Kumamoto, Japan, the capital of Kumamoto prefecture. It is on the island of Kyushu in southwestern Japan, near the East China Sea. Kumamoto is a commercial, industrial, and transportation center with numerous government offices. Kumamoto University, one of Japan's national universities, is the city's leading institution of higher learning. Kumamoto Castle, built 1601-07, and nearby Mt. Aso, a large active volcano in Mt. Aso National Park, are among the chief attractions.
Kumamoto was founded in the late 16th century and was a military stronghold during the Tokugawa Period—Japan's feudal period, 1603-1867. The city was damaged by United States bombing in World War II.