Saturday, January 16, 2010

Winter Vacation - Kumamoto

After a three hour video call with the family back home Christmas morning, I jumped on a train to the airport and caught a flight to Fukuoka with my friend and fellow ALT, Danielle. We got in, jumped on another train, and headed to Kumamoto. We stayed in a minshuku, or what is essentially a bed and breakfast. This one came recommended from the Lonely Planet and was cheap at only 3,000 yen a night but it was pretty dirty. But the owner picked us at the station and took us back again in the morning so we were able to endure it for one night.

With our bags stowed in a train station locker, we headed on over to Kumamoto Castle, one of only three black castles in Japan. Inside, they had a recently renovated palace. Normally, when you visit a castle in Japan you only get to see the "defense" portions of the castle and while climbing crazy steep steps to see the view from the top of the donjon is fun, it was really nice to see some of the luxury that past rulers lived in. There was none of the rich furnishings that you see at places like Versailles, but instead just long empty rooms of tatami mats with gorgeous paintings on the screens. The best were the gold ones in what was the "throne" room.





Then we headed over to Suizenji Park. It was very nice. There was a pond, a temple, and an ode to Mt. Fuji. We had tea and manju and then we headed back to the station where I made us miss the train to Aso. With an hour and a half to kill before the next we settled in with drinks and a spicy mustard lotus root treat that is a specialty of Kumamoto.


Fake Fuji.


mustard renkon
So delicious!

Next stop: Aso. With volcanos and more samurai.


  1. How did you make yourself miss the train?

  2. That's a poor excuse for Fuji...when are you coming to see the real thing?!

  3. I know. I was not impressed.

    All of my weekends are free so far in February so you just tell me when and I'll be there!