Top things to do

Top Choice Bar in Kumamoto

Good Time Charlie

Charlie Nagatani is a living legend, the 'Johnny Cash of Japan', the founding figure behind the country's entire country music scene, and an accomplished musician and songwriter. He earned the rank of Kentucky Colon…
Top Choice Castle in Kumamoto

Kumamoto-jō

Dominating the skyline, Kumamoto's robust castle is one of Japan's best, built in 1601–07 by daimyō Katō Kiyomasa, whose likeness is inescapable around the castle (look for the distinctive tall pointed hat). From 16…
Top Choice Cafe in Kumamoto

Andcoffeeroasters

Delightful boutique coffee shop with freshly roasted beans and a 'tart of the day', such as persimmon or Earl Grey. Coffee nerds will feel right at home with the rich lattes, creamy cappuccinos and other speciality …
Top Choice Gardens in Kumamoto

Suizenji-jōjuen

Southeast of the city centre, this photogenic lakeside garden represents the 53 stations of the Tōkaidō (the old road that linked Tokyo and Kyoto). The miniature Mt Fuji is instantly recognisable, though much of the…
Top Choice Izakaya in Kumamoto

Kome no Kura

This black-walled, quietly chic izakaya (Japanese pub-eatery), with cosy private booths and hori-kotatsu (well in the floor for your feet) seating, has a whole menu of Kumamoto specialities along with standard fare.…
Top Choice Izakaya in Kumamoto

Yokobachi

Yokobachi's leafy courtyard and open kitchen are distinctive. Stand-out small plates include spicy tebasaki (chicken wings), an inventive Caesar salad with sweet potato and lotus root chips, delicately fried mābō-do…
Bar in Kumamoto

Bar Rose

Bar Rose (not to be confused with Rose Bar, nearby!) is a quiet, polished-wood place with rows upon rows of liquor glowing on glass shelves. Stools are plush and comfy, and it's where you come to have a relaxing cou…
Bar in Kumamoto

Rock Bar DAYS

Recently celebrating its 20th year, this dark bar caters to the grunge crowd. Request a tune and they will dutifully find it in the vast library of over 6000 primarily foreign CDs that adorn the walls. Dance if you …
Ramen in Kumamoto

Ramen Komurasaki

This ramen joint is next to Yoshinoya at the north end of the Kamitōri Arcade. The signature 'king ramen' (¥700) is garlicky, cloudy Kumamoto-style tonkotsu (pork) broth with bamboo shoots, julienned mushrooms and c…
Chinese in Kumamoto

Kōran-tei

Next to a Swiss pastry shop on the Shimotōri Arcade, this glossy restaurant has an endless menu. Enjoy the action on the arcade as you tuck into taipien ('bean thread noodle with veggies' on the English menu; ¥750),…