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From top left:Central Kumamoto view from Kumamoto Castle, Kumamoto Castle, Kumamoto City Tramway, Fujisaki hachimangu shrine, Suizenji jojuen
Location of Kumamoto in Kumamoto Prefecture
|• Mayor||Seishi Kōyama|
|• Total||389.53 km2 (150.40 sq mi)|
|Population (March 1, 2010)|
|• Density||1,880/km2 (4,900/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)|
|- Bird||Great Tit|
|Address||1-1 Tetorisai-machi, Chūō-ku, Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto-ken
Greater Kumamoto (熊本都市圏) had a population of 1,460,000, as of the 2000 census. It is not considered part of the Fukuoka–Kitakyushu metropolitan area, despite their shared border. The city was designated on April 1, 2012 by government ordinance.
Katō Kiyomasa, a contemporary of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, was made daimyo of half of the (old) administrative region of Higo in 1588. After that, Kiyomasa built Kumamoto Castle. Due to its many innovative defensive designs, Kumamoto Castle was considered impregnable, and Kiyomasa enjoyed a reputation as one of the finest castle-builders in Japanese history. After Kiyomasa died in 1611, his son, Tadahiro, succeeded him, but Tadahiro was removed by Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1632, replacing him with the Hosokawa clan.
The current administrative body of the City of Kumamoto was founded on April 1, 1889.
Kumamoto has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with hot summers and cool winters. Precipitation is significant throughout the year, but is much heavier around the summer, especially the months of June and July.
|Climate data for Kumamoto, Kumamoto (1981–2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||22.5
|Average high °C (°F)||10.5
|Average low °C (°F)||1.2
|Record low °C (°F)||−9.2
|Rainfall mm (inches)||60.1
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.5 mm)||8.6||9.0||12.4||10.9||11.1||14.4||13.5||10.7||10.6||6.9||7.9||8.2||124.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||132.6||139.5||158.5||181.4||187.2||141.0||184.5||211.0||175.9||189.7||153.0||147.5||2,001.8|
|Source #1: Japan Meteorological Agency|
|Source #2: Japan Meteorological Agency (records)|
The city's most famous landmark is Kumamoto Castle, a large and, in its day, extremely well fortified Japanese castle. The donjon (castle central keep) is a concrete reconstruction built in the 1970s, but several ancillary wooden buildings remain of the original castle, which was assaulted during the Satsuma Rebellion and sacked and burned after a 53-day siege. It was during this time that the tradition of eating basashi (raw horse meat) originated. Basashi remains popular in Kumamoto and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in Japan, though these days it is usually considered a delicacy.
Miyamoto Musashi lived the last part of his life in Kumamoto. His tomb and the cave where he resided during his final years (known as Reigandō, or "spirit rock cave") is situated close by. He penned the famous Go Rin no Sho (The Book of Five Rings) whilst living here.
Kumamoto is also home to Suizen-ji Jōju-en, a formal garden neighboring Suizenji Temple approximately 3 kilometers southeast of Kumamoto Castle.
A notable shrine is Takahashi Inari Shrine.
The downtown area has a commercial district centred around two shopping arcades, the Shimotori and Kamitori, which extend for several city blocks. The main department stores are located here along with a vast number of smaller retailers, restaurants, and bars. Many local festivals are held in or near the arcades.
Kumamoto has a prefectural mascot, "Kumamon". Kumamon is a black bear with red cheeks.
The mayor is Seishi Kōyama election in the 2006 election.
Since April 1, 2012, Kumamoto has five wards (ku):
Local public transport is provided by the Kumamoto City Transportation Bureau. Trams run to a few suburbs near the downtown area. A large bus terminus, called the Kotsu Centre, provides access to both local and intercity destinations. JR Kumamoto station provides rail links to Japan's extensive rail network. On March 12, 2011, work on the shinkansen (high-speed bullet train) network was completed, establishing a direct high-speed rail link to Tokyo via Fukuoka's Hakata terminus. Several local taxi companies serve the Kumamoto metropolitan area and are the only 24-hour public transport in the city.
- Kumamoto University
- Kumamoto Gakuen University
- Kyūshū Lutheran College
- Sojo University
- Prefectural University of Kumamoto
Notable people from Kumamoto
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2012)|
- Naochi Fujimori, father of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori
- Inoue Kowashi, statesman
- Kang Sang-jung, political scientist
- Sayuri Ishikawa, enka singer
- Rie Kugimiya, voice actress
- Yuri Masuda, vocalist from the group m.o.v.e
- Higonoumi Naoya, sumo wrestler
- Eiichiro Oda, manga artist, author of One Piece
- Hitomi Tanaka, adult model and porn star
- Momoko Ueda, female professional golfer
- Yokoi Shōnan, scholar and political reformer
- Isao Yukisada, film director
Kumamoto City is twinned with the following cities.
- Billings, Montana, USA
- Bristol, United Kingdom
- Guilin, China
- Heidelberg, Germany (since 1992)
- Helena, Montana, USA
- San Antonio, Texas, USA (since 1987)
- Ulsan, South Korea (since 2010)
- "都道府県別市町村変更情報：福岡." kokudo.or.jp. Retrieved on November 22, 2008. (Japanese)
- "平年値（年・月ごとの値）". Japan Meteorological Agency. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- "観測史上1～10位の値（年間を通じての値）". Japan Meteorological Agency. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- The Life and Times of Japan’s Mascots
- "Worldwide Offices Japan". Asiana Airlines. Retrieved on January 19, 2009.
- Kumamoto Castle Marathon website Information on 2013 Kumamoto Castle Marathon
- "Twinning". City of Heidelberg. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
- City of San Antonio International Relations Office. Retrieved 12 October 2011
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