ONE PIECE fans, unite!
All your favorite ONE PIECE characters are coming to Kumamoto, Japan! As part of a collaboration with Eiichiro Oda, author of ONE PIECE born and raised in Kumamoto City, a total of 10 statues of the Straw Hat Pirates of ONE PIECE have been installed throughout Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan! The One Piece statues are part of a larger project to help Kumamoto recover after the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes and are being built thanks to the cooperation of and extremely generous donation from Mr. Oda.
The Luffy statue was the first to be unveiled on November 30th, 2018, with Usopp and Sanji following roughly a year later. The spread of the coronavirus in early 2020 led to postponement in revealing the rest of the cast, but statue revealing resumed in November 2020.
Kumamoto Prefecture recently released a behind-the-scenes video about the making of the One Piece statues. Check it out here!
Continue reading on for details on each of the ONE PIECE statues!
Monkey D. Luffy
Luffy is located in Kumamoto City, so it is most likely the easiest for travelers to Kumamoto to visit and it is relatively easy to find. Luffy stands guard on the front entrance path to the Kumamoto Prefectural Offices, which are not in the downtown area and require a car, bus, tram, or bike ride to access from downtown. Free parking is available for up to 2 hours.
Nearby is the flagship store of Ajisen Ramen, one of the largest ramen chains in the world that just so happens to hail from Kumamoto. Suizenji Jojuen Garden is also about 10 minutes away by foot.
Address (click for Google Maps): Kumamoto Prefectural Offices, Suizenji 6 chome 18-1, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto 862-8570
By bus: From Sakuramachi Bus Terminal, take a bus from platform 25 and get off at Kumamoto Prefectural Offices (about 20 minutes).
By tram: Take tram to Shiritsutaiikukan-mae, then walk about 10 minutes to Kumamoto Prefectural Offices.
Sanji was unveiled on December 7th, 2019 in the town of Mashiki, an area that sustained some of the heaviest damage during the Kumamoto Earthquakes. Sanji is standing in the middle of an athletic park, next to a parking lot behind the Mashiki Gymnasium. The area is suburban without too much for travelers to do in the immediate vicinity, but heading east from Mashiki takes you towards the picturesque mountains of Aso and is a great place for a drive.
Once you’ve arrived at the parking lot, you’ll find Sanji standing in front of the running track area.
Address (click for Google Maps): Mashiki-machi Koryujoho Center, Kiyama 236, Mashiki-machi, Kamimashiki-gun, Kumamoto 861-2242
By bus: From platform 25 at Sakuramachi Bus Terminal, take Bus K3-3 towards Kiyama. After about 50 minutes, get off at Terasako and walk about 10 minutes.
Usopp was unveiled the day after Sanji on December 8th, 2019 in front of Aso Station to greet passengers as they get off their train and start their adventure in Aso. Next to Aso Station is the Aso Roadside Station where you can get some great souvenirs, tasty bento, and creamy ice cream made with local Aso dairy. The Roadside Station also has a well-staffed tourist info desk with lots of information on all the great places to visit in Aso.
Also, if you take a look across the tracks opposite the station, you’ll see a small building with a gated entrance. The building is actually a restaurant that is for the exclusive use of passengers of the Seven Stars in Kyushu ultra-luxury train.
Address (click for Google Maps): JR Aso Station, Kurokawa, Aso, Kumamoto 869-2225
By bus: Take Kyushu Odan Bus from Sakuramachi Terminal platform 6 and get off at Aso Station (about 100 minutes)
By train: Catch a train from Kumamoto Station and take it directly to Aso Station via the Hohi Line.
Tony Tony Chopper
Chopper’s statue was scheduled to be unveiled March 28th, 2020, but was postponed due to COVID-19 until November 7th. Chopper is located in the plaza in front of the main gate of the zoo. If coming by car, you will need to pay ¥200 to enter the zoo’s parking lot with your car. If coming by tram, by foot, etc., there is no fee to see the statue.
The zoo is a nice place to spend an afternoon but may not be worth the visit if your time is limited in Kumamoto. There isn’t too much to do near Chopper, but there are a couple places to eat along Densha Dori (the street with the tram line) and the Piacres Arcade has a few interesting local shops to check out.
Address (click for Google Maps): Kumamoto City Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Kengun 5-chome 14-2, Higashi-ku, Kumamoto 862-0911
By tram: Take tram to Zoological & Botanical Gardens Entrance, then walk 5 minutes to the zoo.
Brook’s statue was scheduled to be unveiled March 29th, 2020, but was postponed due to COVID-19 until November 8th. He is located on the west side of the park along the Mifune Bypass. He is located in Fureai Hiroba/Friendship Park, about equidistant from the east and west parking lots. The park has a nice playground and ice cream shop, and the nearby Dinosaur Museum has interesting exhibits on dinosaurs and explains why you see so much dinosaur-related stuff in Mifune.
Address (click for Google Maps): Fureai Hiroba, Kinokura 1253, Mifune, Kamimashiki-gun, Kumamoto 861-3204
By bus: Take either the K2-4, K2-5, M3-1, or M3-2 from the Sakuramachi Bus Terminal and get off at the Mifunemachi Kyoryu Hakubutsukan (Dinosaur Museum) bus stop. The park is a 1 min walk from here.
Zoro was unveiled on January 22nd in Ozu. We haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet, but the statue is located in a park a short walk from Higo-Ozu Station. The statue is also conveniently located between Kumamoto City and Aso and is a good place to stop if you’re making your way from the city into Aso or towards Oita by car.
Address (click for Google Maps): Ozu Central Park, Ozu 1156-3, Kikuchi-gun, Kumamoto 869-1233
By train: Take train from Kumamoto Station or Shin-Suizenji Station for Higo-Ozu Station and walk 5 minutes to the park.
Franky’s statue was unveiled on November 21st, 2020 and is located next to Takamori Station in Aso. Franky’s statue is likely the largest of all the statues. Since Takamori Station is not accessible by train from Kumamoto City (the Minamiaso Railway was heavily damaged in the Kumamoto Earthquakes and currently does not connect with the JR railway), visiting by car is recommended.
Address (click for Google Maps): Takamori Station, Takamori, Takamori, Aso-gun, Kumamoto 869-1602
By train: The Minamiaso Railway that services Takamori Station has been closed since 2016 but is expected to reopen in Summer 2023.
Robin’s statue was unveiled on October 9th, 2021. Her statue is located within the Kumamoto Earthquake memorial museum at the former Tokai University campus in Minamiaso. A car is required to visit this statue as the memorial museum isn’t located anywhere near a train station.
While you’re in the area, check out the rest of the memorial museum and Aso Farm Land located just down the road. A visit to the top of Mt. Aso is also a must while you’re in the area. The other Aso statues (Usopp and Franky) are located on opposite sides of the mountain. A visit to all three statues would probably take about 1.5 hours.
Address (click for Google Maps): Tokai University – Minamiaso Campus, Kawayo, Minamiaso-mura, Aso-gun, Kumamoto 869-1404
Nami’s statue was unveiled on July 31st, 2021 at Moe no Sato in the village of Nishihara. Nami is located next to the upper parking area and is surrounded by a couple newly planted orange trees.
Moe no Sato is a local produce market with local souvenirs and is a popular place to stop for people heading from Kumamoto City into Aso. Nearby you’ll also find a number of tasty restaurants and ice cream shops, and the nearby wildflower fields in fall and sunflowers in July draw crowds.
Address (click for Google Maps): Moe no Sato Mt. Tawara Exchange Center, Komori 2115-3, Nishihara, Aso-gun, Kumamoto
Jinbe’s statue was unveiled on July 23rd, 2022 at Sumiyoshi Kaigan Park in Uto. Jinbe is considerably larger than most of the other statues (except maybe for Franky) and looks right at home at this seaside spot. Sumiyoshi Kaigan Park is also where you can find the Nagabeta Sea Road, a road that extends straight out into the sea and is only accessible at low tide.
Jinbe is located along the main road towards the Amakusa region, a large archipelago that extends out to the east. The shoreline offers great views of Mt. Unzen across the sea in Nagasaki Prefecture. Just a little further down the road you’ll find Uto Marina, which has a local seafood market and an eatery offering local specialties and tasty ice cream.
Address (click for Google Maps): Sumiyoshi Kaigan Park, Sumiyoshi-machi, Uto City 3162-1