Translated by Jasmine Nishino
Kumamoto Guide: Access, 27 Sightseeing Spots, Festivals and More!
Kumamoto is a prefecture located in the Kyushu region with many delicious foods, hot springs and natural scenery that would make a vacation here very enjoyable. Let this guide help you get around and experience the best of Kumamoto.
Written by Mayu
27 Recommended Tourist Spots in Kumamoto
In Kumamoto, there are plenty of historical spots such as the Kumamoto castle and natural spots like Aso that can be enjoyed.
1. Kumamoto Castle
Photo courtesy of Kumamoto Prefecture
As the symbol of Kumamoto, Kumamoto Castle was expanded immensely by the warlord Kiyomasa Kato 500 years ago during the time he governed the area. However, the castle was burnt down during the Satsuma Rebellion, also known as Japan's last civil war, and then was reconstructed in 1960. One of the main highlights of the castle includes the tragic story of the beautiful Chinese maiden Wang Zhaojun painted on the walls and sliding doors using gold. The gorgeous hall of Zhaojun is a sight to see. Note: After the Kumamoto earthquake, it is closed to the public as of November 2016.
Address: Kumamoto, Kumamoto city, Chuo ward, Honmaru 1-1
Website: Kumamoto Castle
Photo courtesy of Kumamoto Prefecture
This is a theater constructed in the Meiji period and also an important cultural heritage asset of Japan. Even today, plays and kabuki performances are held here.
Address: Kumamoto, Yamaga city, Yamaga 1499
Website: Yachiyoza (Japanese)
3. Tsujun Bridge
This aqueduct is constructed using high-level construction methods and sends water to Shiraito Daichi, which is located in an elevated area. The bridge is considered to be an important cultural property of Japan and many tourists visit to witness the immense amount of water being spilled out from the middle of the bridge. Note: After the Kumamoto earthquake, it is closed to the public as of November 2016.
Address: Kumamoto, Kamimashiki district, Yamato, Nagahara
Website: Tsujun Bridge (Japanese)
4. Amakusa Christian Museum
Here, you will find important documents and artifacts related to the history of the Christians of Amakusa and Japan's largest rebellion, the Amakusa Shimabara Rebellion.
Address: Kumamoto, Amakusa city, Funenoomachi 19-52
Website: Amakusa Christian Museum (Japanese)
5. Ooe Tenshudo
After Christianity became legal in 1933, this church was constructed with the help of the locals and the French missionary Father Garnier who spent his life teaching Christianity to the people of Amakusa. The warm Romanesque style construction and the interior are the charms of this church.
Address: Kumamoto, Amakusa city, Amakusa, Ooe 1782
6. Yatsushiro Castle Remains
400 years ago, there was a castle of Yatsushiro constructed in this very location, however, today only the exterior stone walls only remain. Currently, the "District of the Yatsushiro Castle Remains" is a part of Japan's historical landmarks.
Address: Kumamoto, Yatsushiro city, Matsuejo 7-34
7. Manda Coal Mine
Located in Arao city, these are the remains of the coal mine that supported the growth of Japan. This mine operated from the end of the 1800s to the beginning of 1900s and had two large vertical shafts, making it one of Japan's largest mines. It has been classified as a World Heritage site as a "site that supported Japan's industrial revolution in the Meiji period with iron, steel, ship building and coal mining". You will be able to tour around not only the outside but the shafts and machinery room as well.
Address: Kumamoto, Arao city, Haramanda 200-2
Website: Manda Coal Mine (Japanese)
8. Kamitori Arcade / Namikizaka
Many cafes, shops carrying various items, classic bookshops, manju bun shops, and jewelry shops stand side by side in this spot. Namikizaka extends north from the edge of Kamitori. There are many fancy second-hand clothing shops, import goods, historical confectionery shops, and cafes aligning the streets. Both are great to leisurely stroll and shop around.
Address: Kumamoto, Kumamoto city, Chuo Ward, Kamitori
Website: Kamitori Arcade (Japanese)
9. Shimotori Arcade / Sunroad Shinshigai
A shopping arcade mainly with restaurants and shops carrying a collection of goods. Unlike the calm Kamitori, this area is filled with middle school, high school, and overall a younger crowd. The Sunroad Shinshigai extends southward from the edge of Shimotori and has more amusement facilities such as movie theaters, game centers, and pachinko shops.
Address: Kumamoto, Kumamoto city, Chuo, Shimotori
Website: Shimotori Arcade
Ginzadori is a street that intersects Shimotori in the middle. It has many great izakayas and many locals tend to have a drink after work in this area.