Kumamoto with Kids was the fourth day of our one-week road trip to Kyushu. We loved the walkability and trams of Kumamoto. It is a very friendly city with wonderful history. A must one day stop on your Kyushu road trip. Before you go on your Kyushu road trip download and printout this Kyushu Tourism map PDF and Kyushu driving map PDF. Also check out our packing recommendations for your Family Road Trip.
Kyushu with Kids Road Trip
Day 4: Kumamoto with Kids
Things to do in Kumamoto with Kids
- Ferry Ride from Shimabara, Nagasaki to Kumamoto
- Kumamoto Castle
- Kumamoto Prefectural Traditional Crafts Center
- Take street car to Shopping street and eat at Katsuretsu Tei (TONKATSU)
- Sakura Machi Mall Kumamoto (beautiful mall with green spaces), lovely view of Kumamoto Castle from the garden rooftop, Central Sport Fitness Gym, High end stores, indoor playspace
- Kumamoto Castle Museum WAKUWAKUZA
- Kumamoto Joshien Park
- Suizenji Jojuen
- Reigando Cave & Gohyakurakan
- KoKoPelli Cafe & Antique Shop near the cave
One Day Itinerary for Kumamoto with Kids – Kyushu One Week Road Trip
*Located a about a 30 min drive from downtown Nagasaki center
If you are traveling from Nagasaki to Kumamoto, we recommend taking a Kyushu Ferry from Shimabara to Kumamoto is a sixty-minute drive. For a car and five passengers, we paid about 4,500 yen. The ferry runs ten times per day between 7:00 – 18:00. You can make reservations online, but we had no problem driving up and loading on the boat within the hour. Park your car in the cargo hold and then head upstairs for a one hour ride to Kumamoto. There is a small coffee and snack shop on the 2nd floor.
Shimabara Ferry Port: 7-5 Shimokawashiri-machi, Shimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture
*Located a about a 30 min drive from the Kumamoto Ferry Port
Kumamoto Castle is a beautiful hilltop castle located in central Kumamoto. The original castle was built in the 1490s, but destroyed in the 1800s, and rebuild in 1960. It is considered one of the top castles in Japan with Himeji and Matsumoto Castles. Unfortunately, the castle sustained a lot of damage in the Kumamoto earthquakes on Aril 14th and 15th, 2016. The castle is open on Saturday and Sunday to tour some parts but closed other days. You can visit some of the property and get close enough to take photos, but unfortunately, there are still many cranes on the property.
Address: 1-1 Honmaru, Chuo Ward, Kumamoto, 860-0002 (Google Maps)
Admission Cost: Adults and high school students 500 yen, elementary and junior high school students 200 yen, 20% off for groups of 30 or more.
Parking: Parking on site for a few hundred yen, we parked for four hours and paid a little over 500 yen.
*Located at the base of Kumamoto Castle – 10 min walk from Kumamoto Castle Parking Lot
The Kumamoto Traditional Arts Center is a great place to view the arts and crafts of Kumamoto from basket weaving to ceramics. The craft museum on the second floor is a must-visit if you love traditional arts. It will give you a different perspective on the beauty of Kumamoto and Kyushu. On the first floor, you can also buy beautiful crafts from all around Kyushu.
Address: 3-35 Chibajomachi, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto City (Google map)
Hours: Closed Mondays (when Monday is a national holiday open, but closed Tuesday; all other days 9:00 – 17:00
Admission: Free to see the store; but for 2nd floor exhibits 210 yen for adults, and 130 yen University, HS and below kids free
Around the corner from the Kumamoto Traditional Arts Center we jumped on a street car for three stops to the Katsuretsutei Tonkatsu Restaurant. We had lunch at Katsuretsutei Kumamoto, rated the best Tonkatsu in Kumamoto and in the Michelin Guide. They serve delicious Tonkatsu, crunchy on the outside with juicy tender meat that melts in your mouth. They offer two sauces with your tonkatus, mild or spicy and unlimited servings of salad, miso and rice. English menu and kids menu available.
Address: 8-18 Shinshigai, Chuo Ward, Kumamoto 860-0803 (Google Maps)
Hours: 11:30 ~ 21:30 (LO21: 00) Daily
*Located a 10 min walk from Katsuretsutei Tonkatsu Restaurant
The Sakura Machi Mall is a beautifully designed mall at the base of Kumamoto Castle. It was floors of popular fashion brands, sports gym, day care center and a great roof top park where kids can play and parents relax with a coffee.
*Located a 10 min walk from Saura Machi Mall
Located in the tourist area of Sakura-no-baba Josaien, Wakuwakuza is museum where you can learn about the history of Kumamoto and Kumamoto Castle. In the corner titled “Tales of Past Kumamoto” on the first floor, you can watch a CG video that reproduces Kumamoto Castle of the Edo era. In the “Story Hall” on the second floor, short plays and guided virtual reality video of Kumamoto Castle are played every day. In the Sakura-no-baba Josaien you can shop in numerous souvenir stores and enjoy delicacies of Kumamoto.
Address: 1-1-1, Ninomaru, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto-shi (Google map)
Hours: 9:00 – 17:30 (entrance until 17:00)
Admission: 300 yen for adults, 100 yen for elementary and junior high school students
*Located a 15 min drive from Kumamoto Castle
One of the most beautiful and serene Japanese garden landscaped that we have visited in Japan. The garden is built around a natural spring pond with a tea shop. The garden has a mixture Mt. Fuji in the middle of it and a shrine and red tori gates that are lovely. At the tea house at the entry you can pay 550-650 yen for tea and a sweet while viewing the pond and garden. The Spring pond has crystal clear water that filters down from the Aso area. Takes about 30 -40 mins to tour the garden. Note: you can buy food for the ducks and koi at one of the small shops along the pond of a few hundred yen.
Address: 8-1 Suizenji Koen, Chuo Warm, Kumamoto City
Hours: March – October 7:30 – 18:00 (last admission 5:30). November – February 8:30 – 17:00 (last admission 4:30)
Admission: 400 yen for adults over age 16, 200 yen for kids 6-15 year
Reigando Cave & Gohyakurakan
*Located a 35 min drive from Suizenji Jojuen
Reigando Cave is a very spiritual and slightly spooky place. The cave was the hide away in 1643 of Miyamoto Musabi a legendary sword fighter and writer of the Book of Five Rings (Kindle). The cave is located on a hillside at the top of a stone pathway that leads from the temple of Unganzen Shrine. Along the pathway leading to the cave are 500 buddha statues; Gohyakurakan (Five Hundred Followers of Buddha). Each statue is uniquely carved with a wide range of facial expression. It takes about 35 mins from central Kumamoto.
Address: 589 Matsuomachi Hirayama, Nishi Ward, Kumamoto
Hours: Everyday 8:00 – 17:00
Admission: Adults 200 yen, children 100 yen
KoKoPelli Cafe & Antique Shop near the cave
KoKoPelli is a lovely cafe and antiques shop a stone’s throw from Unganji – Reigando Cave. They offer seasonal Asian and European dishes with local foods in this quaint 130 year old private home.
One Day Itinerary for Kumamoto with Kids – Kyushu One Week Road Trip
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Brighten up your Inbox with the Best Living Japan newsletter and never miss any great info. It is easy to sign-up. Just click here, and enter your email.