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Spooky Castles, Wild Boar, Wax, and Kagura!

Spooky Castles, Wild Boar, Wax, and Kagura!

Nagasaki Prefecture

Castle grounds and surrounding area

Shimabara City wouldn’t be complete without its very own castle. Shimabara castle was built in 1618 and stands about 33 meters tall. Not just another castle tour, Shimabara castle has you exploring the castle in the dark! There are also various other experiences to get your hands dirty with as well as their popular fried wild boar and mouth-watering ham.

Shimabara castle

Flashlight tours

One of the craziest castle walks/tours we have been on. Once you purchase your ticket you are handed a flashlight. That’s right, all of the lights in Shimabara are off. There are a few lamps scattered around the museum along with image mapping of gooey retro colors on the stairs leading up to the top of the castle. Eerie music playing the background is also present as you walk around the castle making the tour of the castle that much more adventurous.

Seibo memorial hall is located behind Shimabara Castle which contains artifacts from the christian movement that passed through Nagasaki prefecture. There is also a famous Nagasaki Peace Park sculpture made by the renowned sculptor, Kitamura Seibo. You can also see various mock ups before the final statue was made as a sign of peace for the people of Nagasaki prefecture.

During the day you are blessed with a 360-degree view of the bustling city of Shimabara while nighttime brings you a totally different experience. If you take a look at the sky you can see a white outline of Shimabara castle printed on the sky, known as the “castle monster!”

Although you can’t exactly stay in the castle, there is a RV camping car in the parking lot of the castle grounds. It may look small from outside, but it definitely has everything one may need to stay a night comfortably. For those who want to add on to the already wild experience we recommend the RV.

Shimabara Tourism Bureau
LOCATION: 1183-1 Castle, Shimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture, 855-0036, Japan
OPERATING HOURS: 9:00 - 17:30
PHONE: +81 957-62-4766

Shimabara Wild Food

Wild Boar & Ham

As soon as we got to Shimabara city, there was non-stop talk about tasting fried wild boar. Believe it or not, wild boar is not readily available in Japan. So, when you have a chance to eat it, you should!

I will leave the taste up to your judgement, but it does taste more like beef than chicken. Ham was also a popular cuisine throughout Shimabara city. It seems as if everywhere you went, shops and restaurants were adverting this ham. We tried it. We bought some more. It was delicious. Get the ham!

Shimbara Castle
LOCATION: 545 Daisanto, Ariake-cho, Shimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan 859-1413
OPERATING HOURS: 9:00 - 17:30
PHONE: +81 957-62-4766

Wood Wax Factory

DIY Candle

Making candles has never been so fun until now. Yes, Japan has a fascination with making candles, but why wouldn’t they, the world used candles as a way to see during the dark. Japan has just made it into a form of art and now you can create your own candle that lets you express who you are. Did you know that the wax that is used to make these candles are the same that sumo wrestlers use to make their cool hair style. An all natural product that keeps everything in place.

These candles are made from soybeans that are dried and then pounded together into an old irreplaceable wax-maker contraption. Our candle instructor took pride in his age-old methods. He mentioned that although the process takes longer than a newer wax-maker, he preferred to preserve the Japanese traditional methods. He also uses a special wick that burns longer and brighter than your average candle.

The process is simple, a ball of wax that looks like cheese, is melted for about 10 minutes in a pan. Without it being melted completely, the contents are poured into a metal candle mold. The wick is also inserted along with an oiled stick that is used to slip out the candle from the mold once it dries.

The last process is painting your favorite design on your candle. Can’t think of a design? The candle master has a book of templates for each day of the month that you can draw on your candle. Learning about how candles were made makes for a perfect date or family outing! No need to be artistic at all, just let your heart draw and watch the magic flow from your fingertips.

Honda Mokura Candle Manufacture
LOCATION: 545 Daisanto, Ariake-cho, Shimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan 859-1413
OPERATING HOURS: 9:00 - 6:00
CLOSED: Sundays
PHONE: +81 957-68-0015

Kana-Mono(Café) | Handy Craft Store

Traditional Japanese Mask

A café that will leave you both in awe and in shock. A two-story café that sells hand-crafted tools and has one of the world’s scariest museum on the second floor.

You first enter the handy craft store and are met with a large variety of tools that you probably never thought of. There were some special tools but nothing as special as the real ninja stars that were being showcased in the front counter. As expected, they were heavy, cold, and extremely awesome to hold.

You enter a small doorway into a room full of Japanese Kagura mask. Kagura was known to be a sacred ritual dance only performed for the emperor himself until it started to become more popular throughout Japan. These masks are used to tell folklore stories. This explains the various mask that seem grotesque to some but was actually commonly used in the Japanese kagura plays. Although there was some questionable face mask, the detail on each mask were perfect and beautifully made.

All of these mask and ninja stars can be purchased! You might have to pay an arm and a leg but imagine having a piece of Japanese history in your house, a very scary piece of history that is.

Hagiwara Hardware Store & Kagura Museum
LOCATION: 912 Kamimachi, Shimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan 855-0045
OPERATING HOURS: 11:00 - 18:00
CLOSED: Wednesdays
PHONE: +81 957-62-3117

Giovanni Perez

Giovanni Perez

I have been traveling all around Tohoku for about 5 years, taking photos and connecting with the locals. My next adventure is to learn about how to become a samurai in Kyushu!

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