A main building of a castle in Kumamoto has been opened to media for the first time since strong earthquakes hit the southwestern prefecture in April.
The jolts caused damage to buildings and stone walls of Kumamoto Castle, a historical landmark of the prefecture. They include 13 structures designated as important cultural properties. Thirty percent of the castle’s stone walls are said to need rebuilding. The castle has been off limits since the quakes.
Kumamoto City allowed reporters into the main residential building on Wednesday. It appeared undamaged. City officials said wall paintings with gold foil in its most dignified room, called Shokunnoma, were unharmed, but that the western side of its floor had sunk about 4 centimeters.
Wall paintings in a living room called Wakamatsunoma were partially distorted. Walls of a tea ceremony room suffered large cracks and its paper sliding screens were warped.
The officials say the damage was caused by sinking of small stones and earth inside the building’s stone wall foundation.
Part of a stone wall of a tower also collapsed.
Shuichi Kido of the Kumamoto Castle Research Center says the damage should be examined to determine what repairs are needed.
Source and image: NHK