Amakusa and Kumamoto 3-day sample trip plan: Midwest Kyushu 3 days

Amazing dusk at Okoshiki beach

I will show you 3-day sample trip plan of the midwest Kyushu from Fukuoka. This trip plan covers these following spots:

✔ Amakusa World Heritage Site visiting
✔ Dolphin watching in Amakusa
✔ Memorable sunset in Okoshiki beach
✔ Kumamoto

Overview

3-day trip route map
The blank map provided by CraftMAP

On the first day, take the Shinkansen to Kumamoto and then catch the express bus to Hondo in Amakusa. Upon arrival, you will board a sightseeing bus to visit the World Heritage sites of Amakusa.

On the second day, in the morning, enjoy a dolphin watching tour, And then take an express bus to Matsushima in Amakusa. From there, take a cruise to Misumi and take a train to the Okoshiki beach. After enjoying the sunset, head to Kumamoto by a train.

On the third day, we will return to Hakata after sightseeing in Kumamoto, such as Kumamoto Castle.

JR Pass and Kyushu Rail Pass cover Hakata to Kumamoto round trip and a local train ride from Misumi to Kumamoto via Oda (near Okoshiki beach).

Day 1, Hakata – Kumamoto – Hondo

Kyushu Shinkansen Tsubasa
The Kyushu Shinkansen fleet 800 series for Tsubasa and a few Sakura

On the first day of trip, you will take the Kyushu Shinkansen from Hakata to Kumamoto and then transfer to a local bus of Sanko Bus for Hondo in Amakusa.

After arrival in Hondo, have a quick bite and then take a tour bus to visit the spots in World Heritage Site, “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region.”

Itinerary

TimePlace and transporation
08:39Hakata station
The Kyushu Shinkansen Sakura 407
09:18 / 09:38Kumamoto station
Sanko Bus local bus
12:02 / 12:50Hondo bus terminal
Sightseeing bus “Amakusa Gurutto Shuyu Bus” Course B
17:45Hondo bus terminal

Highlights

Sakitsu Village

Sakitsu village amakusa
Sakitsu church over the fishing harbor

Sakitsu Village is one of the sites of UNESCO World Heritage site was a hidden Christian village located in southern Amakusa islands. It is a village where Buddhism, Shintoism, and Christianity co-exist, and and a godly fishermen live for many years. The scenery of a beautiful church in a typical fishing village facinates visitors.

Oe Catholic Church

Oe church amakusa
The exterior of Oe Church

The Oe Catholic Church on the hill was erected by the French missionary Father Garnier and is characterized by the Romanesque style.

Day 2, Hondo – Matsushima – Misumi – Okoshiki beach – Kumamoto

On the second day of trip, you will participate in another tour which is a dolphin watching tour.

In the afternoon, take a bus from Hondo to Matsushima. You will cross the bridge by bus on the way to Amakusa, but on the second day, you will take a boat to return from Matsushima in Amakusa to the mainland.

After that, take a local train to Ono, which is the nearest station to the Okoshiki beach, and take in the picturesque views of sunset.

Take a local train again and move to Kumamoto.

Itinerary

TimePlace and transporation
09:20Hondo bus terminal
Sightseeing bus “Amakusa Gurutto Shuyu Bus”
Course A: Dolphin Watching
11:50 / 12:30Hondo bus terminal
Sanko Bus local bus
14:50 / 15:25L’isola Terrace Amakusa / Matsushima port
Amakusa Takarajima Line Cruise
15:45 / 16:59Misumi station
JR Misumi line local line
17:15 / 18:24Oda station
JR Misumi line local line
19:05Kumamoto station
The Shinkansen for Hakata runs until 23:00. So you may skip Kumamoto and go back to Hakata on day 2.

Highlights

Dolphin Watching

Dolphin watching amakusa
Dolphins are very smart and friendly.

Around 300 dolphins inhabit the waters near Amakusa, and you can see their adorable appearance with a high probability.

L’isola Terrace Amakusa (Matsushima port)

This is the departure port for the cruise to Misumi port. L’isola Terrace Amakusa is a shopping complex which is located by the port. You can spend your time to eat and shop until boarding.

Amakusa Takarajima Cruise Line

amakusa bridge
You can see a few of Amakusa Five Bridges during the cruise.

It is only 17 minutes ride but you can enjoy the scenery of Amakusa Matsushima and several bridges which connects Amakusa islands and mainland.

Okoshiki beach

Okoshiki beach
You must chech a sunset time and a tide table bedore you go.

It is said that the Okoshiki beach was named after the legendary Japanese story of the Emperor’s expedition to Kyushu, where he saw a beautiful coastline and parked the “Okoshi” (litter) for a while. It is a scenic spot that is selected as one of the “100 Beautiful Sunsets.” Beautiful curved sand crests appear due to wind and waves on the sandy shore when it is a low tide.

So you must check the tide table otherwise you will not be able to see the curved sand crests. Of course you must check the weather forecast.

You may have one more chance to see this on next day after visiting Kumamoto because this place is only 40 minutes away from Kumamoto.

Day 3, Kumamoto – Hakata

Kumamoto castle
Kumamoto Castle is being restored currently. The exterior of the main tower was restored mostly.

On the last day of trip, you will visit a few sites in Kumamoto.

In this sample trip plan, you will leave Kumamoto in late afternoon. But if the weather on the previous day was not good and you could not see the sunset on the Okoshiki beach, you can stay in Kumamoto until the evening and revisit there.

Itinerary

TimePlace and transporation
09:03Kumamoto station
Kumamoto city tram
09:35 / 10:34Suizenjikoen tram stop
Kumamoto city tram
10:48Torichosuji tram stop
Walk 10 minutes
11:00 / 13:00Kumamoto castle / Jousaien
Lunch break
Walk
13:09Hanabatacho tram stop
Kumamoto city tram
13:24 / 13:40Kumamoto station
The Kyushu Shinkansen Tsubame 324
14:30Hakata station
The Kyushu Shinkansen trains run every 20-30 minutes until 23:00. You can adjust your time in Kumamoto easily.

Highlights

Suizenji Jojuen Garden (Suizenji Park)

Suizenji park kumamoto
The pond in Suizenji Jojuen Garden

Suizenji Jojuen Garden is one of well known Japanese Garden in Kyushu. This is the “Momoyama style” garden which was developed in Edo era. This garden is centered on a pond created by the abundant underground water from Mt. Aso, and it expresses many scenic spots of the Tokaido route in Edo era with the an artificial mountain, floating stones, lawns, and pine trees.

Kumamoto Castle

Kumamoto Castle after earthquake
The view of Kumamoto Castle right after the earthquake in 2016.

Kumamoto Castle was built over 400 years ago, and the main castle tower was burnt down once, but several turrets, castle gates, and fences still exist, and they have been designated as the National Heritage Property. In addition, the castle tower had been rebuilt and has been designated as a National Historic Site.

Unfortunately, many sites of Kumamoto Castle properties had been destroyed by Kumamoto earthquakes in the 2016 and Kumamoto castle is currently being restored. You cannot enter the castle tower, but you can see the magnificent view of the castle.

There are many shops and restaurants at Josaien near the castle, and you can also enjoy the view of the castle from there.

Travel cost

All JR train trips are covered by JR Pass, Northern Kyushu Rail Pass or All Kyushu Rail Pass. Local bus trips, cruise ride fare and the admission fees are extra. You can get your money worth of Northern Kyushu Rail Pass by this trip.

Please see the table below to find the cost breakdown:

TripCost
The Kyushu Shinkansen for the round trip to Kumamoto from HakataCovered
Sanko bus from Kumamoto to Hondo2,280 yen
Amakusa Gurutto Shuyu Bus Course A1,000 yen
Amakusa Gurutto Shuyu Bus Course B1,000 yen
Dolphin watching tour3,000 yen
Sanko bus from Hondo to Matsuchima1,080 yen
Amakusa Takarajima line cruise from Maeshima to Misumi1,000 yen
JR Misumi line local train from Misumi to OdaCovered
JR Misumi line local train from Oda to KumamotoCovered
Kumamoto city tram 1-day pass500 yen
Total cost9,860 yen
Accommodations and meals are not included.

Summary

As I mentioned above, you can remove staying in Kumamoto and make it 2-day trip.

I hope this trip plan helps you to build your trip plan.

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