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
Kumamoto Dialect You Can Use During Your Trip
Those who learned Japanese outside of Japan might realize that the Japanese spoken in Kumamoto is a little different from the standard Japanese you are used to hearing. In Kumamoto, there is a prefectural dialect that is still being used today.
If you know some basic words in the Kumamoto dialect, perhaps your trip may become even more interesting. Here are a few words in the Kumamoto dialect as an example.
"Yoka" has two meanings. One means "good" ("yoi") and another means "do not need" ("iranai"). You would have to decipher which it means from the conversation. If one says "yokane", it mostly has a positive meaning of "good" or "nice".
"Naka" means "nothing". It is used when expressing something is not there or negating a phrase.
Example 1: "shoyu no naka" means "there is no soy sauce".
Example 2: "umonaka" means "it is not tasty".
"Umaka" means "delicious". If you visit a restaurant and say "taigya umaka" ("that was very delicious"), they may be very happy to hear that from you.
"Nanba" is used to start a sentence that begins with "what". Such as "nanba shiyotto" (what are you doing?).
~ken / ~ daken
When a phrase ends with -ken or -daken, it is equivalent to "because" in English.
Example: Umakaken, tabenasse. (You should try this because it's tasty).
"Taigya" also has two meanings depending on how it is used. It can mean "very" or "moderate" according to the context. For instance, "taigya yoka"means "very good", while "taigya ni shitoki nasai" means "keep it to a moderation".
"Tottotto" means "are you saving/holding that?". Mainly it is used when asking whether a person owns or has a place or a thing.
Example: Koko tottotto? (Are you saving this space?)
Hotels in Kumamoto
In central Kumamoto city, there are plenty of business hotels, capsule hotels, and other accommodations. At places such as Kurokawa Onsen and Tsuetate Onsen, there are traditional Japanese-style ryokan inns. There are even low-cost ryokan inns starting as low as 5000 yen per person per night. If you manage to stay in ryokan inns in hot spring spots, you may be able to enjoy an authentic Japanese experience.
For more information about Tsuetate Onsen, read Rediscover Ancient Japan at Tsuetate Onsen in Kumamoto.
Weather and Attire in Kumamoto
Photo courtesy of Kumamoto prefecture
Throughout the year, the temperature in Kumamoto is higher than Tokyo. During the summer, it can even go over 40 degrees Celsius.
Being between mountains, it is extremely humid and first-time visitors may be surprised at the difference. Protecting yourself from heat stroke and sunburns are highly recommended.
During the winter, it rarely snows, however, the temperature does drop below zero.
It is best to be prepared with warm clothes such as hats and thick coats especially in the Aso area where the temperature drops 3 to 5 degrees lower than Kumamoto city.
In Conclusion: In Order to Enjoy Tourism in Kumamoto
The best time to visit Kumamoto is during the spring and autumn. During the autumn, the gorgeous view of the leaves at Kuma River is a sight to see.
For those looking to have a fun time, going during the annual Autumn Fujisaki Hachimangu Festival might be fun too. In addition to that, the Zuibyo held on the third Monday of September (Respect for the Aged Day) is an energetic festival that fits the land of fire, Kumamoto.
With beautiful scenery and delicious foods. Prepare yourself for the heat and cold and enjoy touring around this wonderful prefecture.
Other Helpful Information For Your Trip
How much does food cost in Japan? Let's set a budget before leaving.
Do you need to exchange foreign currency?
If you run out of cash, find an ATM with a "PLUS" mark. You will be able to use a foreign cashing service easily.
It is helpful to use simple Japanese phrases when staying at hotels. Here are a few you can use:
In Japan, there are useful Wi-Fi services such as the "Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi". It is recommended to download the app on your phone prior to coming to Japan.