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Kumamoto Travel Guide

by Golf In Japan

Situated in the southern expanse of Kyushu, just north of Kagoshima and within reasonable proximity to Fukuoka in the south, Kumamoto stands as one of the most distinct regions in Japan. Its landscape is defined by densely forested highlands to the east and a chain of sub-tropical islands to the west, while also claiming the distinction of housing the world's largest inhabited volcanic caldera. Beyond its volcanic essence, Kumamoto offers a remarkable selection of 39 golf courses, accompanied by a multitude of must-visit attractions, delectable cuisine, and a warm and welcoming populace.

Kumamoto Castle

Perched atop a hill in Chūō-ku, Kumamoto, Kumamoto Castle stands as a pinnacle among Japanese castles, esteemed for its grandeur and fortification. Though the castle tower stands as a concrete reconstruction from 1960, the compound retains several original wooden structures. Revered as one of Japan's top three castles alongside Himeji Castle and Matsumoto Castle, Kumamoto Castle boasts thirteen structures designated as Important Cultural Properties. 

A short distance away lies the Kumamoto-jo Inari Shrine, a noteworthy site worth exploring, particularly during the Hatsu Uma Taisai festival in February. This annual celebration draws numerous visitors seeking blessings for abundant harvests, household safety, and business prosperity.

Ueki Onsen

Situated approximately a 40-minute drive from Kumamoto City's heart, Ueki Onsen stands as a venerable hot spring retreat that commenced operations in 1895. Renowned for its rejuvenating waters, this hot spring is famously referred to as 'The Onsen for Beautiful Women.' The mineral-rich spring water not only boasts high quality but also leaves a soothing lotion-like effect on the skin, earning its acclaim.

The collection of a dozen inns within this hot spring haven offers diverse accommodations, ranging from traditional Japanese architecture with tatami-floored rooms to contemporary exteriors and Western-style bedrooms. Each inn presents an array of splendid seasonal dining experiences, prominently featuring delectable seafood as a culinary highlight.

What To Eat

Kumamoto boasts a rich culinary heritage, with its renowned Kumoamoto oysters reigning as one of its most coveted delicacies. These oysters possess a subtly sweeter flavor profile and undergo a longer maturation process compared to those from other regions, commanding a slightly higher premium. Another local specialty, albeit not for everyone, is horsemeat—commonly served as sashimi. Paired best with the area's premium alcohol like 'Kuma' shochu, it's a local delicacy with a distinct taste.

Benefiting from an extended and warm growing season due to its geographical location, Kumamoto yields exquisite fruits. Among them, the must-try is the melon, celebrated for its exceptional sweetness. This fruit is savored in various forms across the region, including melon ice cream, and melon bread, and as an accompaniment to carpaccio, complementing a wide array of sweet dishes.

What To Bring Back

Due to an abundance of freshwater springs and high-quality rice production, the take-home keepsake must be a bottle of Kumamoto Sake, although there are many different Sake and Shochu producers, some of the more highly regarded sake titles from the region include:

Koro Junmai Ginjo
Hana no Kaori 7
Sakura Junmai Ginjo
Kenmon Junmai Ginjo

Players top rated courses

Musashinomori Country Club


Sainomori G.C.


Kobe Country Club

神戸カントリー倶楽部 神戸コース

Morou 36 Golf Club Takaraike Course

ムロウ36ゴルフクラブ 宝池コース

Hanazono Golf