Kumamoto


Kumamoto is the capital city of Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan.  I stayed there while visiting nearby Minamata.   Minamata is a city located in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. It is on the west coast of Kyushu facing the Amakusa islands.


Minamata is known worldwide due to Minamata disease, a neurological disorder caused by mercury poisoning. The disease was discovered in 1956.  


The city is best known as the former site of an environmental disaster caused by industrial pollution of the bay with mercury. From 1932 to 1968, the chemical company Chisso discharged effluent containing methyl mercury from their plant in Minamata. Mercury contaminated Minamata Bay and accumulated in fish, which were then consumed by the local population.
Steps were taken to remedy the situation and Minamata is now a model ecologically friendly town, with a safe environment.  It is very beautiful along the shore and definitely worth a longer visit.

Kumamon is the mascot of Kumamoto prefecture.  In 2011 he was the most popular mascot in Japan and revenues from him  fro the prefecture were astronomical, something like 120 mUSD in the first half of 2012..
Here is Kumamon sitting in reception at the hotel waiting for guests 🙂  

  
Thanks to wikipedia for background

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