The modern city of Amakusa was established in 2006 from the merger between the old cities of Hondo and Ushibuka, and the towns of Amakusa (former), Ariake, Goshoura, Itsuwa, Kawaura, Kuratake, Shinwa and Sumoto (all from Amakusa District).
The former Amakusa is west of Kumamoto City and has an area of 85.46 km². An estimated 4,676 people live there, comprising approximately 1,884 families. They have some special products known as Touseki- Amakusa, Takahamayaki, and Fukurenngino-komori-manzyuu. The former two are a type of pottery and the latter is a Japanese sweet.
- Kabuto-Ume(兜梅) It's a beautiful ume blossom but doesn't bear fruit. The reason is guessed as a curse of a woman. In the Middle ages, she was a wife of a samurai and fought bravely against enemies in full armor. However, her helmet (兜 in Japanese) was caught in the ume tree and she was killed because of it. So, she had a grudge against the tree and said, "I never let it bear fruit!"
- Beach, there are many beaches here. Shiratsuru-hama in particular has been selected as the 88th nicest beach in Japan by the Japanese government.
- Hondo bathing beach It's next to Amakusa Dolphin World. The sea is running calmly and there's good place for family.
- Dolphin Watching, there is a dolphin watching tour. The scheduled times are: 10:00, 11:30, 13:00 and 14:30. A minimum of two people are needed. If there are only two people, the costs are ¥3000 per person. Information is available from 09:00-18:00. The tour takes about 1 hour, although, you should arrive there 30 minutes early. Call if you're late, please. The basic fare for adults (over 13 years old) ¥2500, child (under 13) ¥1500, kids (under 4 years old) ¥1000. If you join as a group of more than 15 people, you get a group discount. Reservation: you must make a reservation 3 days in advance and check whether the ship works or not. If case of bad weather, the tour might be cancelled. The cancellation charge is 0% until 5PM the day before, 50% on the day. There is an option of dolphin watching and a sea barbecue - ¥4000 - ¥6000 per person (you can eat special seafood, Urchin-Don, and freshly prepared boiled abalone and lobster). Another option is dolphin watching and fishing - ¥4000; no more than 5 people. It takes about 2 hours and you can bring them your house. Also there is the option of dolphin watching and staying the night - ¥10000-15000. You can choose a tourist home or a Japanese inn.
Their festival, Amakusa Hondo Summer festival, is held from July 31 to August 7.
- Amakusako Haiya (July 31)
The festival kicks off with a kids dance that starts in the evening near Hondo Citizen Center.
- The Fireworks (July 31)
Starting at 20:30 (after the dancing), it is held at Hondo port. There is a big fireworks which marks 1.5 Japanese foot so you must move around to get a big impact. They also have a beer garden.
- The eve of Amakusa Haiya (August 6, held in the evening)
Locals dance in the Hondo Suwa temple to celebrate this festival. After that, the main group dances on the arcade to entertain the audience.
- The general dance of Amakusa Haiya on the street. (August 7. Starts at 19:30. Held between the front of the city hall of Hondo and Amakusa Shinyou Kinko.)
This is the biggest event in the festival. About 3500 people dance in colorful clothes, and even allow visitors to join the dancing!
More information: Hondo Matsuri practice committee:
Amakusa is beside the sea, so fresh seafood is easy to find.