Yamato dates back to the Japanese Palaeolithic period, showcasing its rich history with museums, castles and manor homes. An active volcano looms in the distance, surrounded by rice paddies and streams.
Things to do
Visit Yamato Museum to discover the region’s history and ties to Kure shipbuilding and modern maritime practices. You’ll discover artefacts and displays, ranging from torpedoes to a full-scale battleship replica and an actual Mitsubishi Zero A6M fighter jet.
As an agricultural enclave for hundreds of years, Yamato offers picturesque vistas of golden rice paddies and a water display at Tsujun Bridge. The 20-minute demonstrations are a work of mechanical genius, dating back to the mid-1800s.
Drive to the hilltop Kumamoto castle, built in 1607 and damaged in a 2016 earthquake. You can see the spectacular castle structure from various locations, including Kato Shrine. Designated “cultural properties” include scaffolds, gates and turrets, but the biggest draw is thousands of cherry trees that blossom in spring.
Mount Aso is the country’s biggest active volcano and also harbours the world’s largest caldera, formed at least 100,000 years ago. The bubbling Nakadake crater attracts visitors far and wide who can park within two kilometres to experience the mountain’s volatile nature.
You can rent a car at Tokyo Haneda Airport, about 50 kilometres from town Yamato. The town has a transport hub with buses and trains to neighbouring areas and you can hail taxis or rent cars.