Hara Castle is where 37,000 Christians in Shimabara and Amakusa barricaded themselves in under the lead of the young Amakusa Shiro - who was only 16 years old at the time - in what is known as the Shimabara Rebellion. Tired of the oppression from the government under the rule of Matsukura Shigemasa, who overtaxed the common people in order to build Shimabara Castle, and tired of also being oppressed for their faith, eventually sparked the rebellion. The rebels held their ground despite being surrounded by 120,000 soldiers from the shogunate army, falling only after 4 months of fighting. Hara Castle was completely destroyed in the aftermath, but was later recognized as an Important Historical Landmark of Japan for being the location of the final act of the famous revolt. In later excavations, items such as bullets and casting moulds for crosses were dug up in large numbers.
The site is also a candidate to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- 15-minute walk from the Hara-jo Mae bus stop
- drive along national highway number 251 and ask for information at Minamiarima-cho.