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Kumamoto

Kumamoto city goes by many names. Some call it fire country (Hi No Kuni), thanks to nearby Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan. Others refer to it as the forest capital (Mori No Miyako) because of all its trees. Travelers might remember it as "origin of the bear" - its literal translation - thanks to ubiquitous cartoon mascot, Kumamon, a multi-billion-dollar draw for the prefecture. Featuring Kyushu Island's lush, volcanic terrain and sub-tropical climate, Kumamoto blends stunning natural attributes with intriguing culture and historic attractions. The most famous landmark of the city is the 400-year-old Kumamoto Castle, the third largest in Japan, and certainly one of its most beautiful - particularly during cherry blossom season. The hilltop Takeda Castle Town is another historical site of note, now just ruins but breathtaking nonetheless, earning the nickname "Japan's Machu Picchu." Nature-lovers also find plenty to be captivated by in Kumamoto, whether it's gorges, waterfalls, flower gardens or volcanoes on the itinerary. For those with time, Mount Aso - an hour and 40 minutes from Kumamoto - is a popular destination. Its vast caldera measures upwards of 75 miles and its central cone comprises five different peaks, an irresistible draw for the hiking enthusiast.

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A frequent visitor to Japan, our General Manager Victoria Hilley loves the local food as well as petting the cute deer in Nara.
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