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Kumamoto Trip (Last Touches) 2018/12/14 22:58
Hi All,

In around 2 weeks, I'll be taking my second last trip to Japan which will focus on Kumamoto Prefecture. I've got a car for 2 weeks and have already explored most of Kyushu, but will be leaving Kagoshima to the same time next year.

What I'm doing is posting my current plan of where I'm visiting and if there is any specific high quality gardens/temples/contemporary art of something highly kitchy, feel free to share. Note I've also posted before for inquiries so I've also got some backup plans but my accommodation is mainly downpacked.

December 30th: Fukuoka to Munataka Taisha - ferry to main island for shrines which can be visited. Also see Nakatsugu Shrine, Okitsugu Shrine, Munakata Shrine & Chinkokuji.

December 31st: Munataka to Amasuka - drive along tollways but stopping at Miyayidake Shrine (Fukusu), Nanzoin Temple (Fukuoka) & Misumi Nishiko Park (Oka).

Jan 1st: Amasuka Islands - Dolphin Cruise (booked), Shokakuji Temple, Sakitsu Church, Oe Church & Tomioka Castle.

Jan 2nd: Amasuka to Hitoyoshi - Amakusa Santa Maria Museum, Amakusa Christian Museum, followed by Yatsuhiro (Yatsuhiro Castle, Shohinken, Shunkoji Temple, Yatsuhiro Shrine)

Jan 3rd: Hitoyishi - Hitoyoshi Castle, Aoiaso Shrine, Bukekura, Eikokuji, Hitoyoshi Craft Park & Kyusendo Caves. Any other local attractions worth visiting here I'm interested in hearing about.

Jan 4th: Minamata via Izumi - Izumi (Izumi Crane Museum, Hakozaki Shrine, Fumoto Residence, Saishotei Residence, Takezoetei, Takemiya, Fumoto Museum), Minamata Museum, Ecopark Minamata

Jan 5th: Minamata to Kumamoto - Soho & Roka Museum, Minamata Disease Museum, Kengun Shrine, Suizenji Garden, Shimada Museum of Art, Honmyoji Temple, Reigando

Jan 6th: Kumamoto - Koizumi Residence, Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto Castle (outside visit), Hosokawa Residence (if open - I think it's closed), Kumamoto Art Museum, Kumamoto Zoo & Botanical Gardens. Any other suggestions welcome.

Jan 7th: Kumamoto to Aso - Aso Volcano Museum, Mt Aso, Aso Shrine. Any other suggestions welcome.

Jan 8th: Aso to Kurakawa Onsen - Manganji Temple, Nabegakaki Falls. Any other suggestions are welcome.

Jan 9th: Kurakawa to Ureshino via Yamaga - Sakurayu, Yamaga Lantern Museum, Yachiyoza, Yumekagora, Yamaga Museum, Kiyomizu Temple

Jan 10th: Ureshino (with Arita) - Saga Science Museum, Takeo Shrine, Takeo Library, Sakuramon, Arita Porcelain Park, Tozan Shrine, Kyushu Ceramics Museum, Okawashiyama)

Jan 11th: Ureshino to Daizaifu - Hizenhamashuku, Yutoku Shrine, Kamodo Shrine, Temman Gu Shrine, Komyozenji Temple, Kyushu National Museum

Jan 12th - Home....
by mfedley  

Re: Kumamoto Trip (Last Touches) 2018/12/15 14:04
It sounds very dramatic that this will be your last but one trip to Japan. Did you already settle on the next country you will explore in detail?

Regarding your itinerary the only potential point Ifd add is Yoshinogari historical park in Saga Prefecture. Specially if you like Asterix :-)

In Dazaifu there are also some more temples to explore and the old site of the administration. The temples are okay. Nothing overwhelming but maybe a nice contrast to the quite overvisited shrine in the center. The old place of administration is probably by car a 10 min stop as there isnft a lot to see anymore. But if you are there you could just pass by and have a quick look.

Enjoy your last but one trip to Japan!

Ps : looking forward to your posts.

by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Kumamoto Trip (Last Touches) 2018/12/15 15:07
Thanks for the info Likebike. I've still got one more trip after this one, as I also want to visit Yakushima and another island next to it where most of the Japanese space stuff happens.

I've also visited Yoshinogiri Park - it's pretty cool.

I've also already visited Dazaifu, but the main temple was closed when visited. One of the temples had a really impressive set of old statues which are some of the better ones I've seen in Japan. There were no photos inside of course.

I have not decided which place to explore next - but Japan is not the only place I travel to. For example, I'm visiting Vietnam in April and will probably visit Poland and Northern Spain in June/July. The life on an international teacher....
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Kumamoto Trip (Last Touches) 2018/12/17 08:02
I just went to where you mention, I think - Komyozenji - it's not just no pictures inside - it's no pictures period, and the garden was really photogenic. No way could I take the photo you have on your report. There was a polite enough but stern old lady keeping a hawk's eye over everyone. Never seen any place out of hundreds I've seen where you can't take a picture of a garden.
At any rate, there are lots of good places in the area - though your time of travel is not the best season. Near Aso, if you haven't driven up to Daikanbo when the weather is clear, you are in for a treat (if you have, sorry but I can't plow through all your reports). The Yamabuki Springhead is nice as well, plus the Kamishikimi Kumanoza Shrine. There are a few good tanada in the region too as well as the Kuju Flower Park, but it's the wrong time of year. Kikuchi Gorge is also nice and perfect with a car.
If you're going to Kyusendo, there is also Sogi Falls nearby (in Kagoshima, yes, but I don't know how strict you are). If you haven't seen the Ito Denemon house in Iizuka, Fukuoka, it is quite a place. A royal pain to get to if not driving (I wasn't), but you have that covered. It's the old home and killer garden of a coal tycoon from 120 years ago. It has Kyushu's first flush toilet, if such minutia interest you. It's closed Tue-Wed though.
Gyorakuen in Kawasaki is also a very nice small quiet garden
Not quite as nice as in the autumn pictures they show, but still nice.
by Ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Kumamoto Trip (Last Touches) 2018/12/17 08:53
That's a shame for the photos of the garden. But it must be pretty recent change. I went to it twice last year, and there was no problem at all to take pictures.
If that means however that you can enjoy it more, because they had to limit the number of tourist groups just coming in for a photo shot, I think that would still be fine with me. It is so far my preferred zen garden in Japan.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Kumamoto Trip (Last Touches) 2018/12/17 20:28
Thanks for the info Ken.

The temple you mentioned in Dazaifu I think is the correct one - but I'm not too worried if I can't take pictures inside. It's nice, but it's also a temple so I understand. I've also found that more temples which have a zen garden tend to not like having photos taken.

The Ito residence is probably my biggest predicament at present. It should be open on the normal day of the week I'm in the area, but it will be closed for New Years instead. I'll potentially visit it on the 11th of January depending on how I am going with time. I actually vaguely remember looking up this residence but took it off my list due to dates

As mentioned, I've not got much planned near Aso so I'll probably take up your suggestions. I also noticed the Kuju Flower Park as well but I'm visiting at a specific time - shame I'll also miss the plum blossoms this early though (I often visit in Feb).

If anyone has any other suggestions, I'll happily listen to them...
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Kumamoto Trip (Last Touches) 2018/12/19 10:12
Thank your uploading fantastic pictures.

If you will visit Reigan-dou famous for the legend samurai Musashi,
how about visitin Musashi-zuka and Shimada museum.
Also Kokura-hibun might be intresting.
by biwakoman rate this post as useful

Re: Kumamoto Trip (Last Touches) 2018/12/19 17:57
as always, i can just contribute good onsen: :-)

for 8th: since you are in the area, maybe you wanna try the famous river onsen of tsuedate onsen? (according to google only 15 minutes away)

by Glimpigumpi rate this post as useful

Re: Kumamoto Trip (Last Touches) 2018/12/19 17:58
by Glimpigumpi rate this post as useful

Re: Kumamoto Trip (Last Touches) 2018/12/20 11:09
by biwakoman rate this post as useful

Re: Kumamoto Trip (Last Touches) 2018/12/20 12:46
Thanks for the info guys! I will check it out.

Onto the person who mentioned the Shimada Art Museum - I'm planning to visit there already (but I had a really long list) when I visit Kumamoto. I'll think about the park for the samurai - my Japanese reading skills is almost non-existent which means that that there is only so much I can do there.

Onsens are the main reason for visiting Kumamoto and is one of the few things which I'll miss about
not visiting Japan in the future!
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Kumamoto Trip (Last Touches) 2018/12/26 14:23
Thanks for all of the help everyone. I've managed to change what I'm doing a bit, specifically for my quieter days.

Jan 7th - Kumamoto to Aso: Aso Volcano Museum, Mt Aso, Aso Shrine, Shirakawa Suigen, Kamishikimi Kumanoza Shrine.

Jan 8th: Aso to Kurakawa Onsen: Manganji Temple, Nabegakaki Falls, Kikuchi Valley, Tsuetate Onsen

The two residences in Fukuoka are unfortunately closed when I am visiting.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Kumamoto Trip (Last Touches) 2018/12/26 18:28
about the comment of biwakoman: i thought n is permanently closed currently due to renovation works after the earthquake? if not, then it is really worth going there!
by Glimpigumpi rate this post as useful

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