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
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.
For more information contact:Yachiyo za PHONE : 0968-44-4004
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 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 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.
A traditional cake of Kumamoto, slice of sweet potato and sweetened bean paste are coated with batter and steamed.
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.
Shochu is distilled spirit made from rice or potatoes. Kuma shochu, local style made only of rice, has a 500-year history.