10 Things to Do in Yatsushiro, Kumamoto, Home of the World’s Heaviest Pomelo

  • Located in the center of Kyushu is the second largest city in Kumamoto. Explore this old castle town – here are some of the exciting things you can do in Yatsushiro!

    1. Visit the Yatsushiro Shrine

    The Yatsushiro Shrine was formerly called “Myoken-gu Shrine.” It hosts the yearly Myoken Festival, one of Kyushu’s three great festivals.

    Yatsushiro Shrine Website

    2. Learn about the history of Yatsushiro at the Municipal Museum

    The Yatsushiro Municipal Museum houses pottery, metalworks, and other artifacts that represent the different periods in the history of the city. It is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM every Tuesday to Sunday. Admission fee is 300 yen for adults and 200 yen for students.

    Yatsushiro Municipal Museum Website

    3. Examine the traces of the Satsuma Rebellion at Shunkoji

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    Shunkoji is the family temple of the Matsui clan that ruled Yatsushiro. During the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877, the temple became one of the battle sites and bullet holes can be found in the temple premises. Shunkoji is designated by Yatsushiro as an Important Tangible Cultural Property.

    Shunkoji Website

    4. Have a taste of local delicacies

    One of Yatsushiro’s specialty is chikuwa, a Japanese food made from fish surimi mixed with other ingredients and wrapped around a bamboo giving it its cylindrical shape. This local delicacy can be enjoyed roasted or grilled.

    In addition to chikuwa, other specialties in Yatsushiro include tofu pickled in miso, which came to be known as “mountain cheese,” and the Ayuya Sandai Bento Box, which is a popular bento that received the top spot in Kyushu’s Station Lunchbox Ranking for more than a year!

    5. Bring home an Okinjo doll

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    Made from Paulownia wood, this woodcraft was made in the likeness of a bathhouse attendant named “Okin” who was known for her beauty. The Okinjo doll is crafted by the Kuwabara Bamboo Ware Store.

    6. See the world’s heaviest pomelo

    Weighing 4,859.7 grams with a diameter of 28.1 centimeters, the Banpeiyu grown by the Kumamoto Prefectural Yatsushiro Agricultural High School earned the Guinness World Record for the heaviest pomelo in 2014. A replica of the record-holding pomelo was built and can be seen in front of the Yatsushiro City Hall.

    Banpeiyu is known for its refreshingly sweet taste and can be enjoyed raw or as a fruit jelly. 90% of Japan’s Banpeiyu are produced in Yatsushiro.


    7. Have a dip at Hinagu Onsen

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    Many legends surround the origin of Hinagu Onsen. One of which being that Hamada Rokuro discovered the onsen in 1409 based on a divine revelation when he prayed for a cure for his father’s sword wound. The onsen also became the designated Hosokawa Family Bakuei Onsen during the Edo period.

    If you are visiting in winter, you can try the Banpeiyu bath where Banpeiyu are made to float in the bathtub.

    Hinagu Onsen Website

    8. Enjoy the view from the “tea house on the seashore”

    Shohinken is a tea house built in 1688 by the feudal lord Naoyuki Matsui for his mother. It was named after the sound of the wind blowing through the pines when construction began. Flowers bloom in the garden and pond that surround the tea house throughout the four seasons, but Shohinken is best visited when the Japanese irises are in bloom between May and June. Shohinken was designated as a National Scenic Site in 2002.

    The tea house is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM every Tuesday to Sunday. Admission fee for adults is 500 yen.

    Shohinken Website

    9. Shop at Honmachi-Toricho Shopping Arcade

    Score the best deals at the second largest shopping district in Kumamoto! There is a variety of stores in this district including food establishments, liquor stores, music stores, apparel shops, and a whole lot more. You can find almost anything you need at this shopping arcade!

    Honmachi-Toricho Shopping Arcade Website

    10. Take a hike up Mt. Kunimi

    In the eastern part of Yatsushiro, you will find Mt. Kunimi. Go on a hike and see the breathtaking view from the summit of the highest mountain in Kumamoto that stands at a height of 1,739 meters.

    Mt. Kunimi Website

    There are many things to do in Yatsushiro all year round. Whether it is sightseeing or shopping, Yatsushiro has a lot of unique experiences to offer, making it a must-visit city when in Kumamoto!

    Yatsushiro Tourism Website

    Would you like to stay in Yatsushiro? Check out all the hotels in the area here!