Arao city is located in the northern part of Kumamoto prefecture, facing Ariake bay – Kyushu island’s largest bay to the west. The city, its culture and history has a strong connection with the neighboring Fukuoka prefecture. The region has been prosperous since the Edo era, after the Mitsui Miike coal mine was discovered.
Although the region’s biggest coal mine terminated its operation in the late 1990’s, the site is highly regarded as an important artifact of Japan’s modernization. In the past decade, major coal pits of the Mitsui Miike mine have been appointed as national cultural property. Today, there are several NPOs which provide opportunities to visit the inside of the once booming mines.
The younger generation is also fascinated by the predominantly western-style architecture and the surroundings. Touristic highlights of Arao city include the two extensive amusement parks: Greenland amusement park and Ultraman theme park. Ultraman, one of Japan’s most beloved superhero TV series, has a cultic popularity among superhero fans and the series has been on the air for over 40 years now.
Find out more about the Arao City Local Organizing Committee in Japanese at http://uppyariake.jugem.jp/