Last updated:December 30, 2019How would a castle look like after an earthquake in Japan? I visited Kumamoto recently to see whether it has recovered after severe earthquakes that struck in 2016, and especially to observe the current state of Kumamoto castle.The Kumamoto castle was still damaged during my visit, and it revealed how terrible the earthquake was. About the 2016 Earthquakes in Kumamoto, JapanIn April 2016, there was a series of the earthquake that hit Kumamoto.The foreshock earthquake with a magnitude 6.2 occurred on April 14th, while the mainshock with the magnitude 7.0 struck in the early morning of the 16th.Both earthquakes caused severe damage to Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures. I was studying in Oita at that time, and it was a terrible experience that still haunted me a few months after. Visiting Kumamoto CastleWhile walking along the border, you can see the destruction of the earthquake. One part of the fortress was collapsed in the picture below.It was a bit rainy on the day I visited Kumamoto castle.There is information regarding the impact of the 2016 earthquake on Kumamoto Castle. It’s in Japanese, but you can see how Kumamoto castle suffered from it. Read related article: Useful tips to travel to Japan on a budget. The destructionsThe tower below is the only one not having any damages from the Earthquake. It becomes the icon that represents the spirit of Japan and the Japanese.Despite the earthquake and nature disaster, Japan can withstand and recover.The iconic turret withstands the earthquakes.However, after that turret, the real destruction of the 2016 earthquakes appear.The foundations of many turrets were damaged, the walls crumbled, many roof tiles fell, and entire structures collapsed.Kumamoto castle suffered severe damages from the earthquakesMany structures were collapsedAnother angle of collapsed buildings in Kumamoto castle areaWalking in the park, there is more and more destruction. Even though I was in Oita during the earthquakes, I couldn’t believe the damages from the shocks to Kumamoto.Even trees suffered from the earthquakesMore and more destruction appeared.From one side, I thought that turret “escaped” the devastation; however, its foundation was destroyed. The internal damage must be dreadful.The 2016 earthquakes destroyed the foundation of this turret. The current construction of Kumamoto castleIn one part of the park, you can see the on-going development of Kumamoto castle. Many rocks and former parts of the walls have been collected, numbered and arranged.The city hopes to reopen the central area of Kumamoto castle in spring 2021.The city is trying to repair the area.You can see the construction of the main castle from far away.The main castle is building currently. The city hopes to reopen it in 2021Some parts of the wall fell downThere are other areas surrounding the Kumamoto castle that you should visit, such as Sakuranobaba Johsaien, Katō Shrine, Kumamotojoinari Shrine, etc. Visiting Sakuranobaba JohsaienCrossing the bridge, you will enter the gate of Sakuranobaba Johsaien first. Here is the entrance.Sakuranobaba Johsaien entranceBeautiful umbrellas on the way lead to Josaien What is Sakuranobaba Johsaien?Sakuranobaba Johsaien is a Japanese tourism area located next to Kumamoto Castle.In this area, you can buy souvenirs in shops, trying local foods at restaurants, and visiting museums detailing the history of Kumamoto.Read related article: Japanese foods you must try!You can see an iconic of Kumamoto mascot character. Don’t forget to take a picture of it!The area is full of cute shops and restaurants.It’s a great tourist spot for understanding the history and cultural traditions of the Kumamoto region.There are benches to sit down and enjoy your food.Have I told you that Sakuranobaba Johsaien is very Instagrammable?You can see the Kumamoto castle at the end of Johsaien. Things to buy in KumamotoIf you’d like to buy some souvenirs for your family, Sakuranobaba Johsaien is one of the best places to purchase them.See alsoAsia Travel GuideSukhothai vs. Ayutthaya: Which ancient city is better?All the products have Kumamoto mascot character on it, so it’s a good reminder of your trip to Kumamoto.There are several choices, from local sweets to handmade products.Cute souvenirs that you should buy!There are different souvenir stores in this area, so it’s quite challenging to pick one. Katō Shrine Shrine (加藤神社)Katō Shrine is a shrine in Kumamoto Castle. From this shrine, you can get a view of the castle.Here is the entrance of the shrine How to get to Kumamoto castle?1) From Kumamoto Airport to Kumamoto by private transferGood points:Comfortable ride to or from the airportDoor-to-door service with a professional driverAvoiding the stress and hassle of worrying about public transport 2) From JR Kumamoto Train StationYou can take a tram from JR Kumamoto Train station and get off at Kumamoto Castle tram stop. Because the castle is currently under construction, you cannot enter the main gate.Therefore, you should walk to the left around 10 minutes, and reach the gate near Sakuranobaba Johsaien – for local eating and shopping area.Pin it for later!