Suizenji Azuma Sushi Restaurant

Tengaiten

The Keystone Garden

Tofu Kissho

The "plum" set meal at Tofu Kissho The restaurant is located just steps away from the Kurokawa Onsen Tourism Office Tofu is cooked in a nabe pot at every table Most travelers who come to Kumamoto's top-rated hot springs town of Kurokawa Onsen splurge and spend the night in a ryokan, where the staff feed invariably […]

Taoli Cantonese Cuisine

3 kinds of yum cha and main dishes Soup as an appetizer Salad Coconuts tofu with a beautiful cream An elegant and composed space to dine in the hotel Look for this entrance Cantonese restaurant Taoli is located on the second floor of Hotel Nikko Kumamoto. It offers a great deal with its lunch set […]

Tre Passo Pizzeria

Fresh salads are a great starter for Tre Passo's pizzas Thin crust perfection with a variety of toppings Tiramisu for dessert Fresh salads are a great starter for Tre Passo's pizzas The sign at the bottom of the hill doesn't say much more than “pizza” but it doesn't have to. That was enough to entice […]

Uoichi

Spiny lobster sashimi is the first dish in one of Uoichi's special kaiseki courses Soup of spiny lobster The cozy counter at Uoichi If you're craving something above and beyond the typical conveyor belt sushi, it's worth seeking out the fish specialists at Uoichi in the back streets just south of Kumamoto's Lake Ezu. While […]

Walet Cottage Cafe

This hidden cafe is very inviting Sparrow is the trade mark of the cafe Chilling out & chatting in a relaxing garden Can’t stop staring at the scones for take away Should try scone and hand made jam buttons, lace and everything nice Hidden away on a narrow street, Walet is nestled among houses in […]

Yasuragikan

The tasty (and cheap) hiyashi udon lunch The restaurant is housed in a geodesic dome  The interior is spacious, offering both regular tables and tables on the tatami If you need a place to grab lunch while visiting the Decorated Tumulus Museum or the adjacent flower garden, a short drive from the city of Yamaga, look […]

Basashiya Masashi in Asakusa

The basashi sample plate Senba Hide steak–better than beef! Horse sukiyaki, prepared and served by the restaurant staff at your table More of the sukiyaki Amakusa Daiyo–specially raised chicken from Kumamoto Basashi – raw horse sashimi The basashi sample plate (Photo: Basashiya Masashi) If you are a fan of Japan's unique regional cuisines, you will […]

Aso Farmland Health Challenge Hall

Ring stretch – you have to be quick to touch the flashing button Ride Balance – quickly step on the lighted panels Limbo wave – go to the other side whilst avoiding the bars Pushfull – touch the sparkling buttons quickly Put on the special exercise shoes here Genki Stadium is part of Health Challenge […]

Aso Farmland

Dome shaped hotels The hot spring facilities Kids love the climbing activities A maze activity The dome-shaped hotels up close The entrance Colorful lights illuminate the park at night Aso Farmland is a park near JR Kyushu Akamizu Station where you can rest, stay, eat, play, and buy. There are many hot springs available within […]

Aso-Kuju National Park

You don’t need a signpost or a guide to tell you when you have entered Aso-Kuju National Park. From the moment you cross into its boundaries in the very heart of Kyushu there is something different in the air as you enter rolling fields that exude an effortless gravitas before ultimately culminating in the Aso […]

Aso Milk Farm

The “cow cart” makes its rounds The kids’ play area Cows at the Aso Milk Farm The “cow cart” makes its rounds For most Japanese, the chance to see a cow in its “natural habitat” is quite a rare occasion. Which is why the tour buses pour in on a regular basis to the Aso […]

Bridgestone Golf Range in Kumamoto

Providing excellent guidance, even from the basics The entrance looks like a retro mountain hut from the outside There is plenty of space for a large number of students Providing excellent guidance, even from the basics (Photo: Yui Yamaguchi) Golf can be said to be an internationally enjoyed sport that men and women of all […]

Cherry Blossoms at Kumamoto Castle

A castle tower covered in a colorful blanket of cherry blossoms Fallen petals; the first of many colorful sights! Countless Cherry trees lining the main road leading up to Kumamoto Castle A lantern contrasting against the pink leaves Several colorfully dressed entertainers making their way up to the castle entrance Whatever the weather, the cherry […]

Cherry Blossoms at Ichifusa Dam

Glorious cherry blossoms along the shoreline Cherry blossom trees continue everywhere Contrast of pale color of cherry blossom and green mountains Individual flowers look like this Drop in to one of the various food stands Fully bloomed cherry blossoms at Mizukami Junior High School You can also drive along the waterfront Ichifusa Dam within Kuma […]

Cuddly Dominion

The entrance to Cuddly Dominion One of the residents of Cuddly Dominion The Chinese Zodiac Park The entrance to Cuddly Dominion If hiking and soaking in the hot springs of the Mt Aso region starts to feel a bit repetitive, you can change things up a bit with a visit to the animal park of […]

Cycling in Mifune

Cycle into the open fields and blue skies of Kumamoto Kumamoto Prefecture is a great place for cycling. Old stone bridges and gentle streams punctuate your stroll or cycle in Mifune, Kumamoto Prefecture Time to get on the bike and take in the country air in Mifune Undulating lane ways, fresh air and lack of […]

Driving the Milk Road to Daikanbo

A currently smoking Mt Aso can be seen from the Daikanbo lookout on Aso's scenic Milk Road From the lookout, it's very clear to see the extent of the old Aso volcano, before it collapsed in upon itself many millenia ago You can also see over to the Kuju Range in Oita Prefecture In winter, […]

Exploring the Japanese Countryside

Clouds reflecting in a rice field Sunset over the rice fields Tabacco Farming Seen on the side of a road in the middle of nowhere A storm closing in Cherry blossoms in Mizukami I am lucky enough to be working as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) for the JET Programme. What this entails, aside of […]

Fall Foliage in Gokanosho

A tree turns colors deep in the mountains of Gokanosho Maple leaves ablaze The mountains near the Umenoki Todoro waterfall Peak season is from late October to mid-November A view from the Umenoki Todoro Suspension Bridge A fiery maple in Gokanosho Gokanosho may well be one of Kyushu's best-kept secrets. This mountainous area – once […]

Fruit Picking Fun in Kumamoto

Terraced fields at Yuhouen Fruits Land Rows and rows of ripe fruit Our guide explains how to pick mandarin oranges Tasting space for visitors Seasonal fruit cake at Yuhouen Fruits Land Pear varieties at Hirano Orchard There’s nothing sweeter than picking fruit just for you and eating it right away, perched on a crate in […]

Kagoshima to Fukuoka by motorbike

Panaroma on the open road Sakurajima Ferry Lake Ezuko, Kumamoto, Kyushu Island Panaroma on the open road (Photo: Groucho) Let me introduce the 3 Blind Mice motorcycle touring club founded in Osaka, Japan in 1993 by one Scot, one Aussie and an Englishman, none were blind nor mice, but read on. The Aussie, Steve Leave […]

Higokko Jungle

The large playground of Higokko Jungle The toddler playground A close-up of the large jungle gym The large playground of Higokko Jungle It can be tough to take your kids on vacation. Endless restaurant meals, long train or plane rides, and hours spent in museums and galleries can test the patience of even any veteran […]

Hiking Tawarayama

The summit of Tawarayama Windmills near the start of the trail A view of Tawarayama from a distance Gazing out over the Aso valley Hikers enjoying the view The Aso Gotake (five peaks) Tawarayama, in the Minami Aso area, is one of the most popular day hikes in Kumamoto. A trail winds straight up the […]

Holiday Illuminations at Hilltop

A train shoots for the sky at the Saishunkan Hilltop Illuminations Cinderella's castle and her coach cover the front lawn This being Kumamoto, of course the popular mascot Kumamon puts in an appearance The Saishunkan company's Hilltop campus outside of Kumamoto City puts on the biggest and arguably best holiday light display in the prefecture. […]

Honmyo-ji

A quiet subtemple in the Honmyo-ji complex Two lanterns hang over the temple's offering box A statue of Kumamoto ruler Kato Kiyomasa stands on the hill above the temple Honmyo-ji, the temple of one of Kumamoto's most famous ruling families, stands in a quiet suburb just behind the city's impressive castle. While few travelers venture […]

Kayaking in Soyo Gorge

Tomosuke Noda, canoeist, told Makoto Shina that he can see a different view each time he paddles.  It's hard to keep the balance and the kayak shakes when you get on, but the instructor can hold it for you.   This is a picture of Kyushu's countryside with the dazzling sun and yellowish green.  We were […]

Kikuchi Castle

The drum tower at Kikuchi Castle Park A shot of the drum tower’s intricate design The long barracks The rice storehouse, with the drum tower in the background The extensive grounds of the park Another view of the park’s few reconstructed buildings The drum tower at Kikuchi Castle Park More than a millennium ago, before […]

A Natural Wonder: Kikuchi Gorge

Kikuchi Gorge in Kumamoto Prefecture A tree frames the river at Kikuchi Gorge Hiking path along the river The river running through Kikuchi Gorge Kikuchi Gorge has several waterfalls Another section of the hiking trail Kikuchi Gorge in Kumamoto Prefecture When I moved to Kumamoto last year, I was told by locals that my new […]

Kumamoto Amakusa Utase Sailing

Looking forward to a great days fishing trip heading out to the Amakusa Islands in Kumamoto Prefecture in South Western Japan (Photo: Iyu Mura) Kumamoto Utase historical boat in full sail off Amakusa Islands (Photo: Iyu Mura) The kind obasan and oyasan preparing the boat but we were so excited we couldn't wait to go […]

Kusasenri Plateau

Horses trek across the Kusasenri Plateau You can see the steaming Nakadake Crater in the distance A good overview of the area can be found from the car viewpoint above the plateau It may come as a bit of a surprise to reach the top of Mt Aso and find a flat expanse of grassland […]

Kyusendo

Going ahead inside of the cave. Kyushu's longest limestone cave, Kyusendo, was discovered in 1973. The entrance of the cave. My attention was taken by the sign "Be aware of bats!" There are some explanations inside the cave. This is called flow stone.  The stalactites and stalagmites grow 1 mm per year. Interesting shape of stalagmite. Kyusendo is […]

Kyushu’s Mount Aso

The main crater is famous for constantly venting its thick smoke Situated within the Aso-Kuju National Park, Mount Aso sits on the world’s largest active crater The barren and rocky environment is one of the first things to grab your attention A Jizo statue placed at the main entrance of Mount Aso’s main crater Even […]

Visiting Lafcadio Hearn’s Residence

The exterior of the Lafcadio Hearn house in downtown Kumamoto A scroll with Hearn’s portrait sits in the home’s tokonoma (alcove) A plaque of the author in the garden The exterior of the Lafcadio Hearn house in downtown Kumamoto Lafcadio Hearn – an Irish-Greek author and Japanophile who is best known for his ghost stories […]

Lake Ezu

Even on a cloudy day the views were lovely The lake provided stunning reflections all around An interesting restaurant on the water Boats for rent to paddle around on the lake Autumn leaves to enjoy around the lake The lakeshore provided a lovely afternoon walk Lake Ezu (Ezuko in Japanese) provides a great getaway into […]

Mizukami Country Park Hoihoi Hiroba

Fully bloomed cherry blossoms framing the spacious lawn Spacious park By challenged by the obstacle track Kids’ play ground Bamboo walk Discover spring in the grasslands 100 m slide, so long! You get to be brave to try? Turn into this park once you see this sign Mizukami Country Park has an obstacle course, long […]

Trekking Mt. Aso

Toxic gas clouds are released in the air Kusasenri pond A dormant volcano View from road down to town center The Kusa-senri plateau Toxic gas clouds are released in the air Toxic gas clouds are released in the air The island of Kyushu is known for its volcanic activity, and Mt. Aso—an active volcano with […]

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