KUMAMOTO—Kumamoto Castle was chosen as the top Japanese castle in a recent survey conducted by the popular travel information website TripAdvisor.
The survey was titled, “Itteyokatta Nihon no Shiro 2013” (Japanese castles favored by visitors, 2013 version). The latest ranking was based on travelers’ comments and evaluations given during a one-year period starting in May 2012.
Some visitors said they liked the stone walls of Kumamoto Castle, calling them beautiful. Others said they liked the samurai warriors, whom they could pose for pictures with, in the castle’s compound.
According to Kumamoto Castle officials, about 1.58 million people visited the historic site in 2012.
“I was very surprised to hear that our castle was chosen for the No. 1 position. We want to improve guide signs and promote its historical atmosphere,” said Yuichi Matsumoto, director of the office that manages the site.
Inuyama Castle in Aichi Prefecture came in second, while Matsue Castle in Shimane Prefecture was ranked third.
The U.S.-based TripAdvisor operates in 30 countries and is currently one of the world’s most popular travel information websites. The website averaged nearly 200 million hits a month as of May, according to the Japanese arm of the company, which was launched in 2008.
The TripAdvisor website allows visitors to leave comments and to rank hotels and places of interest on a scale of one to five. As of June 25 this year, visitors from around the world posted more than 350 comments about Kumamoto Castle. Of those, more than 180 gave the highest evaluation on the Japanese website of “very good.”
One of the comments given by a visitor from Japan, read, “I recommend Uto-yagura (Uto tower).” Another comment read, “If you go to Kumamoto, you should not miss Kumamoto Castle.” And a visitor from the United States said the view from the castle’s keep was wonderful.
On the negative side, one comment by a visitor from Singapore said the interior decorations were too modern for a historical castle. Another comment from Japan said, “It is difficult to get information about year-end holidays on the castle's website.”
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