Kumamoto is located in the center of Kumamoto Prefecture. The area around Kumamoto Station has flourished as an area for shopping and gourmet food. In particular, Shimo-tori shopping street and Kami-tori shopping street are the main shopping areas. At the Sun Road Shin-shigai area near Shimo-tori shopping street, there are movie theaters and other facilities. Along Shower Street, fashionable cafes and stores can be found and looks much like a street in Europe. Find your favorite shopping area while taking a stroll.
The symbol of Kumamoto City is Kumamoto Castle and is one of 3 most famous castles in Japan. Kumamoto Castle was built in 1607 by Kiyomasa Kato, the lord founder of the Higo Kumamoto clan. It was destroyed in 1877 in the Satsuma Rebellion but was rebuilt in 1960 and is open to the public. People who are interested in history can also visit the Hosokawa Mansion of the Hosokawa clan who ruled after the Kato clan. There is also the Suizenji Garden, and Tatsuda Nature Park, Taisho-ji Temple Ruins, the Family Temple of the Hosokawa Clan.
Kumamoto is famous for Kumamoto ramen noodles and Basashi horse sashimi. Ordinarily, raw garlic is used in pork ramen, but in Kumamoto, the garlic is cooked first. Basashi horse sashimi is raw horse meat. It is consumed with salty-sweet soy sauce, raw ginger and raw garlic. There is absolutely no smell and the taste is refreshing.
The closest airport to Kumamoto is Aso Kumamoto Airport and has routes from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Okinawa. From the airport, Kumamoto Station is a 1 hour bus ride away. Kumamoto Station is also accessible by Kyushu Shinkansen bullet train, Kagoshima Main Line, Hohi Main Line and Mitsumi Line.
※ As a result of the earthquake in April 2016, admission to Kumamoto Castle, the former residence of Soseki Natsume, the former residence of Yakumo Koizumi and several other tourist destinations are not available.