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Friday, June 12, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Mitsui Green Hotel Kumamoto 三井ガーデ ンホテル熊本

Stayed 20.03.2014, 23.03.2014
Booked via Rakuten Travel


Kumamon craze. Japan is truly a land of mascots, each has its own distinct features which are associated with the place or thing it is promoting. Kumamon, a black plump bear with red cheeks, stood out valiantly from the rest. This mascot was first created to promote the extension of Kyushu Shinkansen to Kagoshima in 2011. Its popularity was unprecedented to the point it was even appointed the ambassador of Kumamoto, making domestic and overseas trips to promote Kyushu. Kumamon can be spotted everywhere within the city - on posters, banners, sign boards, etc. His contribution to revive tourism in Kyushu has "earned" him an office in the city too (Kumamon Square located in Tsuruya Departmental Store)!

His popularity has brought along numerous business opportunities - an extensive line up of merchandise are continuously being churned out and local hotels are offering Kumamon themed rooms to boost occupancy rates. So far from what I have seen, The New Otani has the most elaborate Kumamon themed room and is also the most pricey (15,000 yen/person) among all.
The New Otani website: http://www.newotani-kumamoto.co.jp/event/pickupkumamon/

Was hoping to stay in a themed room but did not want to splurge too much on it. Fortunately, I discovered a cheaper option to get close to this black bear. Mitsui Green Hotel, which is located closer to the busier hub of Kumamoto city, offers similar themed room with simpler design at a much affordable rate. 

Highlights:

- Booked a Kumamon themed twin room (inclusive breakfast) for 11,600 yen, and a normal twin room for 11,000 yen. Stayed in this hotel on two separate nights (Day 6 and 9). Similar business hotel model, all rooms are equipped with basic amenities, sufficient for a pleasant night stay.  


- Kumamon themed room. A conventional twin room was decorated with numerous Kumamon goods. The first object that caught my attention upon entering the room was this huge Kumamon plushie which sat at the work station/dressing table. Kumamon cushions are placed on the beds and rest chairs. Beds were also decorated with runners will various expressions of Kumamon. Moved on to the bathroom and saw a shower curtain imprinted with Kumamon! In addition, mugs, complimentary mineral water bottles and clear files, pictures hung in the room, were all embedded with this lovable mascot. Though decoration was not very detailed, the ambience can still bring out that sense of excitement from guests (regardless of age) occupying the room for the night.


- Breakfast was buffet style and a mix of Western and Japanese dishes were served. Lotus root stuffed with spicy mustard and miso and fried in yellow batter (also known as Karashi Renkon), created from a traditional recipe which is said to have originated more than 300 years ago, was also spotted on the breakfast table. Overall, dinning experience was satisfactory.

Karashi Renkon
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Mitsui Green Hotel Kumamoto 三井ガーデンホテル熊本
860-0012 熊本市中央区紺屋今町1-20
http://www.gardenhotels.co.jp/kumamoto/

How to get there?
(1) City Tram (Line A) - board at Kumamato JR Station and alight at Karashimacho (辛島町). A 5 min walk from the tram station.
(2) Taxi - takes about 5 mins from Kumamoto JR Station.

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