JR Higo Ozu Station, located in the small town of Ozu, midway between Kumamoto City and Mt. Aso, is the closest station to Kumamoto Airport. It’s less than forty minutes away from Kumamoto Station. It’s on the JR Houhi Line, and if you take the local train the fare is 450 yen and the train stops at ten other stations on the way. Alternatively, the Aso Boy Limited Express also stops here on its way to Akamizu, Aso and beyond. This deluxe ride costs an extra 800 yen but provides a lounge, panorama seats, café, reading room, and more. Instead of just sitting on the train, you can have a table to enjoy drinks bought on the train and comfortably enjoy a book. If you have kids, they can play in a pool filled with tiny wood balls.
Anyone flying into Kumamoto will arrive at the rather remote Kumamoto Airport. To reach the airport from here, you can take the free Kumamoto Airport Liner. This bus departs roughly every thirty minutes from in front of the station and reaches the airport in twelve minutes. Taxis are also available of course. Inside the station, they provide a digital airplane schedule board for anyone to check the upcoming flights. The room with the airplane schedule also has air conditioning and seats for anyone waiting for the Airport Liner.
Better yet, Higo Ozu is famous for being an accommodation town so you’ll be able to find many hotels in the area, such as Hotel Vista Kumamoto Airport, right down the street from the station. Because Higo Ozu Station is at the midpoint between Kumamoto Station and Aso Station, it is a great place to stay if you’re touring around the prefecture. If you stay at one of the either stations it would take more than an hour and forty minutes. But if you stay at Higo Ozu, prices are more reasonable and it takes less than forty minutes to get to either station.
Besides accommodation and some basic shopping and restaurants, you’ll have to take a car to reach other attractions in the area. Just on the far side of the airport are dekopon (tangerine) orchards, cosmos fields, and Shiraito Falls.