Amazing Seasonal Scenery And Great Food! 6 Things To Enjoy In Kumamoto


Translated by Sandy Lau

Written by MATCHA-PR


Kumamon, the beloved black bear mascot of Kumamoto, is known for his efforts of promoting the charms of the region. We introduce five beautiful sights recommended by Kumamon, along with a local dish that every visitor to Kumamoto should enjoy!

Recommended by Kumamon! The Charms of Kumamoto


Kumamon is a mascot that's extremely popular in Japan and around the world. He works for the prefectural government of Kumamoto as sales manager and is responsible for promoting tourism and products from the region.

Kumamoto is in central Kyushu. The prefecture is full of charm boasting nature-rich places such as Mt. Aso, hot springs from volcanic mountains, and seasonal attractions such as cherry blossoms and fall foliage.

We'll introduce some of Kumamoto's charms in this article.

1. Mt. Neko and Mt. Aso: Past Objects of Worship

Unknown Even in Japan?! 10 Beauties in Kumamoto

Photo by Pixta

Mt. Neko is one of the five peaks that collectively make up the core of Mt. Aso, an active volcano. Long ago, the mountains were revered by the people as objects of worship.

Mt. Neko's distinct features are its jagged mountainous shape. Legends say that this landscape was created when a deity battered Mt. Neko for its bad deeds. This folklore has fascinated people since ancient times. By the way, it is believed that the name of this mountain was derived from its jagged shape that closely resembles a cat.

The mountain is 1,433 meters in altitude. Whether you're climbing or admiring the peak from afar, it undeniably has a dynamic appearance.


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2. Yamabuki Springhead: Mineral-Rich Hot Springs

Unknown Even in Japan?! 10 Beauties in Kumamoto

Picture courtesy of Kumamoto Prefecture

The Yamabuki Springhead boasts a flowing spring that gushes out 30 tons of water each minute. It is nestled in a quiet place, in the heart of the forest. The lush green trees are reflected in the transparent waters of the pond, making it a great photo spot for those in the know.

There are also water-drawing spouts on the premises. You can take home clear, natural water from the springhead by bringing your own plastic bottle.

Yamabuki Springhead

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3. Isshingyo Sakura: A Magnificent Cherry Tree

Unknown Even in Japan?! 10 Beauties in Kumamoto

Picture courtesy of Kumamoto Prefecture

The 400-year-old, 14-meter tall Isshingyo Sakura is famous for its blossoms and is one of the best places to view sakura in Kumamoto. The sight of this large cherry tree in full bloom surrounded by a sea of yellow rapeseed flowers captures everyone's hearts.

The best time to see the cherry blossoms is from late March to early April. Night illuminations are also held here during the full bloom period.

Isshingyo Sakura

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4. Kumamoto Kencho Promenade: Marvel at Gingko Trees in the Fall

Unknown Even in Japan?! 7 Beauties in Kumamoto

At the entrance to the Kumamoto Prefectural Office, there are over 50 gingko trees lining a boulevard called the Kumamoto Kencho Promenade. Every fall, the gingko trees change color and beautifully embellish the surroundings in with bright yellow hues.

The foliage that adorns the trees is gorgeous! However, the sight of the leaves falling and blanketing the ground like a golden carpet is an absolute must-see. The promenade will be illuminated at night, so you can enjoy something different whether you visit during the day or night.

During the fall foliage season, there's an increase in visitors who come to walk along the promenade or take pictures. It's also a popular date spot.

Kumamoto Prefectural Office Administration Building Main Building

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5. Ogi Rice Terraces: A Traditional Japanese Landscape

Unknown Even in Japan?! 10 Beauties in Kumamoto

Picture courtesy of Kumamoto Prefecture

Terraced rice fields are water paddies created by cutting slanted ridges on mountainsides. In the mountainous regions of Japan, there are many areas with few flatlands. To tackle this problem, locals cut into the sloping surfaces to create terraces and level ground. Since ancient times, this type of fields would often be created in mountainous regions. They are considered a traditional Japanese landscape.

The Ogi Rice Terraces is a picturesque place selected as one of 100 Best Rice Terraces in Japan for its beautiful landscape. Tall cedar trees are planted between fan-shaped terraces, making it a very photogenic spot.

The main feature of the Ogi Rice Terraces is how water for the paddies is sourced from the upper streams of the Yamabuki Springhead to cultivate rice. Tasty rice is made from tasty water. For this effective method of cultivating rice utilizing the features of local terrain, the Ogi Terraces were designated one of the 100 Best Rice Farms in Japan.

Ogi Rice Terraces

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6. Takamori Dengaku: A Regional Dish Passed Down for Generations

Unknown Even in Japan?! 7 Beauties in Kumamoto

Picture courtesy of Kumamoto Prefecture

Takamori dengaku is a local dish passed down for generations in Takamori—a town known for the iconic Mt. Neko. Dengaku is skewered tofu or taro (satoimo) that is coated in miso paste before being baked. A unique ingredient featured in Takamori dengaku is a variety of taro called tsurunoko taro that is only harvested in this region.

The sight of the dish being roasted in the sunken hearth will stimulate your appetite. Yuzu miso and sansho pepper miso—among other flavors of miso paste—are served with this dish.

Takamori Dengaku no Sato

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Enjoy a Unique Kumamoto Experience

Kumamoto is brimming with rich nature and unique traditions that are exclusively found here. And, of course, Kumamon is the prefecture’s local promoter! Come to experience and understand the charms of Kumamoto by visiting this region.

Written by Shuhei Yagishita
Sponsored by Kumamoto Prefecture
©2010 kumamoto pref. kumamon

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.