Lured south by the Wow of Arao
Been feeling the stress of a new job? Tired of those domestic routines? Instead of the usual cures pigging out on chocolate; slugging back the sake why not rejuvenate your flagging senses with a trip out of town? Specifically: try heading to Arao for a dose of uplifting fun you will be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in Kyushu.
This town in central Kumamoto Prefecture is a literal 300-km2 wonderland that’s as popular with children as with adults, comprising a hotel, hot springs, a beer garden, the famous Ultra Man Land and more. Arao’s biggest drawcard is Mitsui Green Land, a theme park offering 80 thrilling attractions such as the Nio that’ll test your ability to maintain stamina and daring, and laugh maniacally while screaming until you’re hoarse from their giddy heights. If screaming’s not your cup of tea, snuggle up instead on Mitsui’s milder attractions, like the Ferris wheel or merry-go-round.
After you’re sated by all that thrillseeking, pop in to Kyushu Wan-wan Okoku (woof-woof kingdom), Japan’s largest theme park devoted to all things canine. It houses 80 dog species from around the world or over 360 rare and popular dogs in all. Did you know you can be spiritually healed through contact with dogs? Expect to see mellowness and gooiness all round as you leave. Numerous events take place year-round, not least the Dog’s University and Dog Derby.
Arao is easy to get to, whether by train or car, requiring only minimal planning for a fun day out. High spirits and healing are just a weather-check away.