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Relaxed and friendly Kyushu

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Japan, 〒860-0002 熊本県熊本市中央区本丸1−1
Just before Kumamoto Castle was set to open on a recent Saturday morning, a pack of serious-faced samurai walked up like they owned the place. They went through a side door and then opened the Hohoate Gomon gate to welcome the crowd with a hearty,...
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3-1 Furukyōmachi, Chūō-ku, Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto-ken 860-0007, Japan
Kumamoto Castle gets all the attention in this town, but an equally impressive piece of history is a short walk away and shouldn't be missed. Kyu-Hosokawa Gyobutei is the manor of a 17th century samurai clan. The city of Kumamoto relocated it to...
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3 Chome-15 Kasuga, Nishi Ward, Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefecture 860-0047, Japan
Kumamoto Station's eki stamp is located just outside the turnstiles of the east exit. If you're exiting those turnstiles, it will be on your left tucked away in a little alcove. If you don't see it, ask the information desk directly in front of...
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Japan, 〒862-0950 Kumamoto-ken, Kumamoto-shi, Chūō-ku, Suizenji, 6 Chome−20, 熊本市中央区水前寺6丁目20−24
Every region of Japan has its own take on ramen, and Kyushu is the master of rich tonkotsu broth made from pork bones. The noodles tend to be straight, thin, and firmer than other styles. Ajisen Ramen is a chain based in Kumamoto that has spread...
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Japan, 〒860-0807 Kumamoto-ken, Kumamoto-shi, Chūō-ku, Shimotōri, 1 Chome−9−8 銀座ビル 1F
Full-bodied beer can sometimes be hard to find in Japan among the endless supply of light lagers. So when I walked past a sign with a lederhosen-wearing boy gulping from a beer stein, I had to check this place out. It has half a dozen decent...