Top 5 Sightseeing Spots with Superb Views in Kumamoto – Kyushu’s Popular Tourist Destination
Surrounded by magnificent nature, Kumamoto is an area that is filled with appealing sightseeing spots. It is one of the famous areas in Kyushu Island that is easily accessible from Fukuoka. Below are five handpicked spots in Kumamoto that offer glorious views that will move you!
1. Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto City)
First on the list is Kumamoto Castle – the symbol of Kumamoto. Known as the castle that was built by the famous feudal warlord Kato Kiyomasa (1562 – 1611) in 1607, this castle is characterized by its complex and rigid structure that is said to have been born from Kiyomasa’s experience in real battles. From north to west, there is a moat that draws water from the river, while in the east and south, there are several layers of stonewalls. These curved stonewalls become steeper as it goes up, that even samurai warriors and light ninjas could not climb them, so they ended up retreating instead.
The castle tower was burned down once during the war, but it was restored in 1960. Further, several buildings in the castle complex collapsed, suffered from ruined walls or fell apart due to the major earthquake that struck in 2016. In light of this, the castle is currently undergoing restoration works, so there are areas in the castle that are off-limits right now. However, its hugely popular vibrant atmosphere as one of the three great castles in Japan still remains today. You must check it out at least once.
Admission fee: Adult: 500 JPY, Child (elementary/junior high school): 200 JPY
2. Daikanbo (Aso City)
Next on the list is Daikanbo (Daikan Peak) with an altitude of 936m, where you can enjoy grand views. It is also known as a viewing spot from where you can see a superb landscape created by the Kuju Mountain Range and other areas. In particular, the Aso-Gogaku that can be seen from this viewing spot is called the “nehanzo” (image of the dying Buddha) as it looks like the sleeping image of Buddha. You can also see a sea of clouds early in the morning on a clear autumn day, as well a panoramic view of the Aso cityscape from the observation deck. This spot is also popular for astronomical observation. There are also souvenir shops and restaurants, so it is the perfect place for a leisurely sightseeing trip.
3. Nabegataki Falls (Aso County)
Next up is the famous waterfall Nabegataki. With a water drop of about 10m and width of around 20m, the surrounding of this waterfall is filled with an immaculate atmosphere. One of the most attractive elements of this waterfall is that visitors get to go to the back of the falls. The graceful movement of the water as it flows is so beautiful, that it looks like a lithe curtain when seen from the front or from the back.
4. Aso Shrine (Aso City)
Aso Shrine is a shrine that is dedicated to 12 deities, including Takeiwatatsu no Mikoto who is said to have discovered the land of Aso. It had many massive and beautiful valuable buildings, but they also suffered from heavy damage as a result of the major earthquake that occurred in 2016, including the collapse of the Sakuramon Gate (designated as a national important cultural property) and destruction of three temples that enshrined deities. Restoration works are currently underway, but the castle is still open for viewing. The local residents, along with all the people in the country, are praying for the early restoration of this famous shrine, just like with Kumamoto Castle.
5. Kusasenrigahama (Aso City)
Kusasenrigahama is known as the representative sightseeing spot in Aso. It is a place that offers a very beautiful contrast between the vast prairie that spreads at the crater on the northern foot of Eboshi-dake (Mt. Eboshi) – one of the five peaks in Aso – and the pond that is said to have been formed by the accumulation of rainwater. The idyllic landscape of cattle and horses grazing against the backdrop of Nakadake (Mt. Naka) that emits smoke is the perfect setting for a stroll in a tranquil atmosphere. Visitors also love horseback riding that allows them to go around the meadows.
The best way to go to Kumamoto from Fukuoka is via Shinkansen (bullet train), as you will get there in 33 minutes at the fastest. You can also go by plane or express bus, so you should definitely visit Kumamoto sometime!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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