Kumamoto (熊本), the “Heart of Kyushu Island” because it is located in the center of Kyushu Island Japan. It has dynamic history, magnificent nature beauty, natural hot-springs, active volcano in Mount Aso, UNESCO World Heritage Catholic Church Amakusa
The “Kamamoto Castle (熊本城)” is the symbol of Kumamoto and, it is Japan’s most popular castle. Also the Kumamoto character KUMA (Bear) is very famous across the world. If you are planning to visit Kumamoto, then here are all the tips you’ll need to know for your first visit to Kumamoto.
How to get in: Public Transport
Kumamoto has both an international and domestic airport. So, it’s easy to access from any parts of Japan and, across the world because of Hong Kong (many connecting flights) and Seoul.
- Seoul (Incheon Airport) – 1 hour 10 minutes
- Hong Kong Airport – approx 3 hours
- Tokyo, Heneda Airport – 1 hour 40 minutes
- Osaka, Itami Airport – : 1 hour 10 minutes
- Nagoya – 1 hour 30 minutes
Fare: 9000 Yen ～ 45000 Yen
By Bullet Train (Shinkansen):
- Tokyo – approx 6 hours
- Osaka – approx 3 hours
- Nagoya – approx 5 hours
- Fukuoka – approx 35 minutes
Fare: 2760 Yen ～ 20000 Yen
By Express Bus:
- Nagoya – approx 11 hours
- Osaka – approx 9-10 hours
- Fukuoka – approx 2 hours
Fare: 2060 Yen ～ 14000 Yen
Hinokuni-go Bus runs on every 10-15 min from Kumamoto City to Fukuoka (Hakata & Tenjin). And an hourly bus runs form Kumamoto – Fukuoka Airport (which does not go to Hakata / Tenjin). The total distance is around 110 km which takes around 2 hours.
Fare: It varies if you buy online or from ticket counter.
- Fare of 1 ticket from Kumamoto Sta.-Fukuoka (Hakata / Tenjin / Airport) : 2160 Yen
- Fare of 2 ticket from Kumamoto Sta.-Fukuoka (Hakata / Tenjin / Airport) : 3810 Yen
- Fare of 4 ticket from Kumamoto Sta.-Fukuoka (Hakata / Tenjin / Airport) : 7400 Yen
- Fare of 4 ticket from Kumamoto Sta.-Fukuoka (Hakata / Tenjin / Airport) : 7000 Yen (Buy from Bus Mori Apps)
Kumamoto is truly blessed with abundant natures and delicious cuisines. There are some other reasons that makes Kumamoto a very special city and one of the most satisfied place in the World to live in; such as:
- Kurokawa Onsen (Most Beautiful Hot Spring)
- Mount Aso (Aso (Mystery Active Volcano)
- Amakusa (Dolphin-spotting Cruise)
There are many famous spots in Kumamoto City. Here are the lists that attract to visitors.
Kumamoto Castle (熊本城):
Kamamoto Castle (熊本城) is a symbol of Kumamoto and it is considered to be Japan’s top 5 popular castle. It was built in 1607 by Kato Kiyomasa. This castle had influenced the history of Kumamoto to a noticeable extent.
Unfortunately, the castle has been serious damage during a big earthquake in 2016. Tourist can visit by Tram or Bus from Kumamoto Sta. But, Kumamoto Castle is on 5-10 minutes walking distance from Kumamoto Kotsu center.
Sakura-no-baba Johsaien (桜の馬場城彩苑):
Sakura-no-baba is an entrance of Kumamoto Castle. Tourists can experience the visual effects about Kumamoto’s history and culture. There are restaurants and shops which attract visitors for its unique taste. This place is very beautiful during Sakura season (Cherry Tree).
Also, some small musical events organized there. Tourists can visit by Tram or Bus from Kumamoto Sta. But, Kumamoto Castle is on 5-10 minutes walking distance from Kumamoto Kotsu center.
Suizenji Jojuen (水前寺公園):
Suizenji Garden is a very beautiful spot in Kumamoto with lake. This historical garden design is based on Tokaido (東海道五十三次) road map that connect to Tokyo-Kyoto during Edo period. As you can see the hill that represent the Mt. Fuji and the pond represent the Lake Biwa!
Tourists can visit there by Tram or Bus from Kumamoto Sta. or Kumamoto Kotsu center. Both tram and bus are running on every 10 minutes.
Hosokawa Gyobutei (細川刑部邸):
This is a former residence of Hosokawa Gyobu. During Edo period high class Samurai used to stay there, now it is restored in the memory of Samurai. There is a combined ticket for visiting both the Castle and this residence @ 640 Yen.
Tourist can visit by Bus from Kumamoto Sta. or Kumamoto Kotsu center. It takes approx. 10-15 minutes.
Miyamoto Musashi @ Reigando Cave:
It is best known for the great swordsman and philosopher Miyamoto Musashi. He spent his last 5 years here to meditation. Also there are hundreds of statues of the Buddha followers.
Tourist can visit by Bus from Kumamoto Kotsu center. It takes around 20 minutes. Get off the bus at Iwato-kanon-iriguchi Bus Stop then walk around 20 minutes.
This park in know for the scenic view of Kumamoto City and the Buddhist temple. This park is located just behind (north-west) the Kumamoto Sta. Hanaokayama Buddhist Temple is also known as “Nipponzan Myohoji Daisanga” which was founded in 1917. This temple is very popular across the world and known as “Peace Pagodas“.
Tourists can visit there by climbing the stairs for approx. 15-20 minutes. Now, this very popular for romantic spot to go there by car and ejoying an amazing night view of Kumamoto City in the evening.
Kumamoto is blessed with its natural ground water resource which makes Kumamoto “Japan No.1 ground water city”. The most popular foods are Donburi (red wagyu beef), Bashashi (horse meat), Kumamoto Ramen (noodles), Sushi (raw fish).
Sweets are; Ikinari Dango made by sweet potatoes are covered by red bean paste and then wrapping with steamed rice flour. Matsukaze made by rice flour, beet sugar, egg and poppy seed are mixed. You can enjoy it with a cup of green tea. Also try Musha-gaeshi snacks.
Fruits & Vegetables:
All thanks to the pure ground water and other natural resources, for resulting in Kumamoto-so rich in agriculture. Thus a fruitful producer of delicious fruits such as; Watermelon, Strawberry, Orange, Melon etc.. Vegetables such as Tomatoes, Eggplant, Sweat potatoes, Bitter gourd etc..
Quality Drinking Water:
A quality mineral water is a basic necessities for every day-life. Thanks to Kikuchi river, Kumagawa river, Midorikawa river and Shirakawa river.
If you are planning to travel to Kumamoto by air, then take a Airport Limousine Bus form Aso Kumamoto Airport to Kumamoto downtown. Further, if you are planning to travel by Bullet train, then book your ticket thorough online to get discount offers.
If you are planning to travel from Fukuoka airport then, it is recommend to take an Express bus because there will be wastage of time & money in travelling from Fukuoka airport to Hakata and changing for Bullet train (Shinkansen) for Kumamoto.
Hope it will help you in traveling to Kumamoto. Have a nice journey!