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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||Kazufumi Ōnishi|
|• Total||389.53 km2 (150.40 sq mi)|
|Population (April 1, 2017)|
|• Density||1,900/km2 (4,900/sq mi)|
|• Bird||Great tit|
|Time zone||Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)|
|City hall 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. As of 2010, Kumamoto Metropolitan Employment Area has a GDP of US$39.8 billion. 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 daimyōs 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. 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.
Near the end of World War II, Kumamoto experienced several air raids. The greatest one was on the night of June 30 to July 1, 1945. About one third of the city was burned, and more than 300 people died. After the effects of the air raids, the Japanese Buddhist monk Nichidatsu Fujii decided to construct a Peace Pagoda atop Mount Hanaoka in the city to commemorate all those lost in war and to promote peace. Inaugurated in 1954, this pagoda held significance: It inspired Fujii and his followers to build over 80 more around the world including India, Sri Lanka, the United States and the United Kingdom.
On February 1, 1991, the towns of Akita, Kawachi, Tenmei and Hokubu (all from Hōtaku District) were merged into Kumamoto. On October 6, 2008, the town of Tomiai (from Shimomashiki District) was merged into Kumamoto. On March 23, 2010, the town of Jōnan (also from Shimomashiki District) and the town of Ueki (from Kamoto District) were merged into Kumamoto.
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
|Daily mean °C (°F)||5.7
|Average low °C (°F)||1.2
|Record low °C (°F)||−9.2
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||60.1
|Average 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|
|Average relative humidity (%)||70||67||67||66||68||75||77||73||72||69||72||71||71|
|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.
The downtown area has a commercial district centred on 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.
Kazufumi Ōnishi has been the city's mayor since December 2014.
Since April 1, 2012, Kumamoto has five wards (ku):
Working mother incident
In November 2017, Kumamoto politician Yuka Ogata was forced to leave the Kumamoto municipal assembly because she had brought her baby. The incident was reported by international media as an example of the challenges facing women in Japan.
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 station. Several local taxi companies serve the Kumamoto metropolitan area and are the only 24-hour public transport in the city.
The Kumamoto Castle Marathon is a yearly event in Kumamoto City. It was established in commemoration of Kumamoto becoming a designated city in 2012. The 1997 World Men's Handball Championship was also played in town.
- Kumamoto University
- Prefectural University of Kumamoto
- Kumamoto Gakuen University
- Sojo University
- Kyūshū Lutheran College
- Shokei Gakuin University
- Tokai University of Kumamoto
- Kumamoto Health Science
This section does not cite any sources. (July 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Naochi Fujimori, father of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori
- Inoue Kowashi, statesman
- Sayuri Ishikawa, enka singer
- Masahiko Kimura, judoka
- 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
- Momoko Ueda, professional golfer
- Yōko Shimada, actress
- Yokoi Shōnan, scholar and political reformer
- Kaji Yajima, educator, pacifist, president of the WCTU in Japan
- Isao Yukisada, film director
- Yuta Iwasada, Japanese baseball player
- Benjamin Pharazyn, German-Born Japanese Linguist and Anthropologist
Kumamoto City is twinned with the following cities.
- Billings, Montana, United States
- Bristol, United Kingdom
- Guilin, China
- Heidelberg, Germany (since 1992)
- Helena, Montana, United States
- San Antonio, Texas, United States (since 1987)
- Ulsan, South Korea (since 2010)
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- Conversion rates - Exchange rates - OECD Data
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- "平年値（年・月ごとの値）". Japan Meteorological Agency. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
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- The Life and Times of Japan’s Mascots
- "市長のプロフィール" (in Japanese). 熊本市 (Kumamoto City). 3 December 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
- Kumamoto Castle Marathon website Information on 2013 Kumamoto Castle Marathon Archived 2012-11-01 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Twinning". City of Heidelberg. Archived from the original on 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
- City of San Antonio International Relations Office. Retrieved 12 October 2011
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