The quantum Rabi model describes the fundamental mechanism of light-matter interaction. It consists of a two-level atom or qubit coupled to a quantized harmonic mode via a transversal interaction. In the weak coupling regime, it reduces to the well-known Jaynes–Cummings model by applying a rotating wave approximation. The rotating wave approximation breaks down in the ultra-strong coupling regime, where the effective coupling strength $g$ is comparable to the energy ω of the bosonic mode, and remarkable features in the system dynamics are revealed. Here we demonstrate an analog quantum simulation of an effective quantum Rabi model in the ultra-strong coupling regime, achieving a relative coupling ratio of $g$/ω ~ 0.6. The quantum hardware of the simulator is a superconducting circuit embedded in a cQED setup. We observe fast and periodic quantum state collapses and revivals of the initial qubit state, being the most distinct signature of the synthesized model.