“Even though the Tohoku 365 project highlights the Tohoku region, the purpose of this article is to highlight the tourism of Kumamoto prefecture. (June 1, 2016 ~ June 3, 2016). From the bottom of our hearts we would like to express our condolences to the lives lost in the Kumamoto earthquake as residents of Tohoku understand the pain and difficulty. After 1.5 months have passed, we wanted to see if the tourism industry in Kumamoto has yet to recover. Therefore this post is to convey information regarding the tourism industry to anyone that may have interest in going.”
Seeing Kumamoto from Above
This picture was taken before final approach to Kumamoto airport. The blue roofs are blue plastic tarps that cover houses whose roofs have been damaged by the earthquake. It’s painful to see this situation at the beginning of our trip to Kumamoto.
The first location that we went to was a very popular sightseeing spot called Nabega Waterfall in Ogunimachi Town. It is 10 meters high and the water falling looks beautifully similar to a curtain. This waterfall has not been affected by the earthquake in Kumamoto.
A wonderful sightseeing spot is Takachiho Valley in Miyazaki Prefecture. This is one of the closest sightseeing spots in Myazaki from Kumamoto Airport, in Kumamoto. Manai Waterfall, located in the Takachiho Valley, is one of the best 100 waterfalls in Japan and can be experienced by rowing a boat down the river. This location was also not affected by the recent earthquake.
This traditional inn has an extremely beautiful Japanese garden and the staff are very inviting. All of it will leave a lasting impression.
Mominoki Suspension Bridge
We also went to Izumimachi, Yatsushiro City. Even though that there was an earthquake, the suspension bridge is still completely safe to cross. You can refresh while you hike amongst the new green leaves from the trees that surround the valley and the bridge.
Umenokitodoroki Suspension bridge
We were surprised that the water was so pure!
Mt. Aso Sunset
Kumamoto Prefecture has many picturesque locations where you can see the wonderful scenery. The best time to view the landscape is during sunset. It’s easy to forget that an earthquake recently happened when looking at this view.
This is a very spiritual location in Kumamoto prefecture. Around the end of the 1800’s there was an extremely large earthquake as well. During this time many of the spiritual children faced statues broke. However, this most recent earthquake did not affect this important location.
This is a great location where nature and caves fuse together.
Downtown, Kumamoto City
Downtown was slightly affected by the earthquake however the function of the city is fine.
The roof tiles and the stone of the castle was heavily damaged during the earthquake. From the city hall viewing platform you can easily see Kumamoto castle. However because of the damage and the inability to see the castle this spot is not highly recommended.
Suizenji Ezuko Park
Within Kumamoto’s downtown area, there are many koi fish and turtles in the beautiful pond.
Kumamoto Food Culture
From the top, Kumamoto Red Beef Bowl, Horse Meat Yuke, Rare Cow Meat, Beer. There are many types of food that are all wonderfully delicious.
Kumamoto’s landmarks mostly sit on Aso Volcano caldera, and access to Kumamoto Castle is still restricted as there are still occasional aftershocks. However, other than these locations Kumamoto still has many still accessible sightseeing locations. The people working in the tourism industry in Kumamoto are worried about the effect that the earthquake will have on the industry. Please consider going to Kumamoto on your next trip to Japan!
*This time we volunteered for disaster recovery while on this trip and intend to do so again. Try your best, Kumamoto!