Summer 2019：A tourism promotional campaign is being held in Kumamoto!
A large-scale tourism promotional campaign known as the “destination campaign” is being held in Kumamoto between July and September 2019. There are many different special exhibitions and limited events where you can experience the charms of Kumamoto!
What’s a destination campaign?
It’s a large-scale tourism promotional campaign conducted with the cooperation of the six companies of the JR Group, municipalities, tourism companies, and others throughout Japan. During the three-month period, you can encounter extraordinary charms in the target prefecture.
The charms of Kumamoto
Kumamoto has historical sites like Kumamoto Castle and the spectacular nature of the Aso area. It also has an excellent selection of onsen hot springs and local gourmet cuisine. Below are introductions of recommendations by area!
Kumamoto City and central prefecture area
Kumamoto City in the center of Kumamoto Prefecture is dotted with spots where you can feel local history and culture, including Kumamoto Castle where restoration is ongoing following a major earthquake.
This tourism exchange facility is located near Kumamoto Castle. The grounds of samurai residences are divided into the Kumamoto Castle museum known as Wakuwakuza and the Sakuranokoji Shopping Arcade with a line of restaurants and souvenir stores. The dance performance by the Kumamoto Castle Omotenashi Bushotai Samurai held twice per day is also a must-see.
Currently castle-town walking tours with local guides known as Kumamoto Saruku are being specially held.
There are many facilities and hot springs that can be enjoyed by everyone from children to adults in the vast Aso caldera.
Rakuno Mothers Aso Milk Farm
This experience-based tourism farm is located at an elevation of 450 meters so you can get a sweeping view of the western base of the outer rim of Mount Aso, the Kumamoto Plain, and the Ariake Sea. You can enjoy time with the animals, pony rides, cow milking, animal races, and more.
The Amakusa Islands comprise just over 120 islands both large and small, mainly configured around the two islands of Ueshima and Shimoshima.
This church faces the gentle sea.
Sakitsu Village was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region” in July 2018. Sakitsu Village walks with local guides are being held as a special project.
Northern prefecture area
The northern prefecture area garners attention for its historic buildings.
Miike Coal Mine and Manda Pit
Miike Coal Mine once boasted the largest production yield in all of Japan, and is now a conserved site. Its main pit was opened in 1902 and contributed to the modernization of Japan. It was registered as a World Heritage Site as one of the “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution.”
Southern prefecture area
Here, you can enjoy an abundance of historic culture including the Hitoyoshi Castle Town.
Aoi Aso-jinja Shrine
This national treasure was built in the year 806 at the beginning of the Heian period with splendid Momoyama period architectural style. It’s worth it to see the thatched roofs of the two-storied gate and front shrine, the detailed wooden framework, and carvings. A special non-stop travel plan is being offered to Hitoyoshi by highway bus from Kumamoto Station.
Unique sightseeing trains are in operation!
Limited Express A-Train
The jazz standard inspired a train name in Japan. It’s the perfect train for a sophisticated trip. Its design theme is “Southern European culture prevalent in Amakusa in the 16th century.”
Limited Express Aso Boy!
This train is built with panorama seating at both ends of the train with full views. The train interior has enhanced facilities for families to enjoy including seats for parents and children.
The SL Hitoyoshi is pulled along by the 8620-type No. 58654 tractor car, which is Japan’s longest-active steam train engine and was built during the early 1900s. The retro design of the interior and exterior fully complement the train’s history. The sound of the steam whistle reverberating inside the railcar adds to the excitement of the journey and reminds passengers of the days of old.