Kumamoto (熊本) is known as the “Heart of Kyushu Island” because it is located in the center of Kyushu Island Japan. It has dynamic history, magnificent natural beauty, natural hot-springs, active volcano in Mount Aso, UNESCO World Heritage Catholic Church Amakusa
Mount Aso (city of volcano), Kurokawa (city of natural hot springs), Amakusa (city of faith) all are some 2 hours far from the downtowns of Kumamoto. 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.
4 reasons why you must visit Kumamoto
I visited Kumamoto for the first time in 2014 and I was surprised! There is no other city with people so kind, foods so delicious and rich natural resources. Therefore, I can say it with surety that Kumamoto is one of the most satisfying places in Japan to live in. Being the 3rd largest city in Kyushu Island it is known as the “Heart of Kyushu”; Read 4 reasons why you must visit Kumamoto at least once in your Life!
1. Mt. Aso (Mystery Active Volcano)
Mt. Aso (阿蘇山) is an active volcano and one of the largest in the world with a circumference of about 100 km. There are popular outdoor activities like Rope-way ride, Cycling, Golf and Horse riding. Outdoor Hot springs is popular for amazing view of hills. That’s the reason it attracts not only Japanese but foreigners too! We have a separate BLOG about Mount Aso, Click
2. Kurokawa (Most beautiful Hot Spring)
Kurokawa Hot-spring is one of Japan’s most magnificent natural Hot spring & resort, that attract not only Japanese but foreigner too! It has variety of hot-spring pools including an indoor bath, a wooden tub, a standing bath & outdoor bath with amazing view of Mt. Aso and nature. We have a separate BLOG about Kurokawa Click
3. Amakusa (Watch Dolphin and City of Faith)
Amakusa is an Island which has full of magnificent nature, marine treasure, engaging activities of Dolphins. Also, Amakusa has ‘Hidden Christian sites’ in Sakitsu village backed for World Heritage status. Thus, it’s called the city of faith. We have separate BLOG about Amakusa, Click
4. Fruits, Vegetable and Drinking Water (Japan No. 1 Ground Water City)
Kumamoto is blessed with its natural ground water resource which makes Kumamoto “Japan’s No.1 ground water city”. A quality mineral water is a basic necessity for every day-life and you can fulfill this need. All thanks to Kikuchi river, Kumagawa river, Midorikawa river and Shirakawa river.
All thanks to the pure ground water and other natural resources, for resulting in Kumamoto-so rich in agriculture. Thus it is a fruitful producer of delicious fruits such as; Watermelon, Strawberry, Orange, Melon etc. and vegetables such as Tomatoes, Eggplant, Sweat potatoes, Bitter gourd etc.. Click
Sightseeing Spots in Kumamoto City:
There are many famous spots in Kumamoto City. Here are the lists that attract to visitors. We have a separate BLOG Click
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 got a serious damage during an earthquake in 2016.
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 turns very beautiful during Sakura season (Cherry Tree).
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 connects to Tokyo-Kyoto during Edo period. As you can see the hill that represents the Mt. Fuji and the pond represents the Lake Biwa!
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.
Miyamoto Musashi @ Reigando Cave:
It is best known for the great swordsman and philosopher Miyamoto Musashi. He came to Kumamoto in 1640 where he meditated around 5 years and wrote the famous book “The Book of Five Rings”. Tourist can visit by Bus from Kumamoto Kotsu center.
This park in known 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“.
Kumamoto is blessed with its natural ground water resource which makes Kumamoto “Japan’s No.1 ground water city”. The most popular foods are Donburi (red wagyu beef), Bashashi (horse meat), Kumamoto Ramen (noodles), and Sushi (raw fish).
Sweets are; Ikinari Dango made by sweet potatoes covered by red bean paste and then wrapped in steamed rice flour.
Matsukaze is 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.
How to get in: Public Transport
Kumamoto has both an international and a domestic airport. So, it’s easy to access from any part of Japan and, across the world because of Hong Kong (connecting many flights) and Seoul. We have separate BLOG Click
- Seoul (Incheon Airport) – 1 hour 10 minutes approx.
- Hong Kong Airport – 3 hours approx.
- Tokyo, Heneda Airport – 1 hour 40 minutes approx.
- Osaka, Itami Airport – : 1 hour 10 minutes approx.
- Nagoya – 1 hour 30 minutes approx.
Fare: 9000 Yen ～ 45000 Yen
By Bullet Train (Shinkansen):
- Tokyo – 6 hours approx.
- Osaka – 3 hours approx.
- Nagoya – 5 hours approx.
- Fukuoka – 35 minutes approx.
Fare: 2350 Yen ～ 28000 Yen
By Express Bus:
- Nagoya – 11 hours approx.
- Osaka – 9-10 hours approx.
- Fukuoka – 2 hours approx.
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 one-way or more than 2 tickets 1800 Yen ～
If you are tired with your daily life, then you must visit Kumamoto to relax in natural hot-spring, enjoy Dolphins, out-door activity in Mount Aso.
It’s worthy to stay there at-least 1-night in Kurokawa, 1-night in Aso, 1-night in Amakusa. Other options are stay 2-nights in Kumamoto , then do same day sightseeing of Amakusa as well as Mt. Aso.
Hope it will help you in traveling Kumamoto and how to enjoy there! Have a nice journey!