Walking around in Kumamoto City without any map… (lost) I had a bit of a ‘tottoro’ discovery moment. Wandering around aimlessly had much merit. In the middle of a concrete jungle, I came across this ‘tunnel’… 

Behind the tunnel was this lusciously green shrine! Who would have thought that? It was crazy, so calm and quiet, but it was right next to a major road! I love walking around in foreign countries walking around aimlessly. It was just so relaxing.

City nickname: Country of Fire 火の国

Well, it had more to do with the many volcanoes in the prefecture than it being super warm.


Where was I?

Somewhere within Kumamoto City, Japan

Where I stayed?

Extol Inn, Ginza-dori, Kumamoto

860-0807 Kumamoto, Kumamoto, Shimotori 1-9-8, Japan

I don’t have much to say about Japanese budget hotels (JPY5000 – JPY9000 per night for double room include breakfast). They’re all clean and look pretty much the same anywhere in Japan. I’ve been to 27 prefectures and I still haven’t come across one that is ‘different’ in this price range.

  • Japanese toilet seat – butt warming, cleaning…
  • 5 pillows to choose from
  • Free clean pajamas
  • Shampoo, hair conditioner and liquid soap
  • Tooth brush & tooth paste
  • Hair dryer
  • Kettle is available. Free tea sachets daily

If you do budget hotels like me in Japan, I highly recommend that you travel with luggage case no larger than 75cm in Japan. Otherwise, it is a real struggle in the hotel room.


I booked via Rakuten (Japan). But I have noticed that booking.com and agoda offered this hotel too. Anyhow, I always cross check several sites before booking. The list of sites that I look up can be found @ my Travel for less page.


This is NOT a sponsored post. As usual, I am just sharing what I did and hope some may find this useful.


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Salut, I am Joyce. 40 something living in Paris. Appreciate little things and share giggles. Prudent, no nonsense reviews. #ExploreLaughRepeat


  1. We still haven’t booked our hotel rooms yet and I’m scouring every hotel review to see if there’s any mention of how TINY the rooms are – if they are, then I’m striking them off the list, lol! I know that I have to expect everything to be more cramped… I’m just so used to wide open hotel rooms like in North America.
    So neat that you just wondered around and stumbled upon this quaint little shrine!

  2. Fantastic images and story once again Joyce. That shrine was a magical find. Are you planning to lead small tour groups of Japan from Britain, appealing to those wanting to get off the tourist track?

    • Thank you, Denis~~ so kind of you to always drop by 😀 perhaps one day I’ll become a tour guide haha. I have compile small group tours for friends before, it was lots of fun.

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