing, and one tower will be used to receive overnight guests.
Specifically, the Kaiju Yagura (kaiju in this case meaning “accommodation,” not “giant Godzilla-like monster”), seen in the above photo, will be where history-loving travelers can spend the night. It’s even situated so that you have an ocean view, letting you imagine yourself as a wanderer from the annals of history, staring out at the sea as you consider which sailing vessel to take to your next destination.
▼ Hirado Castle can be seen on the hilltop behind neighboring Kameoka Shrine in this video.
Hirado Castle is scheduled to begin receiving overnight guests next summer, but 10 lucky travelers will have the opportunity to enjoy this unique experience sooner, as the castle’s operators are looking for five pairs of “travel ambassadors” to stay in the Kaiju Yagura in the spring of 2020, then share their impressions through social media. Applications can be online here, and are open to travelers from around the world. Best of all, the travel ambassadors will stay for free, making you really feel like the lord of your very own samurai castle.
Hirado Castle Kaiju Yagura / 平戸城懐柔櫓
Address: Nagasaki-len, Hirado-shi, Iwanouecho, Kamioka 1458
Source: PR Times via IT Media, Stay Japan
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