Higo Province

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Map of Japanese provinces (1868) with Higo Province highlighted

Higo Province (肥後国, Higo no kuni) was an old province of Japan in the area that is today Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyūshū.[1] It was sometimes called Hishū (肥州), with Hizen Province. Higo bordered on Chikugo, Bungo, Hyūga, Ōsumi, and Satsuma Provinces.


The castle town of Higo was usually at Kumamoto City. During the Muromachi period, Higo was held by the Kikuchi clan, but they were dispossessed during the Sengoku period, and the province was occupied by neighboring lords, including the Shimazu clan of Satsuma, until Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded Kyūshū and gave Higo to his retainers, first Sassa Narimasa and later Katō Kiyomasa. The Kato were soon stripped of their lands, and the region was given to the Hosokawa clan.

During the Sengoku Period, Higo was a major center for Christianity in Japan, and it is also the location where the philosopher, the artist[2] and swordsman Miyamoto Musashi stayed at the Hosokawa daimyō's invitation, Hosokawa Tadatoshi third lord of Kumamoto, while completing his The Book of Five Rings.

During the Meiji period, the provinces of Japan were converted into prefectures. Maps of Japan and Higo Province were reformed in the 1870s.[4] At the same time, the province continued to exist for some purposes. For example, Higo is explicitly recognized in the 1894 treaties with the United States and the United Kingdom.[5]

Shrines and temples[edit]

Aso-jinja was the chief Shinto shrine (ichinomiya) of Higo.[6]

Historical districts[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Higo" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 310, p. 3190, at Google Books.
  2. ^ "Art of Miyamoto Musashi". ecole-miyamoto-musashi.com. 2009. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  3. ^ "Mimasaka. Musashi Miyamoto". Mémorial Heiho Niten Ichi Ryu. 2018. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  4. ^ Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" at p. 780.
  5. ^ US Department of State. (1906). A digest of international law as embodied in diplomatic discussions, treaties and other international agreements (John Bassett Moore, ed.), Vol. 5, p. 759.
  6. ^ "Nationwide List of Ichinomiya," p. 3 Archived 2013-05-17 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2011-10-29.


External links[edit]