Photo/IllutrationHirado Castle’s observatory room where a bedroom will be set up for the winning couple in Hirado, Nagasaki Prefecture (Provided by Hirado city government)

  • Photo/Illustraion

HIRADO, Nagasaki Prefecture--After almost 150 years, Hirado Castle is again looking for a lord and princess to rule over it, in the battle to draw more tourists.

The city government and a guest house service company are accepting applications for an overnight castle stay for a couple on May 20. Overseas entries are also welcome.

“I believe that making the best use of historical resources will lead us to revitalizing the city,” said Yasuhiro Kamiyama, president of Hyakusenrenma Inc., which is based in Sendai.

The selected applicants can experience the life of an 18th-century lord and lady of the castle in kimono, staying in the castle’s top floor, which is usually used as an observatory room. To safeguard them and carry out their commands, city office and guest house service company staffers will act as their servants and ninjas.

A special dinner, which a lord and his princess might feast on, will be provided full of local seasonal foodstuffs. In the morning, the couple will try their luck at fixed-net fishing, and their fresh catch will be served at their breakfast.

Hyakusenrenma will cover the transportation costs in Japan to travel to Hirado and other expenses for the winning couple.

“They can enjoy our city fully, which can’t be experienced elsewhere,” said Hirado Mayor Naruhiko Kuroda.

The application deadline is April 23 and the winner will be announced April 26. Access the website (in Japanese only) to apply at (