Off the beaten track in Kumamoto

Kumamoto city has been in the news lately for the Kumamoto Earthquakes that occurred on April 14th and 16th this year. The earthquake was a devastating event for everyone with cities left without water or gas and many buildings destroyed. Although this was a tragic event, many relief efforts are taking place.

In this blog, I will be introducing some beautiful sights of Kumamoto. Although it is not safe to travel there currently, hopefully it will be okay soon.


Only two hours away from Tokyo and Narita Airport, Kumamoto is known as the Land of Fire and is the home of Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan.

Kamishikimi Kumano Shrine

The first thing I want to to talk about is the Kamishikimi Kumano Shrine. This is a very popular spot for visitors to Kumamoto.


Take a look at this picture and you can feel the mysterious and grand atmosphere. Doesn’t it make you just want to hop onto the next plane for Japan?


At the top of this long stone staircase are “hokora”, mini shrines. You might think they are only at the top but if you go up the backroads, you will find animal trails. This is what you will find after climbing the precipitous path.


The name of this big stone with the hole in it is “Hodokeiwa” and it is famous for giving off a strong vibe of competition. I recommend this place to anyone who has an important “battle” coming up and needs encouragement.

The sunlight beaming through the leaves of the Asian Bayberry trees is truly a sight to behold. It almost feels like a magical forest.


Dengaku no Sato

Now that we’ve found our inner peace in this mystical forest, let’s go fill our stomachs.

Located just a 30 second walk from the entrance of Kamashikimi Kumano Shrine is a lone, quiet house with a thatched roof and surrounded by a thicket of trees.

This house is actually a restaurant known as Dengaku no Sato. This restaurant, serving local cuisine, has been a legend for a long time.




Enjoy local, fresh ingredients procured in Kumamoto and Aso grilled right on the hearth. What makes the meal extra special is the gorgeous views of the Aso Mountains you can see through the windows.


Spending your time relaxing among nature, you will feel calm.

Kurokawa Onsen

What better way to unwind after a long day than the Kurokawa Onsen, one of Japan’s most famous hot springs. 

This onsen has even been given two stars by the Michelin Guide. It is definitely a must visit.


Day 2

On the second day, I recommend you visit the underground arcade in Kumamoto City which is the largest in West Japan. You can enjoy shopping and eating there. From there, it is easy to visit Kumamoto Castle and then the Milk Farm which is close to the airport.

This is a picture of the pig race, a popular attraction at the Milk Farm.


I hope you enjoyed this little introduction of Kumamoto.

Translated by Christine





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