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What to Do in Yamaga

Index

  • Ko Ngojoji Temple

  • Lantern Museum

  • Sakura yu hot springs

  • Hundred of years ago, the humble, yet impressive city of Yamaga was a popular stop off point for workers making the journey across Kyushu’s "rice route". Running through the center of the town is Kikuchi River, a transportation highway, this river has shaped the history of the town, which you can learn more about when visiting the city’s popular Lantern Museum. Overflowing with an Edo-era atmosphere and plenty of scenic views there’s no wrong way to explore this fascinating city, but to help you out, here’s a little guide to what not to miss.

  • Ko Ngojoji Temple

    Ko Ngojoji Temple

    Ko Ngojoji Temple

    Begin your exploration through the area by visiting the historic and achitectually stunning Ko Ngojoji Temple. Surrounded by lush foliage, the best tome to visit this site is arguably during autumn when the trees transform from a deep green into fiery shades of red, orange and gold. Wander through the towering gringo trees before visiting the temple gate. A uniquely shaped circular archway, this gate provides plenty of photographic fodder. Home to a number of small festivals, if you visit during spring and summer weekends, you may be lucky enough to step straight into the center of a local celebration.

  • Lantern Museum

    Lantern Museum

    Lantern Museum

    Once you’re done wandering around the temple grounds, it’s time to make your way to the Yamaga Lantern Museum. The museum is a popular local tourist site and home to an eclectic collection of displays ready to take you through the history and culture of the much-loved delicate and traditional craft of lantern crafting. A craft that’s been passed down here through countless generations, it’s said that the origin of the Yamaga lanterns stretches back to the era of Emperor Keiko, the twelfth emperor of Japan. When the emperor made his way to Kyushu, he had to travel through fog that engulfed the Kikuchi River. The locals carried torches to lead him safely. It became custom for locals to leave torches at the nearby Omiya Shrine as a dedication to the emperor, and over time these torches were replaced with lanterns.

    Lantern Museum

    Lantern Museum

    These days the type of lanterns you’ll see are astonishingly large and intricately crafted recreations of some of Japan’s famous shrines, castles and temples. These creations often take a number of months to complete and typically use just washi paper and a small amount of glue. Watch the masters in action in the on-site production studio to see just how everything comes together.

  • Sakura yu hot springs

    Sakura yu hot springs

    Sakura yu hot springs

    There’s no better way to wrap up your day in Yamaga than by paying a visit to the regenerative Sakura yu hot springs. Located in the center of Yamaga, the onsen has a history that stretches back 370 years, but the modern incarnation you see today was opened in 2012. The bath is open from 6am until midnight daily and costs 300 yen for adults and 150 yen for children, and providing accessibility and inclusivity, 80 yen for people with disabilities. Inside you’ll find large communal baths and one very special feature, a marble hot bath featuring an impressive dragon motif. Outside to the bathing area there’s also a rest area where you can enjoy some tea and traditional sweets. It is closed every third Wednesday of the month, so be sure to check your calendar ahead of visiting to avoid disappointment.

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    Address
    熊本県山鹿市山鹿1606-2
    Phone
    0968431152
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    Kimutuyoshijotera
    Address
    Kumamoto Pref. Yamagashi Yamaga
    Phone
    0968433539
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    金剛乗寺の石門
    Address
    熊本県山鹿市山鹿1592
    Phone
    0968-43-1691
    Omiya Shrine
    Address
    Kumamoto Pref. Yamagashi Yamaga 196
    Phone
    0968441257
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  • Yamaga Onsen Sakura Yu
    Address
    Kumamoto Pref. Yamagashi Yamaga 1-1
    Phone
    0968433326
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