A samurai castle on a secluded island could be your accommodation the next time you fly to Japan. Hirado Castle, located on the very southern tip of the mainland in the Nagasaki prefecture, is a castle you can actually spend the night in.
The castle was built in 1599 by warlord Shigenobu Matsura when the port city of Hirado was a cosmopolitan hub for foreign trade. It was demolished as part of the Meiji Restoration but was reconstructed in the 1960s. However, it still retains its elegant symmetry and all the signature features of a Japanese castle.
According to Atelier Tekuto, an award-winning Japanese design studio who designed the interior of the castle, Hirado was the door to the world in the Edo period. Japanese exports like tea, silver, and porcelain were funneled through the port, as well as Rinpa, a painting style that encouraged cultural exchange with the Western world. If you’re a history geek, you can also get special after-hours access to the on-site museum.
As for the accommodation itself, the interior has a charming contemporary design and emphasizes locally-sourced natural materials. You can even get dressed up in kimonos and enjoy cultural experiences like zazen meditation, ancient martial arts, and hirado kagura—a dance style that is a major part of the local Hirado culture. Guests can stay in a two-floor apartment in the turret itself which features a bedroom, living space, a terrace, and a wine cellar. The kitchen is a restricted area, but only because all meals will be prepared by your own personal chef during your stay and served on custom-made porcelain tableware from Arita, a renowned pottery town in Saga, Kyushu. Prepared with the finest seasonal ingredients, guests can savor French fusion cuisine which features fresh seafood and premium Hirado beef.
If you’re up for some fresh air, the castle offers breathtaking views of the nearby port and Kurokoshima Island. You can take a stroll through the historic streets of Hirado or view the artifacts on display at the Matsura Historical Museum. Alternatively, you can also take a scenic expedition along the coast, or enjoy a pleasant day of sailing.
For more information or to book a stay, visit castlestay.jp.