Restoration work has finished for the tenshukaku main towers of Kumamoto Castle, which were severely damaged by earthquakes that mainly struck Kumamoto Prefecture in 2016.

On Tuesday, the city of Kumamoto showed the media the interior of the six-story larger tower and the four-story smaller tower before their opening to the public from April 26.

Safety measures such as seismic reinforcement have been taken, and the permanent exhibition and interior have been fully renovated.

Both the exterior and interior of the two towers were severely damaged by the quakes. Most of the roof tiles fell off, and some of the stone walls, including those for the underground floor called Anagura, collapsed.

After the quakes, the city received many calls from citizens expressing hopes for the early restoration of the castle.

Regarding the restoration of the towers as a symbol of Kumamoto’s reconstruction, the city started the repair work the year after the disaster.

A slope was newly installed at the entrance to the small tower and three elevators were introduced inside so that wheelchair users and others with difficulty using stairs can go up to the observation deck on the top floor.

The permanent exhibition focuses on the history of the towers, introducing the structures from their original construction to modern times with models and videos.

“I think this is a big milestone. I hope many people will visit Kumamoto Castle so that they can feel the reconstruction’s progress,” said Tatsuo Amita, head of the Kumamoto Castle office.

“When you look around from the top floor, you’ll be able to see both the parts where the reconstruction has progressed and the parts on which we still need to spend more time,” he added.

As for the castle’s Iidamaru Gokai Yagura turret, known for its “miraculous” corner stones that prevented the quake-hit structure from collapsing, the city finished dismantling its main body and stone walls by fiscal 2020 and will start rebuilding the lower stone walls this spring.

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