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Kumamoto (熊本) is deeply proud of its greatest landmark, Kumamoto-jō, the castle around which the city radiates. Even though the castle suffered significant damage in the April 2016 earthquake, it remains a focal point of the city. There's a lively and tempting collection of restaurants, bars and shops in the busy arcades east of the castle.

Kumamoto City is also the gateway to the popular Aso-san region, known for its cooler summer temperatures and impressive volcano.

The 2016 earthquakes resulted in several deaths, and severe damage to roads and buildings in addition to Kumamoto-jō; damage to the castle alone was estimated at ¥63.4 billion, and much of the castle and several nearby buildings remain closed for restoration.