Ureshino Onsen Town → Take the JR Kyushu bus back to Takeo Onsen Station (40 min) → Take the Limited Express Midori to Shin-Tosu Station (40 min) and transfer to the Kyushu Shinkansen → Take the Kyushu Shinkansen to JR Kumamoto Station (25 min) → Take the Kagoshima Main Line to JR Ueki Station (12 min) → Take a taxi to Kichijien (15 min) and enjoy fruit picking → Take a taxi back to JR Ueki Station, then take the Kagoshima Main Line back to JR Kumamoto Station → Take Kumamoto City Tram Route A to Suizen-ji Koen Station (35 min) and go sightseeing at Suizen-ji → Take Kumamoto City Tram Route A back to Suido-cho Station (12 min) and visit Kumamon Square, then walk to Kumamoto Castle (about 7 min) and Sakuranobaba Josaien → Accommodation at a hotel in Kumamoto; enjoy a meal and shopping in the shopping district.
Extended Stay Option: Meeting Wild Dolphins
The coastal waters beneath the Five Bridges of Amakusa are home to some 200 to 300 wild dolphins; this is a great spot to see wild dolphins year-round!
Kumamoto is Japan's fourth-largest producer of mandarin oranges (satsumas), and has a growing reputation as a wine-producing region as well. You can take advantage of the bountiful local produce at tourist farm Kichijien, which is located to the northwest of Kumamoto’s city center surrounded by large swaths of mandarin orange trees. Depending on the season, here you can pick several varieties of grapes (Kyoho, Rosario Bianco, Beni Zuiho, etc.), apples, mandarin oranges, pears, strawberries and more.
Address: 1033-1 Kitome, Ueki Town, Kita-ku, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture
Access: About 15 minutes by taxi from JR Ueki Station
6. Suizen-ji Garden
Suizen-ji Garden is designed as a miniature replica of the 53 Stations of the Tokaido, the famous stopping points along the Edo-Period (1603-1868) road running from Nihonbashi in Tokyo to Kyoto’s Sanjo Ohashi. The carp in the garden's pond will all gather when people approach, and you can even feed them. You'll also find Izumi Shrine located within the garden. According to legend, drinking the water from the spring here will bring you long life. Enjoy a cup of tea while admiring the scenic gardens!
Address: 8-1 Suizenji Joju-en, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture
Access: 5 minutes' walk from Suizen-ji Koen Station
7. Kumamon Square
Kumamon Square is the main office for Kumamon, selected as Japan’s most popular mascot character in 2011. Kumamon is the official mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture, and this is where all his activities are organized, be they local or overseas. If you want to know anything about Kumamoto or Kumamon, this is the place to go!
Address: 8-2 Tetori-honcho, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto
Access: 1 minute's walk from Suido-cho Station
8. Kumamoto Castle
One of Japan’s Three Famous Castles, Kumamoto Castle was built by the daimyo Kato Kiyomasa between 1601 and 1607. While the central keep burned down in 1877, it was restored in 1960, and a dozen original buildings remain. Kumamoto Castle will surprise you with its majesty and history. It's also one of the prime spots for viewing the cherry blossoms in Kumamoto.
The interior of the castle is currently inaccessible, but you can see the central tower and its surroundings from the adjacent Ninomaru Square and Kato Shrine.
Address: 1-1 Honmaru, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture
Access: About 7 minutes' walk northwest of Kumamon Square
Dining Recommendations (Kumamoto City)
Taipien is one of Kumamoto’s most famous delicacies, though it originates from China. It's a kind of vermicelli soup flavored with chicken and pork bones, exquisitely prepared and extremely delicious.
A delicious taste that rivals that of tuna sashimi, you can try out the delicacy of basashi (raw horse meat) at a restaurant called Umasakura. You can find a few branches in and around the Shimotori Shopping Arcade in Kumamoto's city center.