Festivals & Events
Kumamoto Castle Autumn Festival 秋のくまもとお城まつり
The show goes on in spite of recent events
Kumamoto hit the headlines in 2016 when a magnitude 7.3 earthquake rocked the city. Kumamoto Castle saw walls collapsing, turrets damaged and roof tiles flung to the earth. Despite outward appearances of normalcy, estimates are that restorations will take two decades to complete. However, there's still plenty to come and enjoy at the Kumamoto Castle Autumn Festival.
- The Taiko, or Japanese drum, event
- Local food and drink stalls
- Kimono parade and dress-up
How to Get There
Kumamoto Castle is accessible by public transit.
From Kumamoto Station, head to Hanabatacho Station. From there, it's a 10-minute walk to the castle and Ninomaru Field, where many of the events are held. Many of the festivities are held on the Ninomaru field behind Kumamoto Castle .
As many of the events of the festival take place on the field behind the castle, it still is able to go ahead despite the damage. Performances and events differ year on year, but you can always find a variety of food stalls serving up traditional treats and local delicacies. Try some takoyaki; pan cooked octopus dumplings; kakigori shaved ice, or the most famous local dish–horse meat.
Japanese Drum Performance
The top performance every year at the Kumamoto Castle Autumn Festival is the Taiko drumming. Taking place in the early evening as the sun is setting, with the castle as a glorious backdrop, the performance sees dozens of groups taking to the stage for a truly captivating performance. The music is fiery, upbeat, engaging, and heart-poundingly brilliant. This is the best event to witness the spirit of Kumamoto .
Past events which have also taken place during the festival include kimono parades where you can try on traditional Japanese kimono, concerts, traditional art performances, martial arts displays, quizzes, Noh theater performances, tea ceremonies and dances.