Kumamoto Prefecture, the home of Kumamoto University, is located in the center of Kyushu and boasts a unique history and culture, fresh groundwater and abundant nature. The capital, Kumamoto City has been flourishing as a castle town since 1607 when Kumamoto Castle was fortified by Lord Kiyomasa Kato, a military commander. The city presently has a population of over 700,000, and continues to develop as an administrative, economic and cultural center and as a base for health care and education in the middle of Kyushu.
The climate is relatively mild with the annual average temperature around 16℃, and a precipitation of 1500〜2400mm. The seasonal difference in temperatures is significant, for example it isn’t unusual for the temperature to exceed 35℃ in summer and fall below 0℃ in winter.
Kumamoto University is located in the center of Kumamoto City. The city’s cultural facilities such as museums, galleries and theaters as well as City Hall and sightseeing spots such as Kumamoto Castle, one of the 3 greatest castles in Japan can be easily reached by bicycle, in around 10 to 15 minutes. There are parks with greenery in every corner of Kumamoto City, earning the city the name ‘Forest City’. Abundant groundwater provides all the drinking water for the city. No other city in Japan can make such a claim. In addition, there are many impressive sightseeing spots located just an hour’s drive away from the university, such as Mt. Aso which is one of the largest calderas in the world, and the Amakusa archipelago, which boasts over 100 large and small islands.
阿蘇五岳 The Five Peaks of Aso
（通称 阿蘇山 Commonly known as Mt. Aso）
The Five Peaks of Aso is a very popular symbol of Kumamoto Prefecture, the Land of Fire. Mt. Aso is an active volcano which has erupted time and time again from the olden days to the present day. It is a popular sightseeing area dotted with hot springs, sightseeing and leisure spots.
The beautiful islands which make up the Amakusa archipelago are very charming. The “Amakusa Pearl Line” is the name given to the route which includes the “Five Bridges of Amakusa” that connect Kumamoto and Amakusa. Viewing the scenic coastline full of islands of all shapes and sizes is a truly enjoyable experience. Fishing, marine sports and dolphin watching are also popular activities here.
温泉 Hot Springs
One of the things that make Kumamoto “The Land of Fire” so appealing is the variety of hot springs located in every corner of the prefecture such as Kurokawa Onsen. Kumamoto has many hot springs to offer which are popular with locals and tourists alike.
Kumamoto City is located in the center of Kyushu and is easily accessed from other prefectures by rail or road, or by utilizing the airports and ports. The Kyushu Shinkansen bullet train, which you can catch at Kumamoto Station, connects Kumamoto to Fukuoka in 35 minutes, and Kumamoto to Osaka in 3 and a half hours.
Kumamoto’s city center, City Hall, Kumamoto Castle and Suizenji Park can be reached by the streetcars (Kumamoto City tram), which run conveniently through the city. The government administration offices, along with many scenic and historical spots are also located along the streetcar line.
As the land is generally flat within Kumamoto City, many students cycle from one place to another.
Furthermore, thanks to Kumamoto’s proximity to Fukuoka and other major cities in Asia it is easy to connect to the rest of the world via South Korea, Taiwan or China.