Best way to travel Kumamoto-Hitoyoshi (Mini Kyoto of Kyushu)

Hitoyoshi Image

Hitoyoshi (人吉) is known as mini Kyoto of Kyushu region which is located in southeastern part of Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. The famous spots are a national treasure Aoi Aso Shrine which was founded in 806 A.D., Kumagawa river, locomotive, hot-springs, Kyusen Cave, Hitoyoshi.

Tourist can experience the traditional culture of Japan as well as outdoor activities like rafting, bungee jumping, mount climb. That’s the reason it attracts not only Japanese but foreigners too! Here are all the tips you’ll need to know for your first visit to Hitoyoshi.

How to get in: Public Transport

Hitoyoshi-go Express Bus is bound form Kumamoto-Hitoyoshi. The total journey takes around 2 hours from Kumamoto City in the lap of nature. More details about the bus stop Click..

Kumamoto~Hitoyoshi Bus

Kumamoto~Hitoyoshi Bus

⇒ Depart from Kumamoto Kotsu Center

Bus Fare:

  • Kumamoto – Hitoyoshi : 2,180 Yen / Person

Sightseeing Spots:

Hitoyoshi is full of nature suitable for sightseeing and activities such as; Aoi Shrine, Hitoyoshi Castle, Hot-springs, Rafting, Bungee and more. Here are the most popular things to do in Hitoyoshi.

Kuma River:

Kuma River

Kuma River

Enjoy the thrilling @ Kuma river. The Kuma river is the 3rd fastest moving river in Japan. The scenic view of this river is amazing, most importantly its cleanliness attracts the visitors.

Access from Hitoyoshi Sta. by train, takes around 10 min; and by walk it takes around 25 min.

Aoi Aso Shrine:

Aoi Aso Shrine

Aoi Aso Shrine

This wooden carving of Aoi Shrine has a history of over 1200 years. The 5 structures were recognized as National Treasures in 2008. The gate, main hall, Corridor, Offering hall and Oratory. There are various art works at each corner which represent human emotions, anger, sadness, pleasure.

Access from Hitoyoshi Sta. by walk, takes around 12-15 min.

Kyusendo Cave:

Kyusendo Cave

Kyusendo Cave

Kyusen cave is the longest in Kyushu and 3rd longest cave in Japan with 4.8 km. It is located @ Kuma Village (National route 219). There are 2 types of Cave tour course; 500 m tour course and 40-meter adventure course. More details Click.. (Japanese Only)

Access from Hitoyoshi Sta. by train, takes around 15 min.

Adventuring: Rafting / Bungee

Bungy @ Itsuki Village

Bungy @ Itsuki Village

Hitoyoshi is surrounded by beautiful mountain. So, there are many outdoor activities like bungee jumping, rafting, mount climbing and more… The height for bungee is 66 meters from the Itsuki Village.

There are some companies which operate such outdoor activities;

Rafting Kumagawa ABC

Land Earth Outdoor Sports Club

Bungy Japan

Steam Locomotive/Train:

Steam Locomotive

Steam Locomotive

There are very few active steam locomotives in Japan and Hitoyoshi has one of them. So, if you get a chance, experience it. Hitoyoshi Locomotives are still in operation for  over 100 years of the train history.

Hitoyoshi trains are very special in design having interior seats, drink-bar etc.. There is a blue & a green train called Express Kawasemi & Yamasemi.

Don’t forget:

  • Itsuki Village (Bungy Japan)
  • Kuma Village (Kyusendo cave, Hot-spring)
  • Mizukami Village (Mount Climb)
  • Dining


Sushi & Yakiniku

Sushi & Yakiniku

Hitoyoshi has very delicious meals either it would be meat or fish, even vegetables. Thanks to Kuma river because it’s very pure. Many restaurants serve very fresh raw fish and meat.

Fish-lovers can choose, Sashimi , Sushi; Meat-lovers can choose Yakiniku, Shabu-Shabu, Sukiyaki by all means you get to enjoy the original taste of beef. Have fun!


Hitoyoshi is really full of thunders and mysteries. 1 day is not enough to do adventuring like bungee, rafting and mountain climb. Tourists can choose any one activity as per their choice.

If you have time, stay there for at least 1 night. Anyhow, those have only few hours to visit here, then they must visit Kuma Village. Hope it will help you in traveling to Aso and how to enjoy there! Have a nice journey!

Link & Resources:

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