How to go from Fukuoka to Kumamoto ?
With a Japan Rail Pass
Let's discover the journey between Fukuoka and Kumanoto !
Travel with the Kyushu shinkansen
The fastest Mizuho trains run non-stop between these two stations, but you are not able to use these with the Japan Rail Pass. Sakura Shinkansen is also a good option as most trains don’t stop between Kurume and Kumamoto.
51 km - 0H27 - Kurumeachikugo-Funagoya station
Another town with a lot of onsen on offer, feel free to get off and have a wander around and jump in a hot bath. Head east from here to the hills outside Yame town to discover some of the largest tea gardens in Japan as well as numerous burial mounds dating back to the 4th-7th centuries, dotted around the area.
69 km - 0H31- Shin-Omuta station
A town that prospered during the coal boom, hosting one of the biggest coal mines in Japan, Miike Mine, until its closure in 1997.
90 km - 0H39 - Shin-Tamana station
As with many bullet train stations, this is a few miles out of town so you would need to take a bus or taxi to visit the onsen in Tamana. See also Renge-in Tanjo-ji, a Buddhist temple with one of the largest Peace Bells in the world and a beautiful, modern 5-story pagoda nearby.
118 km - 0H40 - Kumamoto station
What to see ?
This is the highlight of the town and consists of a lot of different buildings spread out over a large area. Unfortunately the original building was burnt in battle at the end of the 19th century and this is a modern replica. There are great walls and moats that give you a sense of the time and energy it took to build this castle and even an underground passage to nearby buildings.
Due to April 2016 earthquake, the castle was closed for renovation. It has reopened to the public since June 2021. Visitors can still admire the castle from the outside, where volunteer guides provide information on the progress of the site.
Former Hosokawa Residence
If you want to know what it was like to be a high-ranking samurai and live in luxury, make a visit to this villa, which has been restored to the height of its glory and is located in the large Kumamoto Castle Park.
Open daily except December 29 to 31, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., ¥300.
A garden built to recreate the 53 stops on the old Tokaido post route from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto, in miniature. There is a very good representation of Mt. Fuji, though you may not get near it due to the tour groups having the obligatory photo taken there.
Open daily, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., ¥400.
Where to Stay ?
Higoji Guest House 民宿 肥後路
The guest house is very basic and simple. Its charm is truly the owner, who will pick you up at Kumamoto Station and give you useful information and help you plan out how to spend your day in Kumamoto.
4-39-31 Kasuga, Kumamoto, 860-0047 / Tel : 09-6352-7860
Nikko Hotel Kumamoto ホテル日航熊本
A luxury hotel located in the centre of the city, within a walkable distance from Kumamoto Castle. 15 minutes by tram from JR Kumamoto Station.
2-1 Kamitori-cho, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto, 860-8536
Tel : 09-6211-1111 / link to the website
Where to eat ?
Red Lan Tei
This popular restaurant is just outside of Kumamoto Castle. They serve a local Kumamoto, Chinese-inspired dish called Taipien. From the Kumamotojostreet car station, go east (opposite Kumamoto Castle), take the first left.
Open daily, 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Tel : 09-6352-7177 / www.kourantei.com
Link to Google map.
Tofu Kissho とうふ吉祥
An inexpensive, but plentiful set lunch of tofu prepared in many different ways, on your way to or from Kurokawa Onsen. Located east of the Kurokawa Onsen bus stop, just before the post office, on the opposite side of the road.
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Fridays / Tel : 09-6744-0659