Yamaga

Background

The sleepy town of Yamaga in the North of Kumamoto was once a bustling and vibrant settlement due to its prime location on the old Buzen Kaido,  the main route that ran between northern and southern  Kyushu. Yamaga was also wealthy  due to its rich agricultural lands formed by the Kikuchi River plain. Yamaga rice was highly valued for its quality and taste.The land of the Kikuchi valley has been settled since ancient times, Japan’s largest collection of Kofun burial mounds can be found here. The town is also famed for its hotsprings favoured by the Kumamoto Lords and visited by the revered swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. The traditional Kabuki theatre ‘Yachiyoza’ built by local merchants over 100 years ago still attracts large audiences.

Things to see and do

Modern day Yamaga may at first glance seems like any other small country town but in its heart and spirit tradition runs strong. This is symbolised by its stunning and unique lantern festival which takes place in mid August.  The beautifully restored 1910 Yachiyoza theatre is the town’s centerpiece. The old Bunko Kaidan street is  also worth strolling around with several interesting oldfashioned gift and antique shops, cafes and restaurants.

The Yamaga Lantern museum situated in the old Meiji era bank is also worth visiting particularly to watch the paper craftsmen at work fashioning intricate paper lanterns and architectural models in an artform unique to the area. The famous Yamaga onsens, favourites of the Kumamoto Lords, are also nearby.

There’s also an easy cycling trail along the riverside and into the lush green countryside where you can see the ancient Kofun burial mounds that are abundant in this area. You could spend the whole day in Yamaga or combine it with a trip to Kikuchi Valley Gorge or Kikuchi Castle.

Take a look at Explore Kumamoto’s Yamaga and Kikuchi One Day Tour

Below you will find activities and sights you can explore in and around Yamaga. Click on the picture links to find out more. Then why not plan your own custom made guided or self-guided tour and contact Explore Kumamoto for a quote.

All the world's a stage is the theme behind this wonderful tour taking in the top cultural and natural sights of the north Kumamoto region. First
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Rent a Bicycle What better way to explore the city and beyond than by renting a bicycle for a day. Kumamoto City is a great place to
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Decorated Tumulus Museum You may be wondering what exactly a decorated tumulus is! If so,  read on and find out why you should visit the Decorated Tumulus
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Experience the  old town of Yamaga in the traditional way with a handpulled rickshaw ride. The 20 minute course costs 1500 Yen per person. Maximum
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Yamaga Lantern Dance Festival - Yamaga Toro Matsuri 山鹿吐露祭 in Japanese, is held on the evenings of August 15th and 16th in the city of
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The town of Yamaga is situated an hour's drive north of Kumamoto City. In its heyday, over a hundred years ago, Yamaga was a prosperous, bustling agricultural town
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The Yamaga Lantern Craft Museum,  灯籠民芸館, introduces the history and culture of the traditional craft of paper lantern making. This rare and extraodinarily delicate paperwork
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