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Kumamoto Guide: Access, 27 Sightseeing Spots, Festivals and More!
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  • Kumamoto Guide: Access, 27 Sightseeing Spots, Festivals and More!

Kumamoto Guide: Access, 27 Sightseeing Spots, Festivals and More!

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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.

Translated by Jasmine Nishino

Written by Mayu

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Local Dishes of Kumamoto

As tourists come visit Kumamoto, many leave saying "the food of Kumamoto is so good!". If you happen to visit Kumamoto, try the local tonkotsu pork broth ramen and Dagojiru soup. Here are some recommendations of must-eat dishes in the area.

Tonkotsu Ramen

While Hakata and Kagoshima are known for their tonkotsu pork broth ramen, in Kumamoto, they add chicken broth along with the pork broth soup. As a topping, toasted garlic is added for an extra kick in the taste. Try the Kumamoto version of the tonkotsu pork broth ramen with its mild soup and garlic flavoring.

Basashi

Raw horse meat or "basashi" is a local delicacy of Kumamoto. Unlike other meats, horse meat is very tender and does not have a distinctive scent. It is frequently eaten with a Kyushu-style sweet soy sauce, garlic or ginger.

Taipien

Originally, this was a local dish of Fuzhou in the Fujian province of China that spread widely in Kumamoto and Nagasaki during the Meiji period. It is a light Chinese soup-based dish with harusame rice noodles, napa cabbage, and fried egg.

Dagojiru

In the Kumamoto dialect, dago stands for dango cakes. Inside a soup made of stock, kneaded cakes made of flour are added along with carrots, chicken, maitake mushrooms, and scallions. Among the people of Kumamoto, many of them consider this soup to be the flavor of home.

Karashi Renkon

Karashi renkon is a lotus root filled with a spicy wheat paste flavored with Japanese mustard that has been fried with a thin coat of batter. With a shelf life of only 2-3 days, it is recommended to be eaten on the spot instead of making it into a souvenir.

Akaushi - Kurogewagyu

The Akaushi and Kurogewagyu cows raised in the Aso area of Kumamoto are known for their rich flavors and tasty red meat. You can savor the delicious meats in local steak shops and restaurants in Kumamoto.

Souvenirs of Kumamoto

Snacks

For those looking for something sweet to take back, the "Brown sugar donut bars" have a unique and light texture when bitten into. For an iconic confectionary from Kumamoto, the "Homare no Jindaiko" is a traditional red bean treat that has been loved for ages. Another is the "Mushagaeshi", which is a smooth red bean paste wrapped in a pie crust.

Crafts

For traditional crafts, the Higo Zougan, Yamaga Toro, Hanatebako, and Kijiuma are recommended.

Photo courtesy of Kumamoto prefecture.

Higo Zougan is a technique used to decorate armor and sword guards for katanas. The distinctive elegant designs are the main feature of this technique. Lately, it has been used for necklaces and tie pins.

Yamaga Toro is rather large, however, it is made out of paper and is very light. It is a great souvenir when visiting Yamaga.

Photo courtesy of Kumamoto prefecture.

Hanatebako and Kijiuma (toys in front of the photo above) are traditional crafts of the Hitoyoshi region and have been made for over 800 years.

Like the British War of Roses, there were battles between powers during the middle ages in Japan as well. Toward the end of the war between the Genji and Heike clans (1180 - 1185), during the final battle of Dan no Ura, the people of Heike who lost hid in the Hitoyoshi area. As they lived in the town, the people began making elaborate Hanatebako and Kijiuma crafts remembering the graceful days spent in the capital. Within the gorgeous designs, you can feel the warmth of the people making them.

Kumamon Merchandise

Lately, the regional character, Kumamon has become a very popular motif for lots of merchandise and snacks.

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The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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