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Exploring Around Kumamoto and Nagasaki

Writer: Ken Fajriansyah Firdaus Photographer: Adianto Tanata & Reinardus Darren Editor: Kinar Nisa H.

Have you decided where you want to visit in Kyushu region when Spring break begins? I guess you are still wondering about interesting places to go. If you are, then this article is just the thing you need! In this WHAT’S GOOD article, we are going to give you some ideas about traveling around Kyushu region, specifically in Kumamoto and Nagasaki.

Kumamoto is the capital of the wider Kumamoto prefecture and is part of Kyushu region. Like other cities in Japan, Kumamoto has a sensational castle as well as an active volcano mountain, Mount Aso. Thanks to that, the city becomes well known as 火の国 which means ‘The country of fire’.

Kumamoto Castle

Kumamoto Castle is probably the main attraction in the city. This castle was built in the early 1600s and was a large, well-fortified castle. The castle was considered to be one of the premier castles in Japan, along with Himeji Castle and Matsumoto Castle, but due to a great earthquake the castle had been reconstructed in 2016. Nevertheless, it is still worth visiting even if it means just to take photographs of the impressive exterior of the building. You can discover a large Japanese garden which is set around a scenic lake, which is called Suizenji-jojuen, another main attraction in Kumamoto. Once you arrive there, you will feel relaxed and compelled to take a walk around the garden, especially in the afternoon when the light makes the garden look even more beautiful, the garden is also a recommended dating spot in the city.

If you’re interested in arts and crafts, the Kumamoto Prefectural Traditional Craft Centre is going to be the best place to visit in the city. You can find lots of crafts pieces such as the famous Higo Zogan gold inlay metal-craft, wood and bamboo crafts, ceramics, folk toys, and knives. One of the great things in the Traditional Craft Centre is that you can buy a variety of crafts and give them as souvenirs or gifts!

Chibajo Annex is also located in Kumamoto. This Museum of Art was built with a Spanish architectural style by two famous Spanish designers who came to Japan. Why should we go to this museum? Because we can see a lot of artworks on display in this museum, and the unique Spanish architectural style makes this building stand out from all the Japanese-styled buildings. The aesthetics of this museum also makes the place very Instagram-able.

Nagasaki is a city that's known for being one of the two cities that were hit by atomic bombs during the second world war, and most of the attractions in this city are linked to this depressed period in the history of Japan. Nagasaki has a strong Dutch presence in the city, as we can see canals and windmills in this part of Japan. Do not forget, Nagasaki has the best street food in all over Japan! One of the main monuments of the bombing is the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, which will take you through a dark time in the city’s history. For example, photos and items from that period were found after the bombing. Galleries of stories that were compiled from survivors can be viewed in the museum.

If you want to experience something different in Nagasaki, try to visit Oura Cathedral. It is a Catholic Church that dates from 1886 and was initially established in the city by French missionaries. Additionally, it claims to be the oldest church of its kind in Japan and was built when Christianity was banned across the country. For those who are curious about the history of Christianity in Japan, this place is probably one of the best places to visit.

The Dutch Slope is a stone-paved street leading up a side in Nagasaki, where many foreign traders resided after the opening of the city's port to foreign trade in 1859. This place has a distinctly European style which can be seen from its houses and streets, as well as the structure of the building and the furniture inside. For those who are interested in Dutch history in Japan, this place will be perfect for you to visit.

Meganebashi is a great bridge that looks like an eyeglass. It’s a 17th-century stone bridges still exists until now and is Japan’s oldest stone bridge. This is one of the places where couples often visit. I think it’s really cute to bring someone special with you here and ask them to go out on a date with you. Don’t forget to try and spot a heart-shaped stone near the bridge and make a wish for eternal love!

To summarize it, traveling to Kumamoto and Nagasaki will make your spring break awesome, especially when there are really lots of cool spots to visit. Bring your family, friends, and beloved ones, and surely it can be one of the best experiences in your life!

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