Unleashing Ushibuka: Japan’s Enigmatic Jewel


Explore the undiscovered beauty of Ushibuka in Japan. This comprehensive guide will reveal its top tourist spots, distinctive seafood dishes, deep-rooted culture, and useful travel advice.

Introduction to Ushibuka

Ushibuka, situated at the far southern point of Amakusa City in Kumamoto Prefecture in Kyushu. 

Ushibuka is the largest fishing harbor in the prefecture, recognized for its prosperous fishing trade since the olden days. It is a town that overlooks the East China Sea, blessed with a natural port that takes advantage of abundant marine resources and a deeply indented coastline.

In addition to its natural fish supply, Ushibuka is also flourishing in the farming of sea bream and yellowtail. The fish farmed here are consumed widely both within the country and overseas. Furthermore, Ushibuka is famous as a manufacturing center for various kinds of bonito flakes (excluding skipjack tuna flakes and sardine flakes) which are crucial for the Japanese dish “dashi.” It has the highest production volume in all of Japan.

Ushibuka's Unique Cuisine

Ushibuka not only offers abundant seafood caught in its rich sea but also has a variety of local dishes made with meat.


You can enjoy a variety of rare fish such as Madai (sea bream), Kibinago (silver-stripe round herring), Ise Ebi (Japanese spiny lobster), Purple Uni (sea urchin), and Tachiuo (silver pearlfish) in addition to common seafood in Ushibuka.

Horse meat

In Kumamoto Prefecture, which has the highest production volume in Japan, there is a custom of eating horse meat, and the popularity of tender and healthy horse meat is spreading nationwide. You can also enjoy delicious horse sashimi and horse meat dishes in Ushibuka.

Akaushi (Japanese brown cattle)

The meat of Akaushi cattle grazed in the Aso region, including Kumamoto, is rich in lean meat, contains moderate fat, and combines umami, tenderness, and healthiness.

Highlight the Ushibuka Haiya Festival

Ushibuka is considered the birthplace of the “Ushibuka Haiyabushi” among 40 Haiyabushi folk songs nationwide, said to have originated in the late Edo period and famous as the “original Haiyabushi.”

During the spring season, Ushibuka served as a vital hub for maritime transportation, with many sailing ships entering and exiting to transport seafood and other goods. It is said that the sailors and women of Ushibuka sang and danced together, giving rise to the “Ushibuka Haiyabushi.”

Today, the “Ushibuka Haiyabushi Festival” is held every year on the third Saturday and Sunday of April.

Ushibuka, a traditional Kyushu port town of Rich History, Seafood in Japan

Ushibuka, situated at the southernmost tip of Amakusa Shimojima island, is a 3-hour drive (140 km) away from Kumamoto City.

An architectural marvel: The Ushibuka Haiya Bridge

The Ushibuka Haiya Bridge, a bridge that unexpectedly emerged in the serene fishing port, was designed by the notable Italian architect Renzo Piano. He is famous for his design contributions to the Kansai International Airport. The construction of this bridge reached completion in August, during the 9th year of the Heisei era.

The bridge stands out due to its impressive length of 883 meters, which makes it the longest bridge span in the entire prefecture. Despite its huge width of 16 meters, which includes the carriageway and sidewalks on both sides, the bridge still maintains a delicate and graceful allure. This is a characteristic that entirely contradicts its massive size.

The Ushibuka Haiya bridge is unique not just for its size, but also for its beauty. It perfectly blends with the natural landscape, creating a harmonious balance between human-made infrastructure and the environment. The result is a bridge of unique beauty that contributes to the aesthetics of the area.

Let's experience the locals of Ushibuka

If you want to feel the charm of Ushibuka that cannot be fully conveyed here, please consult INAKAdventure. Guides who are well-versed in local information will support you from planning your trip. You can travel while being introduced to hidden places that you must visit in Ushibuka.

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