Monday, January 4, 2016

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Kumamon Square くまモンスクエア

Visited 26.03.2014

Meet him in person! Have introduced this adorable mascot of Kumamoto in an earlier post - how popular he has become since he came into the scene in 2011. Had the chance to stay in a Kumamon themed room for two nights (in Mitsui Green Hotel) but nothing beats meeting Kumamon in person! Touted as the most successful ambassador of Kumamoto, his popularity has earned him an "office" in the heart of Kumamoto city. Kumamon Square acts as both a tourist visitor center and local community hall where the goodness of Kumamoto are being promoted here. Kumamon returns to his office occasionally to interact with his supporters and show off his amazingly agile dance movements! 

Also last minute. Slotted this attraction in last minute. Found out that Kumamon will be in his office on the day (at 1500 hrs) when we return to Kumamoto to collect our luggage before heading northwards to Hakata. Gave up the intention to visit Kumamoto Castle again to witness the blooming cherry blossom flowers (was not full bloom a few days ago) and decided to made our way to Kumamon Square shortly after lunch to finally meet this cuddly bear in person. 

Mini theme park. Kumamon Square is situated on the first floor of Tsuruya Departmental Store. Reached ahead of the performance timing by about 15 mins to secure a good spot. A decent crowd started to swarm in to occupy the entire hall as the time drew closer and staffs stopped more visitors from coming in when it was almost full house. Could only scan through the entire compound since we were unable to move around freely among the crowd. Kumamon Square is like a mini Kumamon theme park. His office door was closed and a window blind, which has a picture of him sleeping, was drawn down. Was expecting Kumamon to swing open the door and appear from his office; eventually he entered from main entrance of Kumamon Square. A black letter box (with Kumamon's face on it) was placed outside his office for visitors to drop him notes or letters. A section was dedicated to the sale of Kumamon's merchandises - postcards, stationery, plushies, snacks and tableware, which were created exclusively for Kumamon Square. Did notice that there is a snack counter selling soft serves and drinks too. 

Kumamoto Idol. When Kumamon appeared punctually at 1500 hrs, all the audience of all ages were exhilarated. Kumamon couldn't speak and had to rely on his co host to convey his thoughts; but he was a natural performer - every action he made never fails to tickle everyone on the ground. Every now and then, he will come down from the stage to shake hands with the audience and hug the children seated on the front row. During one segment, his co host asked where the audience came from to see him and I was surprised to see most came from other parts of Japan, some as far as Hokkaido! We were the only foreigners in the group. Raised my hand frantically and exclaimed I came from Singapore to meet him. And of course Kumamon gave a shocked look by means of action and bowed to us to express his gratitude. Had to leave in the middle of the performance to collect our luggage from the hotel and head for the train station. A short yet memorable encounter with the idol of Kumamoto! 


Kumamon Square くまモンスクエア
〒860-0808 熊本市中央区手取本町8番2号 テトリアくまもとビル 1階
Opening hrs: 1000 - 1900 hrs
Fee admission.
Note: To meet Kumamon in person, do check out his schedule on the official website. 
How to get there? 
Take Kumamoto City Tram (A line from Kumamoto JR Station towards Kengunmachi 健軍町) and alight at Suidocho 水道町. Kumamon Square is located on the first level of Tsuruya Departmental Store East Building (東館).

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