Kumamoto lets donors hunt castle treasure


The Kumamoto Municipal Government is now soliciting donations to help restore parts of Kumamoto Castle, offering contributors of ¥10,000 or more the right to participate in a “treasure-hunting game” in and around the fortress.

The city is now proceeding with a project to restore parts of the castle, originally built in 1496 and touted as one of the best three castles in Japan along with Osaka Castle and Nagoya Castle.

The main castle tower, which was burned to the ground during the Seinan Rebellion in 1877, was restored in 1960. But the restoration of other sections of the castle remains unfinished.

The treasure-hunting game, conducted by the city, would have participants search for prize money hidden in the castle compound. The game will also be part of the city’s tourism campaign that coincides with the opening of the Hakata-Kagoshima section of the Kyushu Shinkansen Line of March 12, city officials said.

Already 63,000 people have donated ¥10,000 or more to the castle restoration project. The donors are also being given the nominal title of “joint castle owner.”

For the project, the city plans to allocate ¥9 million from the supplementary budget, which is to be submitted to the local assembly on Nov. 30.