Centred around a capital of the same name, Kumamoto Prefecture occupies the central part of Kyushu Island. It’s separated from Nagasaki by the Ariake Sea and is home to the largest active volcano in Japan, Mount Aso. More than 20% of Kumamoto Prefecture’s land area is protected as either national or natural parks.
Things to do in Kumamoto Prefecture
Active volcanoes, traditional gardens and centuries-old castles are among Kumamoto Prefecture’s highlights.
Visit Kumamoto Castle. One of Japan’s most impressive castles, Kumamoto Castle was originally established in 1607 and has been reconstructed using original building techniques. Explore the fascinating museum within its castle keep and enjoy sweeping views across the grounds from the main tower. Kumamoto Castle is renowned as a hanami destination when its 800 cherry trees blossom in spring.
Explore Suizenji Jojuen. Created by the Hosokawa family in the 17th century, Suizenji Jojuen is a beautifully landscaped garden in a traditional Japanese style. It was inspired by the 53 post stations of the Tokaido, a road that connected modern-day Tokyo with Kyoto. Stroll along the meandering paths that lead past a miniature Mt. Fuji, picturesque lakes and a thatched teahouse from Kyoto’s Imperial Palace.
Climb Mount Aso. One of the largest active volcanoes in the world, Mount Aso is the centrepiece of Aso Kujū National Park, which is famed for its flowering rhododendrons. Hiking trails lead to the mountain's crater rim and peaks, the tallest of which is Takadake, at 1,592 metres. Surrounding Mount Aso are several onsens where you can relax after your climb.
See Japan’s largest stone aqueduct. The small town of Yamato is home to the Tsūjun Bridge, an 84-metre-long arch bridge erected in 1854. Now designated as an Important Cultural Property, it was designed to allow water to flow to agricultural properties on the Shiroito Plateau. Coincide your visit with the weekend to watch as water is spectacularly flushed out.
Getting around Kumamoto Prefecture
Kumamoto Airport is the main aviation gateway to Kumamoto Prefecture and has flights to destinations across Asia. Trains connect major towns and cities throughout the prefecture, while buses serve smaller destinations.