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Kumamoto City
Kumamoto montage.jpg
From top left:Central Kumamoto view from Kumamoto Castle, Kumamoto Castle, Kumamoto City Tramway, Fujisaki hachimangu shrine, Suizenji jojuen
Flag of Kumamoto, Kumamoto.svg
Emblem of Kumamoto, Kumamoto.svg
Kumamoto in Kumamoto Prefecture Ja.svg
Location of Kumamoto in Kumamoto Prefecture
Japan location map with side map of the Ryukyu Islands.svg
Red pog.svg
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 32°47′N130°44′E / 32.783°N 130.733°E / 32.783; 130.733 Coordinates: 32°47′N130°44′E / 32.783°N 130.733°E / 32.783; 130.733
Country Japan
Region Kyushu
Prefecture Kumamoto Prefecture
  MayorKazufumi Ōnishi [1] [2]
  Total389.53 km2 (150.40 sq mi)
(April 1, 2017)
  Density1,900/km2 (4,900/sq mi)
  Tree Ginkgo
  Flower Camellia
  Bird Great tit
Time zone UTC+9 (JST)
City hall address1-1 Tetori-honchō, Chūō-ku, Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto-ken
Website www.city.kumamoto.jp
A map showing Kumamoto Metropolitan Employment Area. Kumamoto Metropolitan Employment Area 2010.svg
A map showing Kumamoto Metropolitan Employment Area.

Kumamoto(熊本市,Kumamoto-shi) is the capital city of Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan.

Cities of Japan administrative division of Japan

A city is a local administrative unit in Japan. Cities are ranked on the same level as towns and villages, with the difference that they are not a component of districts. Like other contemporary administrative units, they are defined by the Local Autonomy Law of 1947.

Kumamoto Prefecture Prefecture of Japan

Kumamoto Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Kyushu. The capital is the city of Kumamoto.

Kyushu third largest island of Japan

Kyushu is the third largest island of Japan and most southwesterly of its four main islands. Its alternative ancient names include Kyūkoku(九国, "Nine Countries"), Chinzei(鎮西, "West of the Pacified Area"), and Tsukushi-no-shima(筑紫島, "Island of Tsukushi"). The historical regional name Saikaidō referred to Kyushu and its surrounding islands.


As of April 1,2017, the city has an estimated population of 737,812 [3] and a population density of 1,900 persons per km2. The total area is 389.53 km2.

Population All the organisms of a given species that live in the specified region

In biology, a population is the number of all the organisms of the same group or species, which live in a particular geographical area, and have the capability of interbreeding. The area of a sexual population is the area where inter-breeding is potentially possible between any pair within the area, and where the probability of interbreeding is greater than the probability of cross-breeding with individuals from other areas.

Population density A measurement of population numbers per unit area or volume

Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume; it is a quantity of type number density. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and most of the time to humans. It is a key geographical term. In simple terms population density refers to the number of people living in an area per kilometer square.

Greater Kumamoto(熊本都市圏) had a population of 1,461,000, as of the 2000 census. As of 2010, Kumamoto Metropolitan Employment Area has a GDP of US$39.8 billion. [4] [5] It is not considered part of the Fukuoka–Kitakyushu metropolitan area, despite their shared border. The city was designated on April 1, 2012 by government ordinance.

Urban Employment Area Definition of metropolitan areas

Urban Employment Area is a definition of metropolitan areas, defined by the Center for Spatial Information Service of the University of Tokyo. Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry defined 233 areas for the UEAs of Japan. It is different from the definition of metropolitan areas defined in census by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. For the latter scheme, see the List of metropolitan areas in Japan article.

Fukuoka–Kitakyushu Urban Employment Area in Fukuoka Prefecture

Fukuoka-Kitakyushu Greater Metropolitan Region is the most common name given to the region comprising the metropolitan areas of the cities of Fukuoka and Kitakyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan and in between. Alternate names are many, including Kitakyushu-Fukuoka Greater Metropolitan Region (北九州・福岡大都市圏), Northern Part of Kyushu Greater Metropolitan Region (北部九州大都市圏)


Katō Kiyomasa, a contemporary of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, was made daimyō of half of the (old) administrative region of Higo in 1588. After that, Kiyomasa built Kumamoto Castle. Due to its many innovative defensive designs, Kumamoto Castle was considered impregnable, and Kiyomasa enjoyed a reputation as one of the finest castle-builders in Japanese history. After Kiyomasa died in 1611, his son, Tadahiro, succeeded him. Tadahiro was removed by Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1632, replacing him with the Hosokawa clan. The current administrative body of the City of Kumamoto was founded on April 1, 1889.

Katō Kiyomasa daimyo

Katō Kiyomasa was a Japanese daimyō of the Azuchi–Momoyama and Edo periods. His court title was Higo-no-kami. His child name was Yashamaru, and first name was Toranosuke.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi Japanese daimyo, warrior, general and politician

Toyotomi Hideyoshi was a preeminent daimyō, warrior, general, samurai, and politician of the Sengoku period who is regarded as Japan's second "great unifier". He succeeded his former liege lord, Oda Nobunaga, and brought an end to the Warring Lords period. The period of his rule is often called the Momoyama period, named after Hideyoshi's castle. After his death, his young son Hideyori was displaced by Tokugawa Ieyasu.

The daimyō were powerful Japanese feudal lords who, until their decline in the early Meiji period, ruled most of Japan from their vast, hereditary land holdings. In the term, dai (大) means "large", and myō stands for myōden(名田), meaning private land.

Near the end of World War II, on July 1, 1945, Kumamoto was bombed in an Allied air raid, which destroyed a square mile, 20% of the city's area. [6] After the war, the Japanese Buddhist monk Nichidatsu Fujii decided to construct a Peace Pagoda atop Mount Hanaoka in the city to commemorate all those lost in war and to promote peace. [7] Inaugurated in 1954, it was the first of over 80 built by Fujii and his followers all over the world. [8]

Air raids on Japan aerial bombing of Japan during the Pacific War

Allied forces conducted many air raids on Japan during World War II, causing extensive destruction to the country's cities and killing between 241,000 and 900,000 people. During the first years of the Pacific War these attacks were limited to the Doolittle Raid in April 1942 and small-scale raids on military positions in the Kuril Islands from mid-1943. Strategic bombing raids began in June 1944 and continued until the end of the war in August 1945. Allied naval and land-based tactical air units also attacked Japan during 1945.

Nichidatsu Fujii Japanese Buddhist monk

Nichidatsu Fujii was a Japanese Buddhist monk, and founder of the Nipponzan-Myōhōji order of Buddhism. He is best known world-wide for his decision in 1947 to begin constructing Peace Pagodas in many locations around the world as shrines to world peace.

Peace Pagoda

A Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa; a monument to inspire peace, designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds, and to help unite them in their search for world peace. Most peace pagodas built since World War II have been built under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii (1885–1985), a Buddhist monk from Japan and founder of the Nipponzan-Myōhōji Buddhist Order. Fujii was greatly inspired by his meeting with Mahatma Gandhi in 1931 and decided to devote his life to promoting non-violence. In 1947, he began constructing Peace Pagodas as shrines to world peace. The first was inaugurated at Kumamoto in 1954.

On February 1, 1991, the towns of Akita, Kawachi, Tenmei and Hokubu (all from Hōtaku District) were merged into Kumamoto. On October 6, 2008, the town of Tomiai (from Shimomashiki District) was merged into Kumamoto. On March 23, 2010, the town of Jōnan (also from Shimomashiki District) and the town of Ueki (from Kamoto District) were merged into Kumamoto. [9]

Akita was a town located in Hōtaku District, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan.

Kawachi was a town located in Hōtaku District, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan.

Tenmei was a town located in Hōtaku District, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan.

A series of earthquakes struck the area beginning April 14, 2016, including a tremor with moment magnitude 7.1 early in the morning of April 16, 2016, local time. [10]



Kumamoto has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with hot summers and cold winters. Precipitation is significant throughout the year, but is much heavier around the summer, especially the months of June and July.

Climate data for Kumamoto, Kumamoto (1981–2010)
Record high °C (°F)22.5
Average high °C (°F)10.5
Daily mean °C (°F)5.7
Average low °C (°F)1.2
Record low °C (°F)−9.2
Average rainfall mm (inches)60.1
Average rainy days (≥ 0.5 mm)
Average relative humidity (%)70676766687577737269727171
Mean monthly sunshine hours 132.6139.5158.5181.4187.2141.0184.5211.0175.9189.7153.0147.52,001.8
Source: Japan Meteorological Agency [11] [12]


Kumamoto Castle Kumamoto Castle 02n3200.jpg
Kumamoto Castle

The city's most famous landmark is Kumamoto Castle, a large and, in its day, extremely well fortified Japanese castle. The donjon (castle central keep) is a concrete reconstruction built in the 1970s, but several ancillary wooden buildings remain of the original castle, which was assaulted during the Satsuma Rebellion and sacked and burned after a 53-day siege. It was during this time that the tradition of eating basashi (raw horse meat) originated. Basashi remains popular in Kumamoto and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in Japan, though these days it is usually considered a delicacy.

Within the outer walls of Kumamoto Castle is the Hosokawa Gyobu-tei, the former residence of the Higo daimyō . This traditional wooden mansion has a fine Japanese garden located on its grounds.

Miyamoto Musashi lived the last part of his life in Kumamoto. His tomb and the cave where he resided during his final years (known as Reigandō, or "spirit rock cave") is situated close by. He penned the famous Go Rin no Sho ( The Book of Five Rings ) whilst living here.

Kumamoto is also home to Suizen-ji Jōju-en, a formal garden neighboring Suizenji Temple approximately 3 kilometers southeast of Kumamoto Castle.

A notable shrines are Takahashi Inari Shrine, Fujisaki Hachimangū.

Suizenji Park is also home to the Suizenji Municipal Stadium, where the city's football team, Roasso Kumamoto used to play regularly, but nowadays they use the larger KKWing Stadium in Higashi Ward.

The downtown area has a commercial district centred on two shopping arcades, the Shimotori and Kamitori, which extend for several city blocks. The main department stores are located here along with a vast number of smaller retailers, restaurants, and bars. Many local festivals are held in or near the arcades.

Cultural venues include the Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art and Kumamoto Prefectural Theater.

Kumamoto has a prefectural mascot, "Kumamon". Kumamon is a black bear with red cheeks. [13]

The first of many peace pagodas around the world was erected by Japanese Buddhist monk Nichidatsu Fujii atop Mount Hanaoka beginning 1947. [14] Inaugurated in 1954, it was the first of over 80 built by Fujii and his followers all over the world. [15]


Kazufumi Ōnishi has been the city's mayor since December 2014. [16]


Map of Kumamoto's wards Wards of Kumamoto city.png
Map of Kumamoto's wards

Since April 1, 2012, Kumamoto has five wards (ku):

Working mother incident

In November 2017, Kumamoto politician Yuka Ogata was forced to leave the Kumamoto municipal assembly because she had brought her baby. [17] The incident was reported by international media as an example of the challenges facing women in Japan. [18]


Kumamoto city tram KumamotoCityTram.jpg
Kumamoto city tram

Local public transport is provided by the Kumamoto City Transportation Bureau. Trams run to a few suburbs near the downtown area. A large bus terminus, called the Kotsu Centre, provides access to both local and intercity destinations. JR Kumamoto station provides rail links to Japan's extensive rail network. On March 12, 2011, work on the shinkansen (high-speed bullet train) network was completed, establishing a direct high-speed rail link to Tokyo via Fukuoka's Hakata station. Several local taxi companies serve the Kumamoto metropolitan area and are the only 24-hour public transport in the city.

Kumamoto Airport is located in nearby Mashiki.


There is a local football club Roasso Kumamoto in J.League. Kumamoto Volters of the basketball B.League are based in Kumamoto.

Sporting events

The Kumamoto Castle Marathon is a yearly event in Kumamoto City. It was established in commemoration of Kumamoto becoming a designated city in 2012. [19] The 1997 World Men's Handball Championship was also played in town.


Notable people

Sister cities

Kumamoto City is twinned with the following cities.

Related Research Articles

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Kumamoto Castle castle

Kumamoto Castle is a hilltop Japanese castle located in Chūō-ku, Kumamoto, in Kumamoto Prefecture. It was a large and well fortified castle. The castle keep is a concrete reconstruction built in 1960, but several ancillary wooden buildings remain of the original castle. Kumamoto Castle is considered one of the three premier castles in Japan, along with Himeji Castle and Matsumoto Castle. Thirteen structures in the castle complex are designated Important Cultural Property.

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Higo Province province of Japan

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Jōnan, Kumamoto human settlement in Japan

Jōnan was a town located in Shimomashiki District, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan.

Shimomashiki District, Kumamoto district of Japan

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Ueki, Kumamoto human settlement

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Kumamoto Domain Japanese historical estate in Higo province

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Fujisaki Hachimangū Shinto shrine

Fujisaki Hachiman-gū (藤崎八幡宮) is a Shinto shrine located in Chūō-ku, Kumamoto, Kumamoto, Japan. It is dedicated to Emperor Ōjin, Empress Jingū and Sumiyoshi Sanjin.

Honmyō-ji Buddhist temple in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan

Honmyō-ji (本妙寺) is a Buddhist temple of the Nichiren sect, Rokujōmon-ryū (六条門流), in Nishi-ku, Kumamoto, Japan. It is the most high-ranking temple of the sect in Kyushu. In Honmyō-ji is the grave of Katō Kiyomasa, (1562–1611), a Japanese daimyō, builder of Kumamoto Castle and a dedicated buddhist of Nichiren Buddhism.

Katō Shrine Shinto shrines in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan

Katō Shrine is a shrine in Kumamoto Castle, Chūō-ku, Kumamoto, Kumamoto, Japan, in which daimyō or powerful territorial lord Katō Kiyomasa (1562–1611) is enshrined. Alongside Ōki Kaneyoshi and Kin Kan, who made junshi, are enshrined.

History of Kumamoto Prefecture Prefecture in Kyūshū, Japan

The history of Kumamoto Prefecture has been documented from paleolithic times to the present. Kumamoto Prefecture is the eastern half of Hinokuni, and corresponds to what was once called Higo Province. Exceptions are the part of Kuma District, which had once been part of Sagara Domain, and Nagashima which was included in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Kumamon mascot created by the government of Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan

Kumamon (くまモン) is a mascot created by the government of Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. It was created in 2010 for a campaign called to draw tourists to the region after the Kyushu Shinkansen line opened. Kumamon subsequently became nationally popular, and in late 2011, was voted top in a nationwide survey of mascots, collectively known as yuru-chara, garnering over 280,000 votes. Following his success in the contest, Kumamoto earned ¥11.8 billion in merchandising revenue for the first half of 2012, after having only earned ¥2.5 billion throughout all of 2011. Kumamon enjoys tremendous popularity throughout the world.


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  5. Conversion rates - Exchange rates - OECD Data
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