Located on the west coast of the Japanese Island; Kyushu is the historical city of Kumamoto which is also the capital of the Kumamoto Prefecture and is home to around 740,000 people. In 2016, the city was hit by an earthquake which led to the destruction of some of its prominent tourist attractions and although the construction work on those sites is still going on, there is still a lot that this city has to offer to its visitors. So in case you are planning your trip to Japan and can fit a 1 day trip to Kumamoto, here are all the things that you can during those 24 hours.
Start your day by getting familiar with the art and craft of the Kumamoto Prefecture by visiting the Kumamoto Prefectural Traditional Crafts Center. The place brings together the various traditional and cultural crafts of the city. What’s better is that you can even buy these works if you feel like taking home a souvenir.
The next stop is the Kumamoto Castle; a 400-year-old castle built by Kato Kiyomasa and one of the three major castles of Japan. It is among the two major things that Kumamoto is known for. The other is its mascot known as Kumamon. Before the tragic earthquake of 2016, the Kumamoto castle was one of the most ancient castles in Japan that was original. Because of the ongoing construction, the interior has been closed and cannot be toured. But you can still go for a walk at the Nagabei-Dori walkway that is all around the castle and is approximately 242 meters long. You can also visit the Kato Shrine that is nearby the castle and the Old Hosokawa Gyobu-tei House; a samurai residence.
Grab a bite to eat
By this time you might be feeling a little hungry so it’s time to go to Sakura-no-Baba Johsaien. Here you can not only find restaurants that offer cuisines of Japan and Kumamoto but also shops and museums. The famous museum of the city “Wakuwaku-za” is located here where you can learn about the history and culture of the city.
Visit a 400-year-old teahouse
The second last top is the Suizen-Ji Jojo-en Garden. Built in the 17th century, the garden is designed to follow the Momoyama style which compliments the title that is associated with Kumamoto; “a City of Water”. Within the park are many historic buildings and landmarks like The Kokin-Denju-no-Ma Teahouse a building as old as 400 years, Lake Biwa which is the largest lake in Japan, and a miniature Mount Fuji. Inside the teahouse, you can enjoy some traditionally prepared Japanese tea and relax after a day full of exploration and sightseeing. From the garden you can walk to the Suizenji Ezuko Park where you can enjoy activities like boating or rent a bicycle tour around the lake.
Discover Kumamoto’s vibrant night life
The last stop of the day is the Kamitori/Shimotori Shopping Arcade which is the largest shopping arcade in the entire Kumamoto Prefecture. Apart from shops, that arcade is also filled with many restaurants and bars. It is located in one of the liveliest districts of Kumamoto and is the perfect place to see the nightlife of the city.