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Today, follow your guide to explore central Kumamoto on foot or with the use of its tram to see Kumamoto Castle
and Shuizen-ji Joju-en Garden
. The inner grounds of Kumamoto castle will be closed to the public, due to the severe damages caused by the April 2016 earthquake.
After that, head out by private bus/car to National Park Aso Daikanbo
. This is the ideal starting point for a trek on Mount Daikanbo, the perfect spot from where the five peaks in Aso can be viewed. There are also shops and restaurants/cafes in the park, offering nice refreshments before or after the trek/hike.
Continue to Aso Shrine
and surrounding shopping arcade. The shrine is one of Japan’s many Shinto shrines and has around 2,500 years of history. Strolling around the shrine, visit traditional shops and taste the “prized water” from one of the 20 fountains and water sources in the area. Have lunch in a local restaurant in Mount Aso.SUGGESTED ITINERARY 2
Alternatively, enjoy a 3-hour drive by private bus/car to visit the onsen town of Beppu to see the nine Jigoku (“hells”), unique hot springs that are only good for viewing and not for bathing due to their extreme temperatures. Located here are red, blue, and white jigoku, even a hot spring with crocodiles in it. Have lunch in Beppu.
After lunch, head to today’s final destination, Takachiho Gorge. Tonight, enjoy watching ‘Takachiho Kagura Dance’ at Takachiho Shrine. Outside the official season for Takachiko yokagura, the ceremonial dance performance can still be enjoyed in the version known as Takachiho Kagura. A performance of four representative dances from the kagura repertoire of 33 dances is held every evening from 20:00 to 21:00, at the Kaguraden performance hall on the grounds of the Takachiho Shrine.
Overnight in Takachiho.