[Kyushu 100] Kumamoto Gourmet Spot Top 20

“Kyushu 100” is the project to introduce the fascinations of 100 spots representing Kyushu chosen by traveler’s review. In order to let you know more fascination of Kyushu beyond 100 spots, we introduce the spots for “Eat” ,”Play” and “Stay” of 7 prefectures in ranking order.

Kumamoto Prefecture is a treasure trove of gourmet cuisine. Be sure to not pass up any chance to try the local “staples basashi” or “karashi renkon” on your dining tour of the region. In addition, Kumamoto City is packed with famous shops which serve the rich and hearty Kumamoto Ramen, and the seaside locales of Amakusa are full-to-bursting with mouth-watering fresh local fish! Allow us to introduce a ranking of the finest restaurants in this gourmet wonderland, Kumamoto. Also scattered throughout the ranking are some of the regions most beloved sweets.

Glocal Bar Imo Vibes (Kumamoto City)

A bar specializing in Kyushu shochu and sake. Over 100 varieties of local liquors are available, all personally selected by the owner himself. The menu features gourmet items such as sushi made at a famous sushi shop or Higo beef steak, with spirits to match each dish’s flavor.

Photo by Ty E

Photo by Evan M

This guy has an amazing selection of shochu and even some umeshu. If you want an authentic taste of Japan’s booze, you have to check this place out. He has awesome English and is happy to explain the differences in the different types of shochu. Learn, get drunk, forget it all! RepeatReview from John R
If you like to experience Japanese drinking vulture and try Japan Shouchu, this is where you should go. The friendly owner is passionate about Shouchu and he will recommend and take time to tell you the Shouchu story. Besides able to learn about Shouchu, you can also communicate and make friends with cheerful local people here in his small but comfortable bar. Pricing wise, it is reasonable and worth what you pay. Don’t forget to do Samurai Shot, a unique way to make friends. Review from Sia

Katsuretsutei Shinshigai Honten (Kumamoto City)

Founded in 1975, this restaurant specializing in Tonkatsu (pork cutlet) has been offering the fine Tonkatsu using the carefully selected ingredients. The deep-fried crispy coating as well as the juicy pork flavor are perfectly harmonized.

Photo by しろたま

Photo by Nina L

Compare to those I have had, this is definitely one of the best. It is not oily even though it is deep fried, the pork still maintain its tenderness and it is very juicy.
The sauce is well matched with the deep fried pork chop. No wonder it is ranked no.1. Review from fycj

Iromomiji (Minami Oguni Town)

The eatery Iromomiji is attached to one of the smaller hot springs in Kurokawa Onsen. Its main dish is “Inaka Soba”, with noodles made with milled buckwheat, but visitors can also enjoy numerous local items, such as basashi, Higo red cattle beef, jidori chicken, yamome salmon, and more.

Photo by 直美 高

Photo by Jasonyue

Though out of the way from tourist information Centre , it provide free shuttle service . Nice set up with good view . Can get Juwari soba which is 100 % buckwheat for those gluten intolerant people . Basashi is a bit tough . Service is great . Though not much English is spoken Overall good place to go. Review from Happy258

#4 Kumamotohorakumanju (Kumamoto City)

Since first opening in 1953, this shop’s namesake, “Horaku Manju” has been a beloved simple snack among the people of Kyushu. It comes in two varieties using white bean or red bean past, along with lots of honey.

Photo by ymk888

We were walking by and saw some interesting pastries being prepared. Looked nice and we got some to taste. Interesting taste to a westerner, definitely worth a try. Review from winylake

#5 Yakko Zushi (Amakusa City)

A very popular store that requires a reservation. The menu is notable for its use of salt and seasonings instead of soy sauce, pairing marbled flounder with ume salt, squid or sea urchin with lemon and salt, octopus with sesame salt and kuro shichimi, and so on. All the seafood used is naturally and locally caught.

Photo by tomo1234567890

It was the best sushi in my life. We took counter seat to see how sushi was being prepared. Shari (rice) is small size and good match with delicious local seafood. It is difficult to describe this sushi with words. Super! The atmosphere is also comfortable. Reservation should be needed. Review from oka06

#6 Sumo Sushi Taihou Heya (Kumamoto City)

A sushi shop with fresh ingredients at reasonable prices. The seafood is bought each morning at local markets before being tantalizingly lined up on the shop’s single, U-shaped counter.

Photo by jihoonc382

The restaurant is at the basement of a building. After you got over hesitation and opened the door, you will see a bustling sushi restaurant with mostly locals. Selected variety of sushi available for usual items such as salmon, tuna (makuro and toro), yellow tail, etc, including local specialty a fresh horse meat (yes, horse!). Staff are very friendly and English menu is available. Review from Krittika W

#7 Mutsugoro (Kumamoto City)

Made using high quality horse meat aged to perfection, this restaurant’s signature dish is basashi with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Customers can also try rarer cuts of horse meat such as tenderloin and mane served raw or grilled.

Photo by neumanth

What a delicious dinner we had at this restaurant. If you are going for something local and truly Japanese, that’s the place. I was lucky since I had an interpreter. However, I guess everyone can get along with some pointing and basic English.I’d recommend the horse sashimi and the deep fried fish (as a whole). Wonderful. Forget beer and drink Kumamon shochu. An unforgettable evening awaits you. Review from neumanth

#8 Janome Sushi (Amakusa City)

The superb sushi here uses only in-season, freshly-caught fish from Amakusa! We particularly recommend the “Jyozushi Set”, which includes tempura made with Amakusa-grown vegetables, and chawan-mushi egg custard. Guests can also enjoy lip-smacking Amakusa specialties including red sea urchin and kuruma shrimp.

Photo by ゆめゆめさん

Sophisticated and adult-atmosphere Sushi Restaurant located only 5 minutes from Amakusa Port. We enjoyed 4,000 yen course and everything was so delicious. You can enjoy the conversation with Sushi Chef at the counter. Reservation is necessary.Review from Bell_kotetsu

#9 Daikoku Ramen (Kumamoto City)

Those who have visited the Kumamoto ramen specialty shop “Daikoku Ramen”, are not likely to forget it! The full-bodied and savory pork-bone broth is rich but not too rich so it is easy to drink, and the noodles and straight and thin. Slurp them up together and enjoy the gentle, wafting aroma of charred garlic.

Photo by notoriouslyFat

Visited for lunch during a weekday. The restaurant was fairly empty around 1PM.The specialty of Kumamoto ramen is supposedly garlicky tonkotsu base. This is achieved generally through addition of garlic chips and/or garlic oil.The shop seems a tad touristy, with a lot of signatures on the walls and photos of celebrity visitors. The interior is clean but a bit worn.Review from notoriouslyFat

#10 Shiromiyagura (Kumamoto City)

The skill of the chef here is on full display in the local cuisine served at this restaurant, featuring ikizukuri style yariika squid, basashi, and more. Due to the effects of the Kumamoto Earthquake, Shiromiyagura is open for business, but only with a reservation for one of the private rooms or banquet halls located on its second through sixth floors.

Photo by heroesjapan

We can enjoy the lit-up Kumamoto Castle from the restaurant. Their specialty “Horse sashimi” was very delicious and another local food “Karashi Renkon- mustard lotus root is also recommended. Price is “affordable”. Service was also not bad.Review from woodfire0131

#11 Yamamizuki (Oguni Town)

“Yamamizuki”, located along the torrent I Kurokawa Onsen area, is a high-grade inn boasting of the Onsen bath. The restaurant “Hanahenpen” offers creative Kaiseki cuisine using plentiful local ingredients. The simple but beautiful cuisines reflecting the chef’s careful preparation is perfection.

Photo by ゆみゆみ070

Really enjoyable and unique experience. Was skeptical to come such long way but it was worth it. The food is definitely a highlight so make sure you enjoy trying out new things. We stayed in old main building which I recommend. Kurosawa town is also very pretty and enjoyable to walk around, had lunch at a ramen place in the hills (ask at post office). Its great for a short break or weekend, very memorable and authentic experience. Review from mihai123

#12 Izakaya Kan (Kumamoto City)

With both Japanese and Chinese cuisine, this izakaya’s appealing and diverse menu uses only the finest ingredients for only the finest flavor. The shop’s mabodofu is worthy of special attention, as the chef puts the training he received in China to practice to reproduce the taste of the genuine article. Choose libations from the over 300 varieties of shochu in stock.

Photo by 黒猫オス

This is a delicious food restaurant offering authentic Chinese cuisine in addition to the local cuisines. Good place that you can enjoy with a small number of people, even only by yourself. Review from hebojui

#13 Baniku Kyodo Cuisine Kenzo (Kumamoto City)

There are very few places like this where you can enjoy that delicacy among delicacies “shimofuri basashi”. The meat is marbled with fat that spreads a savory sweetness as it melts in your mouth. Try the “uma-kushiyaki” (horse meat skewers), soaked in the signature miso-dare sauce, which are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside!

Photo by nnaammii

The restaurant with entirely non smoking is great! If you are trying to go on the weekend or a holiday, early booking is needed. They offers various menus such as horse sashimi, tongue and ribs grilled, asparagus butter, mustard lotus root, and more. The service is speedy and professional. Review from Kuronekotochibi

#14 Tanaka Chikusan (Amakusa City)

The Japanese black cattle beef at this yakiniku shop is purchased directly from livestock breeders in Amakusa, meaning the customers can enjoy high quality meat at reasonable prices. These black cattle are raised free-range among sea breezes blowing over island pastures, and provide exquisite meat that will melt in your mouth.

Photo by Bell_kotetsu

I want to go here even every month! I ordered the highest course and, of course, it was the super delicious. However, the minimum course has also sufficient dishes with marbled meat. Good service and good atmosphere. Review from Orika

#15 Katsuretsutei Minamikumamoto (Kumamoto City)

Following #2 “Katsuretsutei Shinshigai Honten”, “Minami Kumomato” branch was also placed in a list. “Special Thick Cutlet” featuring the thick sliced pork is a really filling one. You can chose your favorite meat such as loin cutlet, fillet cutlet or Roppaku Kurobuta.

Photo by mamikopapiko

One of a small local chain, a new building with an attractive interior on fairly nondescript retail park. Best Tonkatsu I’ve had anywhere, the new restaurant lives up to the reputation of the original.Review from TomJacqu

#16 Uemura Unagiya (Hitoyoshi City)

This historic restaurant was built over 100 years ago. The eel is selected, opened, and grilled over charcoal after you place your order, to provide a fresh smelling and tasting final product. Enjoy the fat, meaty eel of South Kyushu with some Harima shochu.

Photo by Sak787

This is probably the most delicious charcoal grilled unangi we have ever had. We reached the shop at 2:30pm which is just nice before the afternoon closing. No queue at this hours & we are able to get our meals fast. Unangi is so thick & fatty that nearly can melt in your mouth. Feel blessed after having the utmost delicious grilled unangi meals. Strongly recommend to tourist travelling to Hitoyoshi city of Kumamoto, Japan. Review from YuenYW

#17 Patisserie Roku (Minami Oguni Town)

The “Shio Koji Cream Puff” is a popular snack to pick up while exploring Kurokawa Onsen. The cookie is baked using shio koji, and then covered with fried choux dough, and filled with custard cream fresh-to-order.

Photo by 宮崎隊長

They must have the best cream puff in the Kumamoto-Aso area if not Kyushu, if not Japan. Arguably better than the Milk Kobo puffs in Hokkaido. The puff pastry is lightly crispy and the cream pumped freshly into pastry from a refrigerated container. Because it’s fresh cream it has to be consumed within 3 hours and if refrigerated at most by the evening so we couldn’t pack it home for family to enjoy. Try to get here in the morning. We understand they can sell out by 3pm. Review from Shrek-loves-Fiona

#18 Negibozu (Kumamoto City)

This retro-style izakaya is just a short walk away from Kumamoto City Hall Ekimae Station. Eat your fill of local Kumamoto cuisine, such as two types of “basashi”, each made from a different part of the horse, or the rolled green onion with vinegared miso dish known as “hitomoji guruguru”.

Photo by 勢良英幸

While we keep on putting money into the bowl, the staff takes the money when bringing the food. Order system to see the strip on the wall rather than watching the menu. Interesting and low-priced tavern. Food is good. Review from yoshifumis179

#19 Sweets studio Tanoya (Aso City)

This shop is known for popular local variant of the cream puff, “Tanoshu”! The reason why this sweet is so popular is its special custard cream, which is rich and sweet yet has a light and pleasant aftertaste. The secret ingredient is said to be the clear and tasty waters of the Aso region.

Photo by Joey0201

A must-visit for dessert lovers if you are in the vicinity of Aso Shrine. A short 3 min walk from there is this little shop est since 1927. Everything we tried were good. Had cream puff (or at least that’s what it looks like), chestnut cake and chiffon cake. All tasted excellent. They have log cake there as well since it is Christmas season. The cake was really moist and fine. Yummy! Review from jnf9

#20 Sri Lanka Kumamoto (Kumamoto City)

An ethnic curry restaurant with a chef native to the country that lends the shop its name. The popular dish “Sri Lankan Noodle Curry” features curry with stir-fried rice noodles and vegetables instead of rice.

Photo by miuuu727

This place is very close to where I live and provide delicious food. The staffs are friendly and can speak fluent Japanese. There is also English menu. You can pay by card if its over 3000 yen. Good location so you can visit Kumamoto downtown by just walking from here. It is kept open until 23.00 hrs which is very convenient.Review from kuru242

Every spot of “Kyushu 100” chosen by travelers is full of fascination. Now, let’s go and experience 100 spots chosen by travelers!

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Ranking method:”Kumamoto Gourmet Spot Top 20″ was aggregated by the unique algorithm based on the review evaluations in Japanese posted during July 2015 – June 2016 in terms of Gourmet Spots in Kumamoto.

*The information about the facilities that are closed as of August 2016, is also included. For details such as re-opening time, please contact each facility.