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Kumamoto City
Pic: iStock.com/Sean Pavone

Kumamoto City

Located on the island of Kyushu, on the more southern side of Japan, Kumamoto may not be the most accessible city to visit. But once you arrive, you’ll realize it’s well worth the short plane journey from mainland Japan. The area is home to incredible, untouched, and diverse natural beauty, like the smoldering Mt. Aso volcano. But there’s also the city’s food, booze and creativity that’s as vibrant as any other in Japan—making it a strong contender for ‘Japan’s most underrated city.’

Kumamoto City View
Kumamoto, Japan downtown skyline at dawn. | Photo by iStock.com/Sean Pavone

It is worth noting that in April 2016 the city was rocked by a devastating earthquake which claimed a number of lives and caused destruction within and outside the city limits. However in the following years, the people of Kumamoto have shown incredible resilience, and ingenuity and the city is well and truly back in action. If you’re in town for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, you have plenty to look forward to! Here’s a little roadmap on where and how to best enjoy the city.

What to see and do in Kumamoto

Kumamoto is a castle city, so the best place to begin your exploration is by visiting the Kumamoto Castle to appreciate not only its ancient history but its more modern history too. Also known as Kumamoto-jo, the castle was initially built in 1607 and remained intact up until April 2016 when the whopping magnitude 7.0 mainshock earthquake shook the structure into pieces. However, today the castle’s reconstruction is in progress, and the way it’s being constructed is very unique. As a way to preserve the structure’s legacy, the castle is being rebuilt using its original stones, which are being put together piece by piece in their original position, just like a massive 3D jigsaw puzzle.

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