About Kumamoto

The Outline of Kumamoto

Kumamoto Prefecture is located in the center of Kyushu Island in the southwest part of Japan.

Kyushu has an area of 42,000km², roughly the same as the Netherlands, with a population of approximately 13 million. Kumamoto itself has an area of 7,400km², with a population of approximately 1.8 million.

Kumamoto is less than a two hour drive from many other major cities in Kyushu, such as Fukuoka City. The completion of the Kyushu Shinkansen line in March 2011 brought Fukuoka City and Kumamoto City as close as 33 minutes by train.

The cloudless blue sky, the vivid green grass covering the mountains and surrounding fields, and ocean water so clear you can see the rocks at the bottom of the sea: these are just a few examples of the bountiful beauty of nature in Kumamoto.
The area is also rich in history, with sites such as Kumamoto Castle, built over 400 years ago and considered one of the three most magnificent castles in Japan. On top of everything else, Kumamoto is blessed with abundant hot springs such as Kurokawa Spa.

The famed Mt. Aso is not a single mountain, but rather a massive volcanic caldera with a range of five peaks in its center, known as the "Aso Gogaku". Volcanic activity has resulted in all of these mountains having craters, and one of them, Mt. Nakadake is an active volcano and continues to emit smoke to this day. It is one of the largest calderas in the world, big enough for people to reside on the grassy plains within.

Kumamoto is also renowned for the Amakusa coastal area. The scenic views are fascinating, with an archipelago of green islands dotting the blue sea. The captivating views from the road connecting the famous five bridges of the Amakusa area make it a popular driving course.

Kumamoto is also said to have the highest-quality water in Japan. Green forests covering about 60% of the entire prefectural area contribute to the development of the first-rate fresh water, which is so vital to our daily lives. In the Kumamoto City area with its population of about one million, all water for daily domestic usage such as drinking or bathing is provided from natural underground water sources.

Thanks to the quality water and the blessings of nature from both the land and the sea, Kumamoto has a treasure-trove of foods, including fish, shellfish, rice, fruits and vegetables.

Also, Kumamoto City, the capital city of Kumamoto Prefecture, has a population of over 730,000 and holds the largest-scale shopping arcade in western Japan. With a length of over 1 kilometer, the arcade is located at the foot of Kumamoto Castle in the city center. In the shopping arcade, there is a wide variety of shops, such as department stores, electronic shops, drugstores and boutiques. There are also a variety of restaurants and bars where tourists can enjoy local delicacies.

As you can see, Kumamoto is filled with invaluable historical heritage, unique culture, magnificent nature, and refreshing hot springs, as well as our outstanding food. All of us, the Prefectural Government and citizens of Kumamoto together, look forward to greeting tourists from all over Japan and the world with the warmest hospitality.