Exploring Uto, Uki, and Misato ～Places that heals the heart in the prefecture of nature, culture, and history; Kumamoto City～
The “Uki Area” is located in the center of Kumamoto which consists of 3 cities: Uto, Uki, and Misato.
The area is surrounded by the ocean and the mountain with beautiful nature to see, full of raw food ingredients, and old cities with long histories. It takes only 2 hours by car from the city center of Fukuoka.
From Kumamoto station to Uki’s Misumi Station, you can take the JR tourist train the “Limited Express A” while gazing out of the window viewing the beautiful landscape.
|For those who want to go by the Limited Express A|
When you get off the train, you’ll be greeted by the beautiful clear blue sky! Chen Chen is ready for her journey though Uki city starting from Misumi Station!
Charm of Uki City ① Misumi Port
The Misumi Port is almost as beautiful as the location used in the Taiwanese drama “Memories of Frizna”. The symbol of this port is the “Pyramid of the Sea”; the characteristic of this pyramid is its shape of a ferry shelter. There’s a walkway both inside and outside of the pyramid, allowing you to reach the observatory at the top.
From the observatory, you can get a view of the emerald sea and the Amakusa Islands on the other side. Our Chen Chen was captivated by the glistering bright sea, the clouds floating above, and sight of the boats coming and going out of the shore.
There are also ferry that travels back and forth between the Misumi Port and the Amakusa Island, allowing you to enjoy the five Amakusa Bridges and the Uzen Fugendake on your cruise.
|Address：Misumiura, Misumimachi, Uki City, Kamumoto Prefecture
Access： 1 minute from the JR Misumi Station on foot
Amakusa Takarajima Line：http://www.seacruise.jp/teiki/jikoku/index.html
Charm of Uki City ② Misumi West Port
The Misumi Port has been recorded as the World Cultural Heritage. It was built in 1887, at the time it was considered as one of the “Three Big Ports”. The West Port has many western style building, piers made of stones, waterways, and many other historical objects left untouched until this day.
Your body will feel refreshed with the sea breeze blowing at you. Looking out at the other side of the shore, you’ll see one of the five Amakusa bridges, the “Tenmon Bridge”
|Misumi West Port|
|Address：Misumiura, Misumimachi, Uki City, Kamumoto Prefecture
Access：5 minutes from the JR Misumi Station on foot
We also recommend you the Café Restaurant at the port for you to sit back, relax, while looking at the sea.
|Musimi West Port Coffee Shop Warankan|
|Address：1268-1 Misumiura, Misumimachi, Uki City, Kumamoto Prefecture (Misumi West Port)
Charm of Uki City ③ Matsuai White Wall Warehouse: Soy sauce and Miso Making
The housing area is very compact and it can be dangerous when there’s a fire. Therefore, to counter this problem the houses are made of white walls.
The warehouses in this city are chosen by various locations around Japan as their suppliers for Soy Beans and Wheat, giving Kumamoto a major connection to the rest of Japan. Also, the area is also blessed with high quality underground water making the business of Soy Sauce, Miso, and Japanese Sake a big success. Today, we’re going to see a factory that makes Soy Sauce and Miso that hasn’t changed since the old days.
Inside the shop, there are a lot of Soy Sauce, Miso, and processed goods.
They even have Soy Sauce Soft Cream! “Mhh~ Tastes like Caramel”, said Chen Chen.
Inside the factory, you can see the process of making Soy Sauce and Miso (requires reservation).
Once you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the smell of Soy Sauce. You can say it is part of the Soy Sauce production experience.
“Ah~ it’s so heavy!” said Chen Chen as she uses a mortar pail to stir the pot. Now we realized how hard it is to make Soy Sauce.
Furthermore, we get to eat the Miso Soup made from the Miso here. The secret behind the taste of the Soup is the dedication of the people working here that wants to preserve the spirit of the old ways until this day.
|Matsuai Shokuhin CO, LTD.|
|Address：188 Matsuai, Shiranuhi-Cho, Uki City, Kumamoto Prefecture
Access：13 minutes by car from the JR Matsuhashi Station
Charm of Uto City ① Uto Taiko Drum Collection House
At Uto City, there is an old tradition to pray for the harvest for the rest of the year called “Amagoi”, and the “Uto Taiko Drum Collection House” collects the 26 drums used in the “Amagoi” and put them on exhibits.
The feelings of the people of Uto City were kept inside these Taiko drums and being preserved with care. The values of these drums have also been recognized as an important cultural asset of the country. You can also try hitting these drums, and Chen Chen also felt overjoyed getting the chance to hear these drums! If you have the chance, come and sound these drums yourselves.
|Uto Taiko Drum Collection House|
|Address：406-2 Miyanoshoumachi, Uto City, Kumamoto Prefecture
Access：12 minutes by car from the JR Uto station.
Entry Fee：Normal ticket 100 yen
Holidays：New Year (December 29th~January 3rd), Monday (if Monday is a national holiday or substitute holiday then the house will close on the next day.)
Charm of Uto City ② Nagabeta Sea Floor Road
Uto City is a city that faces the Ariake Sea, and plenty of aquacultures can be found at the seafloor after the tide. However, when the tide is extremely low, the fishing boats can’t reach the port. Therefore the “Nagabeta Sea Floor Road” was created.
When the tide is high, the road will be in the middle of the surging wave, and only the electric poles pokes out of the sea. This place was also used in a local commercial once and made it became a hot topic for a while.
If you want to visit this place, it’s highly recommended that you check the timing of the tides first.
|Nagabeta Sea Floor Road|
|Address：Sumiyoshimachi, Uto City, Kumamoto Prefecture
Access：3 minutes by car from the “Sumiyoshi Station”, JR Sumiyoshi Line
Charm of Uto City ③ Road Station Uto Marina Okoshiki Building
At the “Road Station Uto Marina”, there is the “Okoshiki Building” that sells local seafood ingredients and agricultural products.
Chen Chen wasted no time to give these fruits freshly harvested, juicy fruits a taste!
They even sell seaweeds which is the specialty of Uto. They have just about everything here!
You can also eat the food made from the fresh fishes caught from the Ariake Sea at the adjacent restaurant. We recommend the “Kaisendon” that serves with shell fish soup to double the tastiness!
Chen Chen couldn’t help but smile as she enjoys her food in the place of gourmet, relaxation, and shopping like Uto city.
|Road Station Uto Marina Okoshiki Building|
|Address：3084-1 Shimooda-cho, Uto City, Kumamoto Prefecture.
Access：4 Minutes by car from “Oda Station” JR Misumi Line
Business Hour：9：00～18：00（until 17：00 from November to February）
Holiday：On the second and fourth Wednesday (In case of national holiday, it’ll moved to the next day) and on January 1st, 2nd, and 3rd
Parking Space：127 cars
Charm of Uto City ④ Coast of Okoshiki
Right next to the Uto Marina is the Coast of Okoshiki which a great spot to watch the setting sun and the tideland. When the tide is low, the coast stretches as far as the ear can see and the sand draws several curvy shapes like a crescent moon. On the other side the coast, you can see Mount Unzen in Nagasaki Prefecture too.
Chen Chen is at lost for words upon seeing this breathtaking scenery. The scenery where the low tide and sunset meet like this is something you can only see a couple of days in a year, which is why cameramen from all over the world come here in spring. If you have the chance to visit, please check the date of the low tide!
|Coast of Okoshiki|
|Address：Tonokuchicho, Uto City, Kumamoto Prefecture
Access：15 minutes on foot from “Oda Station” JR Misumi Line
Dates of Low Tide：http://city-uto.com/shio.htm
Charm of Misato City ① Forest Adventure Misato
Forest Adventure is a natural outdoor park that uses the nature to create adventure courses where both adults and children can enjoy. Ropes are used to connect trees with each other for people to cross or jump to another tree, giving a thrilling and refreshing sense of adventure.
There’s also a ropeway called “Tarzan Swing” for you to jump from one tree to another; the moment where you’re in mid-air jumping from one tree to another is the best.
The “Minomushi Shoot” is a 15m tall (about 4 stories building) attraction that allows the people to challenge their fear! When Chen Chen looks down to the ground in the middle of her climb, she’s so scared that she looks like she’s about to cry.
She didn’t dare to jump off but after the encouragement of the staffs, she finally jumped!
After she landed, we could see the relieved expression on her face. This is an experience of fighting your fear that you can’t find anywhere else.
And last is the Forest Adventure Misato biggest attraction, the “Zip Slide”! An outward journey of 410m, and a return journey of 510m; it’s an activity for you to zip across the first lake dam in Japan.
The zip line also gives you a unique sky view of the Midorikawa Dam; although we have to wonder if Chen Chen has the time to appreciate this view at all…?
We’re sure that you’ll get a value experience from visiting this natural adventure park!
|Forest Adventure Misato|
|Address：3083-1 Uneno, Misato-cho, Shimomashiki District, Kumamoto Prefecture
Access：60 minutes by car from the Kumamoto Port
Entry Fee：Adventure Course＋Zip Trip Course Adult 4600yen,Child 3100yen
Charm of Misato City ② Footpath course
There’re plenty of foot path in Misato City for you to walk and see the beautiful nature and town. Be it the foot path along the rice field, the side road along the civilian homes, and etc. allowing you to fully take in the atmosphere of Misato City.
There’re maps and road signs for first-time visitors too, so don’t worry about getting lost. Furthermore, the city has a total of 15 courses. This time, we’ll walk along the courses which will serve as good examples as to what you can expect with a local guide to lead us.
【Course 13 Uneno Yonnasse】
From the “Misato Product House Yonnasse”, the course stretches for 5 km, which takes about 110 minutes to complete. This is a path filled with acorn trees and once you go off the camping site promenade, you’ll be greeted with the bamboo grove with sunlight shining through.
It’s an atmosphere that can only be made by nature itself.
When you return, you can get something to eat and do some shopping too.
【Course 14 Reitai Stone Bridge】
A course that starts from the majestic Reitai Stone Bridge, which stretches for 8km and takes about 160 minutes.
The Reitai Bridge is a stone bridge built on top of the “Midorikawa River” in 1847 and preserved until this very day. It’s also been recorded as an important cultural property.
Once you cross the Reitai Bridge, you can see the clear stream and the aqueduct. In the middle of the course, we also get to eat the “Footpath Lunch Box” made from locally grown ingredient (Reservation needed).
It’s a great pleasure to eat a lunch box made from the locally grown ingredient on the Misato City’s footpath.
Chen Chen was surprised to see the size of the chestnut here and very satisfied with the taste of tofu and other local cuisine.
【Course 11 Kozaki Rice Field】
Starting from the Kozaki Shrine, the course is 4km long and takes about 90 minutes to complete. This course will lead you on a journey through the rice fields which have existed for over 440 years.
Be it the paddy field, the sheaves of rice, or the Red Spider Lilies; everything changes with the seasons aweing every visitors that came to visit. We even got the guide to teach us how to play with the flowers too.
However, Chen Chen couldn’t do it very well. “We’ll leave it for next time”, said the guide with a heartwarming encouragement.
This is undoubtedly a great way to spend your time going on a long walk while looking at the scenery while creating new memories for you to remember for years to come.
|Misato Footpath Association|
|Address：749-1 Baba, Misato City, Shimomashiki District, Kumamoto Prefecture.
Holiday：Satuday, Sunday, and Natonal Holiday
So, what do you think about our journey through Uki area in Kumamoto Prefecture? If you ever feel like “wanting to know about Japanese history or catching a glimpse of the past”, or if you simply “need a little break from the city life” then come to visit Uki, Uto, or Misato City. A pleasant holiday is waiting for you.