Scenes of cherry blossoms    Kumamoto Castle


Kumamoto Castle, built by Lord Kato Kiyomasa in 1607, is one of the three outstanding castles of Japan. Every spring the castle draws more than 10,000 visitors, many of whom enjoy blossom-viewing parties under the 600 cherry trees on the castle grounds.

Peak season for viewing : late March to early April
Admission fee: adults 500 YEN (children 200 YEN)
Group Discount(over 30): adults 300 YEN (children 180 YEN)
Open daily 8:30am to 5:30pm,
March through November  - 4:30pm
Closed: 12/29 - 12/31
Transportation: 15 minutes drive from Kumamoto Station
Parking capacity: 57 large buses (500 YEN/2hours), 160 cars (200 YEN/2hours)

For more information contact:Kumamoto Castle Administrative Office
PHONE : 096-352-5900 / FAX : 096-351-2954




Azaleas    Sensui-kyo Valley, Aso Mountains highlands


In Sensui-kyo Valley in the Aso Mountains the visitors can see more than 50,000 wild Miyama-Kirishima azaleas unique to Kyushu. At the peak of the flowering  season in May, entire mountainsides appear to be washed in pink hues. Sensui-kyo(the Valley of intoxication) comes from a legend in which even a powerful wizard was intoxicated by the beauty of this scene.

Peak season for viewing: Sensui-kyo Valley middle May, Aso Mountains Highlands late May to early Jun
Transportation:Sensui-kyo Valley 80 minutes drive from Kyushu Expressway Kumamoto Interchange, Aso Mountains Highlands 90 minutes drive from Kyushu Expressway Kumamoto Interchange
Parking: 50 cars (Aso –sanjo)

For more information contact:Aso tourismassociation
PHONE : 0967-32-1960




Autumnal Leaves   Kikuchi Glen


This glen at the headwaters of the Kikuchi River is a very popular spot for enjoying the autumn foliage. Comfortable paths of up to four kilometers offer the visitor a refreshing stroll.

Peak season for viewing; Late October to early December
Transportation: 45 minutes drive from Kyushu Expressway Kikusui Interchange
Parking: Toll parking not nearby

For more information contact:kikuchi City Commerce,Industory,and Sightseeing Section
PHONE : 0968-25-1111 / FAX : 0968-25-0513




Sailling Ship  Ashikita Town, Ashikita-gun


Experiencing dragnet fishing, guests can return ashore with their fresh harvest or if they prefer, have their catch prepared and served right on board.

Operating period: April through November (reservation required)
Closed on Tuesdays and second Saturdays
Charge: 40,000 YEN  per ship
Passenger capacity: 12
Time required: 3 hours
* Foreign language

For more information contact:Tourist Utase Boat Association
PHONE : 0966-82-3936




Dolphin watching     Itsuwa Town, Amakusa-gun


About 300 dolphins inhabit in Tsuji Island’s offshore, Ituswa town Amakusa Shimoshima and Fishing boats are often used for dolphin watching.  Dolphins are complete wild but the boatman will change the route as dolphins’ home range.  5 to 10 minutes after leaving the Futae port, a group of dolphins will swim along the boat and sometimes show dynamic jumping at very close to the boat.
Boarding: 2,500 YEN (adults)  1,500 YEN (children)

For more information contact:Itsuwa town tourism association
PHONE : 0969-33-1200




Experiencing Balloon Rides      Aso Town, Aso-gun


Visitors can enjoy a”walk”in the sky and admire the grand view of Aso in the captive balloon. (reservation required)  The ride provides an excellent view of the Five Peaks of Aso and pastoral landscape.  Ride is available with 8 people or more, and fee is 1,890 YEN per person.

Charge: 1,890 YEN  per adult
Open (information desk): 9:00am to 6:00pm
Balloon operating time: 6:00 or 7:00
Closed: Thursdays
Transportation: 70-minute drive from the Kyushu Expressway Kumamoto Exit.
* Foreign language service: English

For more information contact:Aso Nature Land PHONE : 0967-32-4196 / FAX : 0967-32-0727




The whole area of Kumamoto


There are 43 golf courses that are unique with view in Kumamoto prefecture.
There are various courses: the one close to the Kumamoto Airport, which gives convenient transport, the one gives various sights such as significant view of Aso and Ariake sea, the one designed and supervised by famous professional golfer, etc.  After enjoying playing in nature, wash away sweat in a spa and have your fill of Kumamoto fresh and delicious local dishes

For more information contact:Kumamoto prefectural tourist federation
PHONE : 096-325-6360




Fruits picking      Aso Machi, Aso-gun


As we know Kumamoto as the land of fruits, you can enjoy seasonal fruits picking.  Strawberry picking in spring (Aso, Kumamoto North area), blueberry in summer (Soyo-cho, Aso), apples (Aso), grapes (Aso, Kumamoto, Kumamoto north south areas), chestnut (Kumamoto North South areas) for autumn and also orange (Kinpo Yamaititai in Kumamoto, Kumamoto south area) in winter.

Foreign language service: no
Foreign language information: no

For more information contact:Kumamoto Prefectural tourist Federation
PHONE : 096-325-6360 / FAX : 096-325-6362




Experiencing the Yamaga Toro (Lantern) Festival    Yamaga City


The lantern festival is held annually on August 15th and 16th in Yamaga City
The Fuji Hotel provides opportunities for female guest to try on festival costumes and learn the traditional dance.

Date: throughout the year
Charge: No charge for hotel guests
Time: 30 minutes

The Fuji Hotel
PHONE : 0968-43-4146 / FAX : 0968-43-3785

The Yamaga New Grand Hotel
PHONE : 0968-43-8111 / FAX : 0968-43-4172




Yachiyo za    Yamaga City


A theater built in 1916 (Meiji 43).  It was temporary closed due to superannuation. But after designation as a national important cultural asset (1988) (Showa 63), it was through complete restoration.  It is now open for a field trip, except when Kabuki performance or concerts is held.  There is a reference hall Yumekozo next to Yachiyo za, which exhibits stage properties.

Charge:520 YEN

For more information contact:Yachiyo za
PHONE : 0968-44-4004




Aso Fire Festival     Aso Town / Ichinomiya Town


This festival indicates coming of spring in Aso.  Returning gods are welcomed with blazing bundies swung in large circles at the end of straw ropes.  The Aso Furumai Festival in Aso Town and the Hifuri Festival in Ichinomiya are two major performances.

Aso Furumai Festival : early March
Hifuri Festival: late March
Charge: Free
Time: 20 minutes
Foreign language service: No

For more information contact:Aso Fireworks executive committee
PHONE : 0967-24-5117 / FAX : 0967-24-5119




Seiwa Bunraku   Seiwa Village


Bunraku is a puppet show performed with shamisen accompaniments and unique narration called Joruri.  It ranks with Noh and the Kabuki as Japanese classic entertainment.  Bunraku was handed down as a folk entertainment for praying for rich harvest from a troupe to the villagers in the end of Edo period in Seiwa village, Kumamoto Prefecture.  Then, it was specified as a prefecture important intangible cultural asset.  Seiwa Bunraku Kan introduces the history of bunraku and has a private theater which holds regular performance every 2nd and 4th Sundays.

Charge: Age at over high school  420 YEN
Regular performance ticket: Age at over high school 1,260 YEN


For more information contact:Seiwa Bunraku ken
PHONE : 0967-82-3001




Sagara storehouse tour     Hitoyoshi City


Sagara is an old name of Hitoyoshi-Kuma area, southern Kumamoto Prefecture in Edo period.  Historically the city was in the center and has flourished as a castle town for long time.  The town remains traditional storehouses that were used for storing food and household effects and processing food.  This tour goes through eight storehouses such as shochu brewery (distilled from sweet potatoes) where miso and soy sauce were made and the remains of samurai residences.

For more information contact:Hitoyoshi city hall tourism section
PHONE : 0966-22-2111




Karashi Renkon


Karashi Renkon is one of the most famous specialties of Kumamoto. And then deep fried for a crisp and piquant threat.







Small green onions are boiled, twisted, and served with a vinegar-miso sauce.  An excellent complement to local sake.





Ikinari Dango


A traditional cake of Kumamoto, slice of sweet potato and sweetened bean paste are coated with batter and steamed.





Kumamoto Ramen


Kumamoto ramen is a unique blend of Chinese noodles and fried minced garlic in a pork broth served with chashu (roasted pork cutlet), spring onion, or boiled eggs.  Throughout the shopping arcades visitors can find shops specializing in this local version of a popular dish.







Basashi, thinly sliced raw horse meat, is surprisingly tender and mild.  This dish is one of the local favorites for celebration dinners.







Sake is a beverage from fermented rice with alcohol content similar to wine.  Kumamoto produces many kinds of well-known sake.





Kuma Shochu


Shochu is distilled spirit made from rice or potatoes.  Kuma shochu, local style made only of rice, has a 500-year history.




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