Great Pubs for Expats in Kumamoto

ByJustin Hanus
Nov 29, 2022

Great Pubs for Expats in Kumamoto

Kumamoto has a vibrant nightlife that draws in locals and foreigners alike. There are many excellent pubs for expats to check out, ranging from small intimate bars to live music spots to bars where revelers can drink and dance late into the night. Here are a few spots to visit if you fancy some fun or a nice cold beer.

Jeff’s World Bar

One of the most popular and busiest of Kumamoto’s pubs for locals and expats alike, Jeff’s Bar is an institution in the city and has been for over 20 years. Founded, unsurprisingly, by an expat called Jeff, it’s a place where you can enjoy a tipple, a dance, and meet new people. It’s open until 2:00 a.m. (3:00 a.m. on Saturdays) and is often packed from 11:00 p.m. onwards, especially on weekends. The bar is located on the second floor of the building on Sannen-zaka Dori and consists of two relatively small rooms. Expect to hear hip-hop and RnB tracks being pumped out, and look out for special party events at times such as Christmas and Halloween. Entry is usually free.

Address: 1-4-3 Shimotori, Chuo Ward 860-0807
Tel: 090-9405-0867

Glocal BAR Vibes

This third-floor bar close to Shimotori Mall is relatively new to the city and is the go-to place if you want to try shōchū, a rice-based alcoholic drink similar to – but more potent than – sake and popular in Kumamoto. The bar’s owner is a local who started the bar as he wanted to introduce more people to this local beverage, and you can enjoy a glass here for around 900 yen. There is a relaxed atmosphere, and guests are encouraged to socialize with each other, which makes it a great place if you are new to the city and want to make friends.

Address: Arita Building, 3F, 1-5-6 Shimotori, Chuo Ward 860-0807

Bar Sanctuary

More of a nightclub than a pub, Sanctuary is where many head for after-hours fun. It’s open until 5:00 a.m. during the week and 7:00 a.m. on weekends, with free entry usually before midnight. The bar consists of several rooms spread across multiple floors, and DJs spin tunes every night of the week. This is the place to head to if you don’t have to work in the morning.

Facebook page: Bar Sanctuary


Like Jeff’s Bar, Corazon is another hub for expats and foreigners in Kumamoto. Another city center venue, it has more of a traditional pub feel and even has a darts board in the corner. It’s a Mexican-themed bar and is a great place for a quiet people-watching in the summer as the terrace overlooks the busy high street.

Address: 1-5-20 Shimotori, Pure Gold Social Tower 2, Chuo Ward 860-0807
Tel: 080-4311-3812


A little bit further out, as it’s on the east side of the Shirakawa River in the city’s Kuhonji district, Voyager is nonetheless worth visiting if you’re a fan of craft beers. There are around 30 different brews to try here, plus a nice range of whiskeys and a food menu, including burgers. Voyager has gained a cult following in Kumamoto, not just for the booze but also for live music and other arts-related events.


hyolee2, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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