In the Edo Period (1600-1868), the area that now comprises Kumamoto prefecture was one of the only domains to be permitted by the shogun to have two major castles. While the most important fortress was located in Kumamoto city, a second castle was constructed in Yatsushiro in 1619 (after the destruction of a previous fortress in Mugishima). Today, nothing remains of Yatsushiro's commanding castle except for its stone walls and a moat. Still, the city has turned the former grounds into a parkland, best viewed in April and May when the azaleas along the paths are in full bloom.
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