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Omuta-shi

at a glance

Once an energetic coal mining town, Omuta-shi is Fukuoka’s gateway to Kumamoto and Kagoshima. Home to a small zoo and close to Mitsui Greenland Theme Park, come here to dine at fabulous restaurants and taste the famous kusagi manju.

Festivals

Daijayama – Last Weekend of July

Getting There

By train…

– Take the Nishitetsu Tenjin-Omuta line or JR Kagoshima line to Omuta Station By bus: Take the Mitsui Greenland/Omuta bound highway bus from Fukuoka Airport, Hakata, or Tenjin

By car…

– Use the N-S Highway (west from the Nankan exit, head west) and Route 208

points of interest

Mitsui Greenland is actually located in Kumamoto, a short train ride from Omuta. The park features more than 70 rides including roller coasters and one of the world’s biggest Ferris wheels, standing tall at a whopping 105 meters. Attractions include nine different swimming pools in the summer and ice-skating in the winter. See special shows on the weekends like Super Ultraman, Masked Rider, and Wan Wan (Bark Bark) Kingdom, a cutesy dog show. Adult admission is ¥1600 or ¥3600 for a Super Free Pass for unlimited rides, but weekend shows are an additional cost.

getting there…
From Omuta, take the highway bus right to the park or take the JR Kagoshima line to Arao and then a taxi to the park. 1616 Kumamoto-ken Arao-shi Shimo-Ide. Mon-Fri 9:30am-5:30pm; Sat, Sun, and holidays til 6pm • 0968-66-1112 •http://www.greenland.co.jp

Omuta City Zoo is a somewhat depressing, old-fashioned zoo in dire need of a revamp. Seeing all the lonely, cramped-looking animals, you might want to escape to the Ferris wheel. Admission is ¥360.

getting there…
Located next to Enmei-koen, it’s a 15-minute walk from Omuta Station- exit right and walk up Route 208 until you come to the fire station and then turn left. By car, take Route 208 towards Kumamoto and follow the signs to Enmei-koen. 163 Showa-machi. March-October, 9:30am-5pm; November-February, 9:30am-4:30pm; closed 2nd & 4th Mon of the month • 0944-56-4526 • http://www.omutazoo.org

Omuta Cultural Hall houses a small planetarium and holds cultural events. Though little English is available, the planetarium is worth a trip.

getting there…
Located in Shiranui-machi, from the JR side of Omuta station, turn right onto 208 and it will be on the left on the second block. 2-10-2 Chika-machi. 9am-5pm; closed Mon • 0944-55-3131 • http://www.omuta-bunka-kaikan.or.jp

Refresh Omuta This large community center has an onsen and campgrounds with camping equipment available for rent. It also has a climbing wall available for free on Wednesdays from 7-9pm, with volunteer instructors to make sure that you climb safely. Be sure to bring your own climbing equipment, and if you join the group of volunteers you can use the wall for free on select weekends.

getting there…
From JR-Nishitetsu Omuta station, take a Nishitetsu bus bound for Nankan and it’s a five minute walk from ?muta Techno Park-ma bus stop. By car, take Route 208 to Route 10 and follow the English signs. 1221 Daiji-shika. 9am-10pm; Closed 1st & 3rd Mon of the month • 0944-58-7777 • http://www.rifuresuomuta.fukuoka.jp

Eating and Drinking

Cafes and Restaurants

Ari Café welcomes eclectic clientele and serves a full-sized, juicy Western-style burger. Since only two people staff the place, service can be slow, but it’s worth the wait. At times they run out of certain ingredients, so it’s best to call ahead. The staff, while not skilled in English, is very friendly and tries hard to understand foreign patrons.

getting there…
Head straight out of the Nishitetsu side of Omuta station, cross Route 208, and go straight past the post office. It’s on the right across from Omuta elementary school. 1-2-5 Sasabayashi-cho.12pm-4pm & 6pm-12am • 080-3225-9625 • ¥¥

Bei’s Cafe is a posh spot for drinks or dinner. The heavily stocked bar and wall-based movie screens give Bei’s an interesting and enjoyable atmosphere. Ask the extremely friendly bar staff to mix one of Bei’s excellent Long Island Iced Teas.

getting there…
From Nishitetsu Shin-Sakaemachi station, turn left at the Shin-Sakaemachi intersection and continue down the street. Look for the red neon sign. 2-12-2 Sakae-machi. 5:30pm-12am • 0944-56-9622 • ¥¥

Spice Cotton offers excellent Italian dishes and casual ambience. Choose from pastas, pizzas, and breads—even fabulous pumpkin gratin!

getting there…
Head straight out of Nishitetsu Omuta station to Taisho-Meiji street and turn right. Then turn right again at the Taisho-machi 2 intersection and left at the first block, where it will be on your right. 1-5 Hon-machi. 6pm-2am; closed Mon • 0944-57-3108 • ¥¥¥

Bars and Clubs

Afro throws back to the 70s, so pull out your leisure suit for a trip to this hole-in-the-wall disco. Try the advertised party days for Saturday night fever, but on other nights, Afro seems a disco graveyard.

getting there…
From Taisho-Meiji Street turn left at the Central Theater. It’ll be on your right after two blocks. 1-10-2F Nakashima-machi. 8pm-3am • 0944-43-3708 • ¥

Backstreet is a hip-hop club with loud music, cheap beer, and a lively crowd. On Saturdays, watch young Japan shake it to DJs from all over Kyushu, and try it again during the week for a more casual setting.

getting there…
From Taisho-Meiji Street, head towards the river and turn left at the Theater. Then turn right at the first block and it’s on your right. Look for the black cat scratching records. 1-9-6 Taisho-machi. 8pm-3am • 0944-43-4760 • ¥¥

Cue’s pool hall is a great place to relax and perfect your angle shots. At ¥500 an hour, stripes vs. solids matches last into the wee hours.

getting there…
From Nishitetsu Shin-Sakaemachi station turn left at Meiji-Taisho Street and left at the Meiji-machi 1 intersection. It will be on your left, next to Nafco. 1-11-2F Hama-machi. 12pm-12am • 0944-55-5155 • ¥¥

FIREball  serves tasty burgers in a surprisingly cool atmosphere, given the name.

getting there…
Exit Nishitetsu Station and turn right at Meiji-Taisho Street. Turn right again at Taisho-machi 1, pass the Seven-Eleven, and turn right after a block; it’s on your left. 1-5-19 Hon-machi. 8pm-3am • 0944-56-1765 • ¥¥

Victoria Pub is Omuta’s quaint British-style pub with Bass and Guinness on tap. With good music and cheap pub snacks, one hopes the sun never sets on Victoria.

getting there…
Out of the JR side of Omuta station, cross Route 208 and go straight down the main road. It will be just after the Sasabayashi-cho intersection on the street that veers to the left. 2-5-10 Sasabayashi-cho. 6pm-2am; closed Wed • 0944-51-0348 • ¥¥

Living There

shopping

Hana Purasu Located right under Refresh Omuta, this area includes a farmers’ market, greenhouse, café, bakery and natural cosmetics shop. Enjoy a nice cup of tea in its pleasant garden environment. 2-1 Shika-Shinmachi. 9am-6pm; café 11am-3pm (4pm on weekends) • 0944-50-1187

Youme Town Omuta off of Route 206 boasts a large bookstore, restaurants, Best Denki, Toys R Us, a ¥100 shop and many others.

getting there…
Exit Nishitetsu Shin-Sakaemachi station and walk for five minutes, following the signs. 2-28-1 Asahi-cho. 9am-10pm • 0944-53-5000

Leisure Friends Pier Come use the small gym for soccer, basketball, ping-pong or other events. Call to find out their special offerings and be sure and bring your own sports equipment.

getting there…
From the JR side of Omuta station, turn right onto 208. At the police station, turn left and bear left when the road splits. The entrance is on the right. 223 Showa-machi. 9am-9:30pm; Sun until 5pm • 0944-52-5285

New York 40 Karaoke With gaudy neon lights, a large selection of old and new Western songs, and a staff well accustomed to hordes of drunken, tone-deaf JETs, New York does not disappoint. One hour of nomihoudai costs ¥800, and after 6pm, there are great deals on food.

getting there…
Follow the directions for FIREball and it’s next to the Seven-Eleven. 1-2-1 Taisho-machi. 11:30am-3am; until 5am on Fri, Sat, and holidays • 0944-57-7337

Health Yamakawa Dental Clinic has an English-speaking dentist. 83-1 Ichibun-machi 83-1. Mon-Sat 9am-12:30pm & 1:30-6pm • 0944-52-4193

Gynecology Hospital Watanabe has English-speaking staff. 6-1 Ichimura-machi. Mon-Fri 9am-6pm; Sat 9am-3pm • 0944-52-8479 Sugi Junkankika Naika Hospital is open 24-hours.

getting there…
Take Nishitetsu Bus #57 or 59 from Nishitetsu Omuta or Shin Sakae-machi stations and get off at Shirogane-bashi. 9501 Oazawa-Takuma. 0944-56-1119 • http://www.sugi-hosp.jp

Other Omuta Ganbarouikai houses many classes including the UNESCO volunteer Japanese courses.

getting there…
To get there, make a right from JR Omuta Station and turn left at the first light. It’s a seven-minute walk down the street on the right. For more information on the classes, call Kaneko-san of UNESCO at 0944-51-4722.