The Kumano fore-arc basin overlies the Nankai accretionary prism, formed by the subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate beneath the Eurasian plate offshore the Kii Peninsula, SW Honshu, Japan. Seismic surveys and boreholes within the framework of the Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment (NanTroSEIZE) project show evidence of gas hydrates and free gas within the basin. Here we use high-quality borehole sonic data from Integrated Oceanic Drilling Program (IODP) Site C0009 to quantify the free gas distribution in the landward part of the basin. The Brie theory is used to quantify gas content from sonic logs, which are calibrated from laboratory measurements on drill cores. First, we show that the sonic data are mainly sensitive to the fluid phase filling the intergranular pores (effective porosity), rather than to the total porosity that includes water bound to clay minerals. We then compare the effective porosity to lithodensity-derived porosity that acts as a proxy for total porosity. The combination of these two data sets also allows assessment of clay mineralogy of the sediments. Second, we compute free gas saturation and find a gas-rich interval that is restricted to a lithological unit characterized by a high abundance of wood fragments and lignite. This unit, at the base of the fore-arc basin, is a hydrocarbon source that should be taken into account in models explaining gas distribution and the formation of the bottom-simulating reflector within the Kumano fore-arc basin.