Kumamoto Castle, which was damaged by powerful earthquakes in April 2016, partially reopened to the public on Saturday, with the fully restored exteriors of the main tower in the tenshukaku (castle keep) on display.

The famed castle, where an award-winning Akira Kurosawa film was shot, had been closed since the prefecture was battered by the two quakes.

On Saturday, the square in front of the keep was opened, allowing visitors to take in the main tower from a closer vantage point.

Kumamoto Mayor Kazufumi Onishi, speaking at a ceremony marking the reopening, said the “unforgettable deep sorrow” he felt at the sight of the quake’s destruction was still fresh on his mind.

Kumamoto Castle, one of Japan’s three premier castles, is known for its stone walls featuring steep curves to repel invaders. It was a filming location for “Kagemusha” (“The Shadow Warrior”), directed by prominent director Kurosawa, which won the Palme d’Or award at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.

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