10 Spots in Kumamon's Birthplace, Kumamoto.

It's no longer an exaggeration to say that Kumamoto Prefecture's sales department's mascot, Kumamon, has become "the World's Kumamon." It's not just me who has been struck by his zeal for his PR work or his vigorous dancing. If you went to Kumamoto, the place where Kumamon, who is full of love and affection, was born, where would you go?


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He's a friendly character with a loveable expression that has fascinated a great number of people. As expected of the head of a sales department. If you get the chance to step foot in Kyushu, you can find surprises in Kumamon's birthplace Kumamoto prefecture.

"His name comes from 'Kumamotomon' (someone from Kumamoto). In the Kumamoto dialect, the '-sha' or '-jin' suffix in Tokyo Standard (meaning person) is pronounced as 'mon'."
"According to a screenwriter from Amakusa, Kumamoto, Koyama Kundou, you can discover lots of surprises every day in Kumamoto. Since they want to teach other people about that, or possibly appeal Kumamoto's charms to the world, they proposed the motion to create a 'Kumamoto Surprise' campaign."


Kumamon Square

This is an institution built to promote Kumamoto's products and tourist attractions.
There's not only Kumamon's "director's office" and "director's desk," but if you time it right you might be able to even meet Kumamon!
Becaue the streetcar runs right in front of Kumamon Square, it seems like it's become a sight-seeing spot.
The schedule of when Kumamon is available is listed on their homepage.
Address: Tetoria Kumamoto Building 1st floor, 8-2 Tetorihoncho, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto-ken
Phone number: 096-327-9066

Yamaga Onsen


The thick quality of this spring's water is gentle on your skin.
It's a hot spring where you want to carefully enjoy it in the autumn and winter.
Especially since the long-beloved "Sakura Onsen" has undergone the latest renovations, the feeling of the Meiji Era has been regained.
The "Tatsu no Yu" bath that only the feudal lords and his callers were able to use has also reappeared.
Because this was built using splendid beams from old buildings and used as-is, this is also a place for people with an interest in architecture.



Did you know that "Mt. Aso" isn't a mountain?
"Mt. Aso" is the popular name for the whole place where the famous caldera Aso Gogaku sits.
In 2009, 8 towns and villages in the Aso area designated the "Aso Geo Park" with the theme of a union between nature and humans.
In order to express respect for Mother Nature's power, there are many shrines in the vicinity.
Aso is a place where you go to understand from experience that the Earth is alive.

Kumamoto Castle



You too can become lord of a castle!
Kumamoto Castle has already hit 400 years since construction, so large-scale renovations have become necessary. Because of that, they're taking applications for the "one word castle lord." You can name the castle tower.
Because of the story that Katou Kiyomasa resolved to go against the shogun and usher in Toyotomi Hideyori, they created luxurious spaces and loopholes.
This is a place that people who love history simply can't miss.
They've also revived the art of cooking handed down from the time of the Kumamoto fiefdom, and you can make reservations to eat at "Honmaru Gozen."

Dolphin watching in Amakusa

In Amakusa, there's almost a a 100% chance you'll be able to see dolphins. Probability speaking, there's almost no way you wouldn't go.
Watching dolphins playing in the ocean heals the heart. It seems like you'd forget how long you're standing there...
Since there are a few dolphin watching boats, please double-check the price at the following link.

Aso Roadside Station

There's all sorts of delicious things in the Aso area!
Offering things like Akaushi beef hamburgers, famous sweets, leaf mustard dishes, it's a place where you can fill your stomach while you're going for a drive.
You should definitely stop by if you're touring around Aso or going around the shrines.
Since Aso is surrounded by many mountains, the water is delicious, so all the vegetables from this area are also delicious.

Uto Marina Roadside Station

Its location is within sight of the Shimabarawan Sea.
Also, you can enjoy the seasons through the sales of seafood such as octopus and oysters. They also have sashimi meals, fresh ikura-don, fresh chanpon, and other meals all for a moderate price.
While you're enjoying a drive along the seashore, it's a spot where you can happily fill your stomach as well.



This has been designated as a important national cultural property.
This was built in 1911 by the town's "dannashou" (a group of businessmen with assets.)
It was a kabuki theater industrial enterprise.
Later, it was also used for naniwabushi story-telling, manzai comedic routines, concerts by the Fukuoka Philharmonic, and other events that reflected the era. As TVs became household goods, its frequency of use also fell.
Because it became designated as an important cultural property in 1988, the name once more become well known.
Since it has been preserved well and there are many documents from the time it was built, it's understood that it was a beloved establishment in the area.
You should experience the luxurious Yachiyoza at least once and see the history that it has lived through.

Marumiya (Natto Factory Tour)

If you're talking about Japanese dietary culture, you can't leave out natto.
At Marumiya, they open the doors to schools and organizations for tours.
Have you ever wondered how that mysterious food is made?
Also on the factory premises, they sell freshly-made soy products.
Because for things like tofu, if the water it's made with isn't clean then it won't be tasty, it can be said that this is an establishment that reveals the beauty of Kumamoto's water.
Only the mail-order site is open, but you can inquire yourself about tours.

Explore with "Kuma Photo"!

This is an app for smartphones called "Kuma Photo."
In all the places mentioned in this article, there are signs that say "Kuma Photo Marker."
In those places, if you have this app, you can take a photo with a CGI Kumamon.
The Kumamon Photo Markers are limited to sightseeing places within Kumamoto and in the Tokyo Ginza Kumamoto Building.
If you want to take a picture with a drawn Kumamon anywhere, you definitely need to install Kumamon Fan.
(Kuma Photo Markers were set up in 2013, and are subject to change)

Kyushu Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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