Kumamoto Prefecture is located on the island of Kyushu in the south-west of Japan. The area offers many incredible attractions, sights to see and dishes to try for travellers that happen to be visiting the city of Kumamoto, the largest city in the Kumamoto Prefecture.
This fun and helpful blog post is for those looking to plan a day trip visit to the city of Kumamoto in the Kumamoto Prefecture.
Getting to Kumamoto is easy
Getting to Kumamoto is easy and accessible thanks to the Shinkansen high-speed train. This line runs from Fukuoka using the Kyushu line, which connects the two cities. You can fly to Fukuoka from Tokyo, with many domestic flights departing daily with either ANA or JAL (the main two domestic airlines for Japan).
Where to stay in Kumomoto
Your ideal place to stay in Kumomoto has got to be the Kumomoto Hotel Castle, which offers stunning rooms with views of the Kumomoto Castle from your window.
With its perfect location, enjoyable breakfast and cosy, clean rooms, this is a great place to base yourself in the city.
For the love of Kumamon
Did you know the city of Kumomoto is also famous for its mascot, a bear called Kumamon? Once you’ve see him in Kumomoto you will see Kumamon all over the place – everywhere around the city. It becomes a bit of a game to spot him! He is a mascot loved and adored around the whole region and proudly displayed by local businesses.
More recently, he has been given his own city office to perform his daily duties for the prefecture of Kumamoto. Kumamon is loved all around Japan, so be sure to make the most of the Kumamon souvenirs and snacks you can find on your visit.
If you like ramen noodles, you simply have to visit Ajisen Ramen, located close to the Suizenji Jojuen Garden. It’s a perfect lunch spot for an affordable taste of Kumamoto.
This restaurant is famous for using a healthy helping of fried garlic powder, which gives the dish its powerful flavour.
If you’re a garlic lover, this bowl of ramen is not to be missed. You can even bring home a tub of deep-fried garlic to sprinkle on your ramen when you return home.
Make sure you bring some mints for afterwards so you can get rid of the powerful aftermath of all that garlic, you’ve been warned!
Get a Kumamoto tram ticket – day pass
If you visit the city of Kumamoto, riding on the local trams is a highly enjoyable experience in itself.
You can easily purchase a day pass at the tourist information desk for Kumamoto Prefecture. You simply scratch off the date you wish to use the ticket.
The drivers are very skilled in order to drive this unique system of the tram network, and they even wear a hat and white gloves to look smart and fit the part.
It’s interesting to take a seat on the tram line, and it’s a great and affordable way to get around the city. Watch as the locals commute to work or come back from school – the tram system is a big part of everyday life here in Kumamoto.
Egao Kenko Stadium – Rugby World Cup 2019
Good news for rugby fans heading to Japan for the Rugby World cup in 2019. Kumamoto will be a host city for the tournament, and Egao Kenko Stadium will hold the games played in Kumamoto.
Japan is ready for rugby season, and Kumamoto city will be organising fan bus transfers to the stadium as well as having fan zones around the city during the games so everyone can be a part of the action.
Suizenji Jojuen Garden
For the most scenic spot in Kumamoto be sure to head to the Suizenji Jojuen Garden, which houses a shinto shrine and gorgeous surrounding gardens that can be enjoyed on clear day.
Enjoy watching the koi carp as they swim around the lake located in the middle of the garden, as well as the unique design of the garden layout.
Make sure you set aside some free time to enjoy a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, which can be arranged within the garden grounds at the tea house. A tea ceremony is a must-try on any trip to Japan and this is a great spot to do so.
Taste a sweet rice cake first to take away the strong bitter taste of the macha tea. You can either have an iced or hot macha depending on the weather, and how you’re feeling.
Kumamoto city old town tour
Go back in time and take a guided tour of Kumamoto city around the old district, which still houses fully functional boutique stores.
The guides wear local dress such as kimono or yukata, and show you around all the old spots.
The old quarter was designed in a block formation, and many of the blocks have their own shrine with many of them still open and in operation today.
Visit the sandle makers shops where the owner spends his time weating new pairs of sandles from scratch each day and make for a perfect gift from Japan to take back home.
The cake shop sells traditional bean paste moon cakes for you to enjoy a light snack if you’re feeling pekish. Why not stop by the sake shop to sample some different varieties from the region
Or you can even pop into the tea specialist shop to enjoy a tasty hot brew whilst you rest your weery feet. The guided tour is a great way to epxlore the old quater of Kumamoto.
The Kumamoto Castle is an iconic landmark found in the heart of Kumomoto. Sadly, many parts of the castle were destroyed in the 2016 earthquake.
It’s still open for business however, and you can access parts of the castle grounds. Many of the main access points have been closed off, so you will have to see the castle from a distance for the time being.
The city is currently working hard to rebuild and restore the castle back to its original glory, piece by piece. It will still be some time before the entire area is reopened again for the general public.
Thank you for reading all about the city of Kumamoto
I hope you’ve found this guide useful for planning your next trip to Kumamoto. Have a wonderful trip to Japan, and have a lot of fun exploring this city.
Remember to say hello to Kumamon if you see him walking around!
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Today my adventure around Japan begins, starting in Kumamoto city in the Kumamoto prefecture located on the island of Kyushu in the south of Japan. Kumamoto city is most famous for being the location of Kumamoto castle. Kumamoto will also be a host city for the Rugby World Cup held in Japan this 2019 at the Kumamoto stadium. Today I also tried some tasty Ajisen ramen which is full of flavour and loaded with fried garlic, a speciality in the region. Then I went on to explore the Suizen-ji gardens where you can rent a kimono for the day and walk around the gardens, visit a temple and attend a traditional tea ceremony. Already the trip is off to a great start and more of Kumamoto tomorrow. #Japan #Kumamoto #Kyushu #RWC2019