By Mandy Bartok
Take JR Kagoshima Main Line from Kumamoto Station for 35 minutes and you’ll arrive at Yatsushiro Station. Coming recently from Tokyo and Fukuoka, my first impression of the area was “Wow there is nothing here!” In fact, I had this feeling before arriving at the station because the train from Kumamoto had only had two cars. What is there to do here and where do I even stay? Well I have the perfect advice for you.
As for accommodation, I recommend staying at the Yatsushiro Grand Hotel. The hotel is not too far from Yatsushiro Station and you can walk to the hotel in less than 10 minutes. There are many taxis at the station so if you take a taxi it takes less than three minutes. It is easy to spot the hotel because it is on National Route 3, and it’s the only ten-story building on that street.
Compared to how rural it is outside, once you enter the hotel, you feel like you’re at an urban hotel. The lobby is very big with plenty of space to relax and rest. You can also grab a cup of hot coffee while you’re waiting or just plain relaxing. The concierges were nice and polite and it really felt like you were being welcomed. Prices vary depending on the room and plan you book. For one night at a single room with all-you-can-eat breakfast, prices start from 4,500 yen.
The hotel room I stayed in was spacious and very comfortable. The scenery from my room was splendid. This was one of the moments when I realized why they built a hotel at such a location. I could see mountains continuing from my right to left. This was definitely a view that I wouldn’t be able to experience at an urban hotel. But is scenery the only reason why I would stay at the hotel? Definitely not. In fact after having a conversation with the concierge, I was surprised by how many things there were to do in the seaside town of Yatsushiro.
If you have a car, you can visit the power packed 70 meter tall Senden Todoroki Waterfall and Momiki Bridge when all the leaves turn bright red during the autumn season. If you don’t have a car, you can visit one of Japan’s nationally designated scenic spots, Shohinken. Shohinken is a building with a tea house and a beautiful Japanese garden. Emperor Showa also stayed at this place in 1949. Ryuo Shrine, only a short walk away, is full of beautiful dragons. And the Yatsushiro Castle Ruins are also a nice place for a walk in the city center. And for the ambitious, there's a famous set of 777 Steps that lead up to a mountain shrine.
If you plan to visit Yatsushiro and want a reasonable hotel with good service, I recommend booking a room at the Yatsushiro Grand hotel.
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