Life in Kumamoto
Kumamoto University is located in the city of Kumamoto in Kyushu, the southern-most main island of Japan. Kumamoto City is the third biggest city in Kyushu. It has a population of approximately 737,000, which is equivalent to about 41% of the total population of the prefecture. By air it takes 90 minutes from Tokyo and 60 minutes from Osaka; by bullet train it takes 35 minutes from Fukuoka City.
The weather is generally mild. The weather changes from hot and muggy (25-35℃) in July and August to windy and cold (2-10℃) in January and February. Autumn and spring offer the most comfortable weather. When you get here in October or April, it will be the beautiful seasons and the temperature will be moderate (14-24℃). Therefore you will not need to put on a coat, but rather only a light jacket. Once the winter season comes in late November, you will need some sweaters and a winter coat. Warm clothing is necessary in January and February. We rarely have heavy snow in Kumamoto.
Local attractions include Kumamoto Castle, one of the oldest and grandest medieval castle in Japan; Kumamoto downtown area, located 10-15 minutes away from Kumamoto University by bicycle and known for a lot of office building and shopping streets; the Amakusa Islands, a chain of 120 islands known for their exciting Christian history and plenty of rich nature; and Aso National Park, crowned by the active volcano Mt. Aso, with the largest caldera volcano in the world. Because of its proximity to Mt. Aso, the Kumamoto area also has an abundance of natural hot springs. Kumamoto is also well-known in Japan for its delicious drinking water. Because the rainfall that soaks into the ground in the mountains of the Aso region takes many years to come out, one can always be able to drink delicious water.
It takes one and a half hours for you to go to Tokyo from Kumamoto by airplane. You can get to Kyoto, famous for its historical sights, in two and a half hours by a "shinkansen" bullet train from Fukuoka. Since Japanese railways and bus routes have been expanded throughout the country, you can easily visit other cities in Kyushu, as well as other areas in Japan.
Many students use a bicycle because of the flat land in Kumamoto and to have easy access to downtown.