This is the KUMAMOTO NOW!

In Apr 2016, there hit a big earthquake in Kumamoto prefecture, which is located in the island of Kyushu. Kumamoto prefecture is the one of the area where put higher priority on Inbound tourism. Considering the effort, it was unlucky that the earthquake destroyed the area.
However, do you know how is it like now?
Let me show you current scene of the center of Kumamoto.
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With the effort of the Kumamoto government as well as local people, now there's no problem to travel in Kumamoto. There are still broken houses, but for traveling you will hardly see broken buildings or damaged streets.
Kumamoto has been drawing a big attention from all over Japan. Thus, even now you can see many "events for revival" on the streets, especially during weekend.
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Japanese culture doesn't necessarily exist in the traditional buildings, Bushido, Sado, etc., which are commonly known as the must to see in Japan. In my view, you can sense the spirit of the Japanese with those events. Continuously events are organized and volunteers come to Kumamoto, which is the real culture representing Japan.
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One of the most damaged parts of Kumamoto is the Kumamoto castle. As of Dec 2016, it is not allowed to enter into the castle. We do hope it'll be renovated perfectly enough to welcome tourists again.
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Kumamon, the representative character of Kumamoto prefecture, works everyday at his office. His office is called "Kumamon square (https://www.odigo.jp/spots/11037-kumamon-square-kumamoto-shi)". Before visiting there, I didn't know that Kumamon was cheerful and a humorist like a hero of black comedy. If you want to know the real Kumamon, please visit there. It's worth a visit, for sure. He shows you his dance and a performance with MC. Before the earthquake, Kumamon's mission was to raise brand awareness on Kumamoto. Now, his mission is not only that but to convey a positive message that "Kumamoto is already OK to visit for travellers".
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Taka KAWASAKI