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Kumamoto city

KumamotoKumamoto city map Kumamoto city is the prefectural capital in Kumamoto Prefecture.

In the middle of the 15th century, the first castle was built.
Because the lord did misgovernment, a riot occured. So Kiyomasa Kato (1562-1611) was send as the new lord here.
He built new castle (current Kumamoto Castle), and he conducted the land development and river improvement.
By his government, Kumamoto had developed.

In 1877, Satsuma Rebellion against Meiji government occured in the southrn part of Kyushu Island, and the castle and old town in Kumamoto city were burned down.
In 1945, the city was destroyed in air raids during World War II.

But this city has been restored each time.
Now, the population is about 680 thousand, and it is the third largest city in Kyushu Island after Fukuoka and Kitakyushu.

Municipal streetcar runs in the central area in the city.
We can visit the main spots by using the streetcar.

Manyou Kumamoto : Kumamoto City Tourism Promotion Section official website

Kumamoto Castle /1/

Kumamoto Castle It is the castle located about 3 km northeast of JR Kumamoto station.
The first castle was built in the late 15th century, and the new castle was rebuilt from 1601 to 1607 by Kiyomasa Kato.
The castle tower and the other buildings were destroyed by fire in 1877, when Satsuma Rebellion occured.
But the castle tower and some buildings were restored in 1960, and the other buildings has been restoring since 2007.
The original 13 buildings are designated as important cultural properties.

The nickname of this castle is "Castle of Gin'nan". "Gin'nan" means "gingko nut".
It is said that Kiyomasa planted many gingko trees in this castle to get the nuts as food when his militaly must take refuge in this castle.

Get off the streetcar at Kumamotojo-mae stop.

On April 16 of 2016, main tower was severely damaged by strong earthquake.
The earthquake destroyed many part of the stone-wall.
It will take long time to repair them.

Honmyoji temple /2/

Honmyoji It is a Buddhist temple of Nichiren sect.
It was founded in 1585 by Kiyomasa Kato.
It has an approach about 400 meters long to the main temple, and 12 small temples are on both sides of the approach.
To the main temple, we must climb the 176 stone steps. Along the steps, many stone lanterns stand. These were doneted by many believers.
The main temple is called "Jouchibyou", and Kiyomasa Kato has been enshrined there.

Get off the streetcar at Honmyoji-mae stop.

Suizenji Joju-en garden /3/

Suizenji Joju-en It is a Japanese garden located about 4 km southeast of Kumamoto Castle.
It was constructed in 1636 by Tadatoshi Hosokawa (1586-1641), the lord of Kumamoto Domain.
It is about 7.3 hectares in area, and there are small hills, pine trees, lawns around a pond.
It is said that each spots in the garden presented a famous scenery along Tokaido route (between Tokyo and Kyoto).
Generally, this garden is called "Suizenji-koen" (Suizenji Park).

Get off the streetcar at Suizenji-koen stop.

Unganzenji temple /4/

Unganzenji It is a Buddhist temple of Soto Zen sect located about 10 km west of Kumamoto Castle.
It was founded in 1351 by a Chinese priest, and is at the western foot of Mount Kinpou.
Musashi Miyamoto (1584-1645) was a popular Japanese swordsman.
In his later years, he wrote "Gorin no sho" (The Book of Five Rings), a text about martial art, in a cave in the site of this temple.

By route bus, it takes about 35 minutes from central Kumamoto city.

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to here

By railroad

By limited express "Tsubame" on JR Kagoshima Line, about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Hakata.

By airplane

About 2 hours from Tokyo (Haneda), about 1 hour 10 minutes from Osaka (Itami).
From Kumamoto Airport, by route bus, about 40-50 minutes to central Kumamoto city.

Kumamoto Castle
Photo by Railstation.net
West Ootemon gate
Photo by Railstation.net
High stone walls
Photo by Railstation.net
Long stone fence
Photo by Railstation.net
Stone steps in Honmyoji
Jouchibyou in Honmyoji
Suizenji Joju-en
Suizenji Joju-en
The cave where Musashi Miyamoto stayed

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