Kumamoto Half-Day Private Tour with Nationally-Licensed Guide

This value-packed trip with a nationally-licensed and experienced multilingual tour guide is a fantastic and efficient way to explore Kumamoto!

Kumamoto, located on Kyushu island in southern Japan, strikes a perfect balance between a bustling city fringed by tranquil countryside. The center of the city features its greatest landmark, Kumamoto-jo castle, but a tempting collection of restaurants, bars and shops can also be found nearby.

Let us know what you would like to experience, and your guide will arrange a four-hour tour that’s best for you!

Note*1: Please select your must-see spots from a list in the tour information to create your customized itinerary.
Note*2: The Nationally-licensed Tour Guide-Interpreter certification is issued by the Japanese government requires a good knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture and history.
* Duration: 4 hours
* Starts: Kumamoto, Japan
* Trip Category: Cultural & Theme Tours >> Historical & Heritage Tours




This value-packed trip with a nationally-licensed and experienced multilingual tour guide is a fantastic and efficient way to explore Kumamoto!

Kumamoto, located on Kyushu island in southern Japan, strikes a perfect balance between a bustling city fringed by tranquil countryside. The center of the city features its greatest landmark, Kumamoto-jo castle, but a tempting collection of restaurants, bars and shops can also be found nearby.

Let us know what you would like to experience, and your guide will arrange a four-hour tour that’s best for you!

Note*1: Please select your must-see spots from a list in the tour information to create your customized itinerary.
Note*2: The Nationally-licensed Tour Guide-Interpreter certification is issued by the Japanese government requires a good knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture and history.

Itinerary
This is a typical itinerary for this product

Stop At: Kumamoto Castle, 1-1 Hommaru, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto 860-0002 Kumamoto Prefecture

Kumamoto Castle (熊本城, Kumamotojō) is one of the most impressive castles in Japan. With large castle grounds and a variety of buildings, Kumamoto Castle offers its visitors one of the most complete castle experiences in Japan.

Only a few structures have survived the centuries since the castle’s construction in 1607 intact. The castle keep and most other buildings are modern reconstructions, but the reconstructions are mostly of a high quality and new buildings are continually being added. With about 800 cherry trees, the castle becomes a popular cherry blossom spot usually in late March and early April.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Suizenji Jojuen Garden, 8-1 Suizenji Park, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto 860-0956 Kumamoto Prefecture

Suizenji Garden (水前寺成趣園, Suizenji Jōjuen) is a spacious, Japanese style landscape garden in Kumamoto, best enjoyed by strolling along a circular path. It was built by the Hosokawa family in the 17th century.

The garden reproduces the 53 post stations of the Tokaido, the important road, which connected Edo with Kyoto during the Edo Period, in miniature form, including a small Mt. Fuji.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Former Hosokawa Mansion, 3-1 Furukyomachi, Kumamoto 860-0007 Kumamoto Prefecture

The Former Hosokawa Residence (旧細川刑部邸, Kyū Hosokawa Gyōbutei) is the former residence of a branch family of the Hosokawa Clan, the powerful clan that ruled over Kumamoto during the Edo Period. The building is a great example of a high-class samurai mansion.

After the end of the feudal era, Gyobutei was moved to a different location in 1873, but was re-located to Kumamoto Castle Park and beautifully restored in the 1990s. It is now open to the public and displays the typical design of a highly ranked samurai’s residence of the Edo Period.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Lafcadio Hearn House, 2-6 Anseimachi, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto 860-0801 Kumamoto Prefecture

Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904), known in Japan under his Japanese name Koizumi Yakumo, was among the first Western authors to write books about Japan. His most famous works include “Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan” and “Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things”.

Hearn immigrated to Japan in 1890 and spent the rest of his life there. After spending a year in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, Hearn resided several years of his life (1891 to 1894) in Kumamoto City. Today, his former Kumamoto residence (小泉八雲熊本旧居, Koizumi Yakumo Kumamoto Kyūkyo) is open to the public and contains a small museum about the author.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Sakuranobaba Josaien Tourist Information Center, 1-1-3 Ninomaru, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto 860-0008 Kumamoto Prefecture

Josaien is a tourist establishment that houses the specialty dishes and souvenirs of Kumamoto. At Josaien, you can try specialties that are unique to the region, such as the Salad Chikuwa (deep-fried fish cake with salad inside) and the Ikinari Dango (sweet potato and bean paste wrapped in dough). The Tourist Information Center offers pamphlets and local maps in English, Chinese, and Korean, as well as coin lockers that you can use for free.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Shimotori Shotengai, 1 Chome-3-10 Shimotori, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto 860-0807 Kumamoto Prefecture

Shimotori Arcade is the largest shopping arcade in Kumamoto Prefecture, measuring 511 m in length and 15 m in width. Visited by more than 50,000 people each day, it is a place that is lined with department stores, boutiques, and eating and drinking establishments. It is also often used as a venue for performances by street musicians and exhibits by various groups. There are many izakaya (Japanese pubs) and bars here that are open until late at night, so it is also famous as a nighttime entertainment district.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto, 2-3 Kamitoricho, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto 860-0845 Kumamoto Prefecture

Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto (CAMK) is a museum that mainly exhibits contemporary art. At the museum, you can appreciate works integrated with the actual building at various spots inside the hall, including James Turrell’s light canopy and Marina Abramovic’s bookshelves that come with a bed. The museum is attached to the Home Gallery, where you can browse art books and manga (Japanese comics), as well as a Kids Salon where families can enjoy picture books and picture story shows. There are also planned exhibitions that give a glimpse into the art culture of Kumamoto.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Hanaokayama Park, 4-1581-1 Kasuga, Nishi-ku, Kumamoto 860-0047 Kumamoto Prefecture

Hanaokayama is a hill which offers you great views over the city and it is particularly pretty if you trek here in the evening when you can catch the twinkling lights over the city.

If the weather is good then you can even see as far as Mount Aso, steaming away behind Kumamoto.

It takes around 15 minutes to trek to the summit of the hill, or you can also travel there by car, but it is more than worth the effort to get to the top as you can also check out a small hillside temple which is topped with a shrine gate known as a torii in Japanese.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Soseki Natsume Uchitsuboi Old House, 4-22 Uchitsuboi-machi, Kumamoto 860-0077 Kumamoto Prefecture

Soseki Memorial Hall is dedicated to Natsume Soseki who was a writer who would have lived during the Meiji period and who died in 1916. The memorial hqll is based in his former home which dates from the 1870s and this also used to be an English school.

One of the main reasons to come here is to check out the period architecture as well as the ornate Japanese garden that surrounds the building.

From the house you can also walk to the serene Tsuboi-gawa River.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Kumamoto Prefectual Traditional Crafts Center, 3-35 Chibajomachi, Kumamoto 860-0001 Kumamoto Prefecture

If you want to check out some arts and crafts while you are in Kyushu then the Kumamoto Prefectural Traditional Crafts Centre is one of the best places to do it.

Here you will find a huge number of different crafts pieces such as ceramics, glass ware and wood carvings, and there are even ornate Yamaga lanterns on display.

One of the great things about the center is that you can also buy many of the pieces on display here which make excellent souvenirs or gifts.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Shimada Museum of Arts, 4-5-28 Shimasaki, Kumamoto 860-0073 Kumamoto Prefecture

The Shimada Museum of Art is one of the smaller museums in Kumamoto but it is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Here you will find a number of galleries which are dedicated to items such as calligraphy pieces and scrolls which were painted by Miyamoto Musashi who was an artist and a famous samurai warrior who would have lived in Kumamoto in the 16th century.

The museum also has a number of galleries dedicated to the work of contemporary artists from the region so art lovers should make sure not to miss this off the itinerary.

Duration: 1 hour