Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Kagoshima Travel Guide: 32 Sightseeing Spots, Local Food, and More!
Kagoshima is the southernmost prefecture in Kyushu, with a warm climate and a rich natural environment. This article is a guide to its many appealing sightseeing spots, delicious dishes and other attractions!
Written by Jumpei Kawashima
The Location of Kagoshima Prefecture
Kagoshima is the southernmost prefecture in the Kyushu Region. The distance from Tokyo is about 1,000 kilometers, and with a climate of its own, Kagoshima has developed a unique culture.
Kagoshima boasts a warm climate and a rich natural environment. People from all over the world visit the 600 plus islands that form the prefecture, including Yakushima, which is designated a World Heritage site.
The symbol of Kagoshima is Sakurajima, an active volcano. Kagoshima is the third-ranked prefecture in regards to the number of volcanos, which are spread out in the prefecture. Thanks to the volcanoes, there are many hot springs in areas such as Ibusuki, Makurazaki and Kirishima.
Kagoshima has developed a unique culture such as the Satsuma dialect, and foods like the Satsuma-age and imo-jochu spirits. This article contains essential information to fully enjoy Kagoshima prefecture.
1. Access to Kagoshima
2. Access to Amami Oshima
3. Transportation within Kagoshima
4. Kagoshima Area Guide
5. 32 Sightseeing Spots in Kagoshima
6. Kagoshima's Shopping Spots
7. Recommended Sightseeing Routes in Kagoshima
8. Eventsin Kagoshima
9. Hotels in Kagoshima
10. Kagoshima's Local Food
11. Souvenirs from Kagoshima
12. Local Climate and Clothing (How to Deal with the Volcanic Ash)
13. Satsuma Dialect
14. How to Enjoy Sightseeing in Kagoshima
Access from Tokyo to Kagoshima
From Haneda Airport
From Haneda, JAL, ANA and low cost carriers (LCC) such as Skymark Airlines fly to Kagoshima Airport. The flight takes about one hour and 50 minutes, and the fare ranges from 8000 yen (Skymark) to about 20,000 yen (JAL and ANA).
From Narita Airport
There are also flights from Narita by LCC such as Jetstar Japan. The flight takes about two hours and 15 minutes, and the fare is approximately 7000 yen.
If you are leaving from Tokyo Station, using the Shinkansen is an option. However, there are no direct trains to the Kagoshima-chuo Station, so you will have to switch trains at Shin-Osaka Station (Osaka) or Hakata Station (Fukuoka).
Route 1: [Tokyo Station] Tokaido Shinkansen -> [Shin-Osaka Station] Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen/ Mizuho or Sakura -> [Kagoshima-chuo Station]
From Tokyo, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka. From Shin-Osaka, the Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen Mizuho or Sakura will take you to directly to Kagoshima-chuo Station. The ride will take about seven hours.
Route 2: [Tokyo Station] Tokaido Shinkansen -> [Hakata Station] Kyushu Shinkansen Sakura or Tsubame -> [Kagoshima-chuo Station]
From Tokyo, take the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen to Hakata Station in Fukuoka. From Hakata, the Kyushu Shinkansen Sakura or Tsubame will take you directly to Kagoshima-chuo Station. The ride will take about eight hours.
[Hakata Station] Kyushu Shinkansen -> [Kagoshima-chuo Station]
From Hakata, located in the Kyushu Region, it takes about an hour and a half to Kagoshima on the Kyushu Shinkansen. The fare for a reserved seat is approximately 10,000 yen.
Visitors from abroad should use the Japan Rail Pass, which enables them to ride all the JR trains and buses during a certain period. For further information, please read Tailor-Made Holidays in Japan with Japan Rail Pass.
Access to Amami Oshima
From Narita Airport
LCC such as Vanilla Air fly to Amami Oshima from Narita Airport. The flight takes about two and a half hours, and the fare is 7000 yen.
For further information, please read Amami Ōshima - A Paradise Only Two-And-A-Half Hours Away.
From Kagoshima City
Board an airplane from Kagoshima Airport, or take the ferryboat.
Japan Air Commuter operates seven flights a day between Kagoshima Airport and Amami Oshima. The flight takes about an hour, and the fare is approximately 16,000 yen.
The ferryboat leaves from the Kagoshima Shinko (new port) to the Naze Port in Amami Oshima. It takes about 11 hours, and the fare ranges from 9,050 yen (second class) to 22,630 yen (special class). Checked baggage will cost 850 yen, and an additional charge of 1700 yen will be required for bicycles.
Transportation in Kagoshima
Kagoshima Main Line, Ibusuki-Makurazaki Line, Hisatu Line, Kitto Line, Nippo Main Line, Miyazaki Kuko (airport) Line and Nichinan Line run through Kagoshima. Most sightseeing spots can be reached by using the railroad.
Kagoshima City offers an adequate bus service, reaching out to wide areas including the sightseeing spots. The Kagoshima City Transportation Bureau offers various sightseeing bus courses such as the Shiroyama and Iso, Waterfront, Night View and Sakurajima Island View. For more information, take a look at their official site.
Hisatsu Orange Railway
The Orange Railway runs between Yatsushiro City in Kumamoto Prefecture and Satsumasendai City in Kagoshima Prefecture. Passengers can enjoy the view of the coastal lines, and this railway is also popular with sightseers. Visitors should check the special train called Orange Restaurant, where passengers can dine on the train.
Kagoshima ports offer various routes to the islands of Kagoshima and Okinawa. Some of the destinations can be reached by plane, but traveling by ship and taking in the ocean view has its own charms. If you can afford the time, using a ferryboat may be an option.
If you are worried about using trains and buses, the taxi may be an option, as it takes you directly to the destination.
The basic taxi fare in Kagoshima City is 620 yen for 1.5 kilometers, with additional charges of 200 yen for every 500 meters. If you are traveling in a group, the fare can be split among the members.
Various tourist attractions are spread out in the prefecture, so using a rental car is another option. There are many car-rental companies located near Kagoshima-chuo Station.
Kagoshima Area Guide
Kagoshima City is located at the middle of the prefecture. The cityscape is filled with trees, and Sakurajima, the symbol of Kagoshima, can be seen from the parks and observatories.
Kagoshima-chuo Station, the terminal for the Kyushu Shinkansen, and Kagoshima Airport, with flights from Haneda and Narita airports, are both located here, so Kagoshima City also serves as the gateway to other areas. Visitors should plan their travels through these two locations.
Ibusuki City is located in southwest, in the Satsuma Peninsula. The area is idyllic, filled with paddy fields and lakes. This area is well-known for farm products such as okra.
Ibusuki is also popular among visitors for its hot springs. The unique sand bath, which uses the hot beach sands, is a must-try if you visit the area.
Izumi and Satsumasendai Area
Izumi City and Satsumasendai City are located in the western part of the prefecture, where the Hisatsu Orange Railway runs. There are hot springs and ryokan (Japanese-style inn), as well.
Visitors can also enjoy activities such as the sea kayak, so navigating the Kagoshima sea on a kayak might be refreshing.
Sakurajima is an active volcano, located across the bay from Kagoshima City.
Various hiking and trekking tours are available, including a guided tour of the volcano. Visitors can enjoy the natural side of Kagoshima in these tours.
From Kagoshima Port, it takes 15 minutes by ferryboat to Sakurajima.
Tanegashima and Yakushima
Tanegashima and Yakushima are both islands located south of Kyushu. From Kagoshima, high-speed boats, ferryboats and airplanes serve these popular islands.
Tanegashima is known for its Space Center (rocket-launch complex), and Yakushima, famous for the Jomonsugi (ancient cedar tree), has been designated a World Heritage site. Visitors should extend their trip to these islands, as they are both accessible from Kagoshima.
Amami Oshima, an island located 350 kilometers from Kagoshima City, is also close to Okinawa Prefecture. The island has a tropical climate, along with the clear, blue sea and white beaches.
Various sightseeing spots and unique cuisine using the local products welcome the visitors, so extending your trip to this island might be fun.
For those who want to know more about Amami Oshima, please read 5 Activities Unique to Amami Ōshima Island and Amami Ōshima - A Paradise Only Two-And-A-Half Hours Away.
32 Sightseeing Spots in Kagoshima
1. Kagoshima (Tsurumaru) Castle
Kagoshima (Tsurumaru) Castle is located in Kagoshima City. Stone walls and moats still remain at the site, reminding the visitors of its glory days.
As the form of the roof resembled a crane (tsuru), it is also known as "Tsuru-maru Castle." Visitors can peruse the historic documents at the on-site archive.
Address: Kagoshima city, Shiroyama-cho 7-2
2. Ishibashi Park
Ishibashi Park is located in Kagoshima City. Stone bridges (ishi bashi), originally built in the Edo Period, were transferred to this park. A memorial hall is also built in the grounds.
These bridges, such as the largest, Nishida-bashi, all have a long history, as they have been used for 150 years. Now the children can play in the shallow pools under the bridges, and the park has become a popular spot for the citizens.
Address: Kagoshima city, Hama-machi 1-3
3. Terukuni Jinja
Terukuni Jinja is a shrine in Kagoshima City with a rich history. It was built in the middle of the 19th century, and has a solemn, serene atmosphere.
The shrine hosts traditional ceremonies, such as a wedding ceremony with the bridal pair in kimonos. "Rokugatsudo" is an annual event in July, when the shrine is decorated with a large number of toro (lanterns). If you are visiting at the time, don't miss it.
Address: Kagoshima city, Terukuni-cho 19-35
4. Sengan-en (Iso Teien)
Sengan-en (Iso Teien) is an expansive garden in Kagoshima City. The site, located at a beautiful area, was owned by the Shimazu family, who ruled Kagoshima.
Sengan-en is known as a place of scenic beauty, and visitors can view the Sakurajima, which symbolizes Kagoshima. It is worth a visit.
Address: Kagoshima, Kagoshima, Yoshino-cho 9700-1
5. The Statue of Saigo Takamori
From Terukuni Jinja, it is a ten minute walk to the Statue of Saigo Takamori. Saigo, who hailed from Kagoshima, brought a great contribution towards the modernization of Japan. This statue was built to honor him in 1937, 50 years after his death.
The author of this statue also created the Hachiko statue in Shibuya, so it is a precious work of art. Dressed in a military uniform, Saigo stands tall against the backdrop of the hills.
Address: Kagoshima, Kagoshima, Shiroyama-cho 4-36
6. Xavier Park
Xavier Park was built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the visit by Francisco de Xavier, the Roman Catholic missionary. He arrived in Japan in 1549, and stayed in Kagoshima for a year.
In the Meiji Period, a church was built in Xavier's memory. Although the original was burned down during the Second World War, a new church was built afterwards. Also, a part of the original church wall still remains at the site. The park is one of the places that show that Kagoshima was a gateway to Christianity in Japan.
Address: Kagoshima city, Higashisengoku-cho 4-9
7. Chiran Peace Museum
Chiran Peace Museum displays documents about the Japanese kamikaze pilots in the Second World War. The museum was built in Chiran, as the pilots' base was located here.
Fighter planes of the day, along with the notes left by the pilots are also displayed at the museum. This is a place to think about peace, life and the tragedy of war.
Address: Kagoshima, Minamikyushu, Chiran-cho, Kori 17881
8. Chiran Samurai Residence Garden
Chiran Samurai Residence Garden, located in Minamikyushu City, is a row of samurai's residences. They are all furnished with a beautiful garden, built in the Edo Period. Chiran is known as the “Little Kyoto of Satsuma,” and the scenery of the city resembles a miniature garden.
There are seven gardens, and the area is designated a historic buildings preservation district by the Japanese Government. This is the place to feel the atmosphere of the Edo Period, when the samurai ruled Japan.
Address: Kagoshima, Minamikyushu, Chiran-cho, Kori 6198
9. Takachiho Farm
Takachiho Farm is located at the borderline between Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures. It is open to the public as a sightseeing spot, and there is a zone where the visitors can pet the animals.
Mount Kirishima can be seen from the observatory, and the dairy products from the farm are sold at the restaurant and shop.
Address: Miyazaki, Miyakonojo, Yoshinomoto-cho 5265-103
10. Sogi no Taki Park
Sogi no Taki Park is built around Sogi Falls, which cascades down into the Sendai River running through Isa City. The waterfall, 210 meters wide and 12 meters tall, is an impressive sight.
In the park, visitors can also enjoy the cherry blossoms and the autumn leaves. The park will be illuminated in November, so that may be a good time to visit.
Address: Kagoshima, Isa, Okuchi, Miyahito 635-11
11. Kanoya Rose Garden
Kanoya Rose Garden, located by Kagoshima Bay, is one of the largest rose gardens in Japan. 35,000 roses are planted across eight hectares of land.
The park is filled with roses of various colors and types. There is also a greenhouse where the visitors can choose and cut the flowers, which makes a romantic souvenir.
Address: Kagoshima, Kanoya, Hamada-cho 1250
12. Uchinoura Space Center
Uchinoura Space Center is a rocket launch site located by the Pacific coast in southern Kagoshima. Many satellites and probes have been launched from this site, including "Osumi", Japan's first satellite in 1970, and the asteroid probe "Hayabusa."
There is a free tour of the site, allowing the visitors to see the launch pads and the huge parabolic antennas. The Space Science Reference Center displays materials about rockets and the history of space research, so it is worth a visit.
Address: Kagoshima, Kimotsuki district, Kimotsuki-cho, Minamikata 1791-13
13. Tanegashima Space Center
Tanegashima Space Center is the largest rocket launch site in Japan. At the on-site Space Museum, a 50 meters-long rocket mock-up welcomes the visitors, encouraging them to learn more about space research.
There are observatories to view the launching pad, as well as the surrounding environment. Visitors can participate in a free tour of the facilities, so take a look at their official site. (Please note that reservations are required.)
Address: Kagoshima, Kumage district, Minamitane-cho, Kukinaga, Matsu
14. Kanoya Air Base Archive
Kanoya Air Base Archive is located on the grounds of the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) Kanoya Air Base. The first floor displays materials about the MSDF, and how it developed since its birth after the Second World War.
There are also materials about the Japanese Imperial Navy, along with precious information about the war. At this archive, visitors can learn about the Imperial Navy, MDSF, and think about what it means to defend one's country.
Address: Kagoshima, Kanoya, Nishihara 3-11-23
15. Kagoshima City Aquarium
Kagoshima City Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in Kyushu. Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of marine animals swimming around the tanks on each floor.
The shop on the first floor handles candies and stuffed toys. They also have original items which can only be purchased at the shop, so it is worth a look.
Address: Kagoshima, Kagoshima city, Honko-shinmachi 3-1
16. Hirakawa Zoo
Hirakawa Zoo is located in the suburbs of Kagoshima City. There are 140 types of animals, including a koala, which is rare in Japan.
The zoo also has an ashiyu (foot bath) spot where visitors can enjoy the view, and a playground as well. All family members, from young to old, can have fun at this zoo.
Address: Kagoshima, Kagoshima city, Hirakawa-cho 5669-1
17. Museum of the Meiji Restoration
The Museum of the Meiji Restoration displays materials about the forefathers of Kagoshima and their achievements. There are various exhibitions about the history of Kagoshima, using high-technology media such as films, dioramas and robots.
Visitors can watch a drama about Kagoshima's dignitaries, such as Saigo Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi, at the basement floor hall. They played a significant role in the Meiji Period, and this museum is the place to learn about how Kagoshima was involved in the modernization of Japan.
Address: Kagoshima, Kagoshima city, Kajiya-cho 23-1
18. Yakushima Fruits Garden
Yakushima Fruits Garden is located in the southern area of Yakushima, displaying 2,000 types of flagrant tropical plants and fruits.
At the rest area named "Kajitsu-an" (fruit house), visitors can sample fresh fruits and jam, which can be purchased as souvenirs.
Address: Kagoshima, Kumage district, Yakushima-cho, Nakama 629-16
19. Kagomma Furusato Yataimura
Kagomma Furusato Yataimura is a sightseeing spot which opened in 2012. There are 25 street stands inside, serving various Kagoshima dishes.
Visitors can taste Kagoshima's special products such as the imo-jochu (an alcoholic drink) and kurobuta at the stands. They can also enjoy the Satsuma dialect spoken by the staff.
Address: Kagoshima, Kagoshima city, Chuo-cho 6-4
20. Kagoshima City Hot Springs
Close to 270 hot spring sources are located in Kagoshima City, with a wide variety in regards to the chemical properties of the springs. The types of facilities, such as a ryokan (Japanese-style inn) with their own hot spring or a public bath with a charge of 300 yen, are also different, so the visitors can choose according to their budget and travel plans.
Some facilities have moderate-priced ashiyu (foot bath), so if you feel weary after walking around, give it a try.
21. Ibusuki City Hot Springs
Ibusuki City is located by the coast, and the hot springs with the ocean view are popular among the visitors. The view from an open-air bath, with the stark contrast between the sky and the ocean, is breathtaking.
"Saraku" offers a sand bath, where guests, warmed by the hot beach sands, can truly enjoy the surrounding atmosphere.
Address: Kagoshima, Ibusuki, Yunohama 5-25-18
22. Kirishima Hot Springs
Kirishima Hot Springs is and area located in northern Kagoshima, at the foot of Kirishima-yama (Mount Kirishima). There are nine hot springs areas, and visitors can enjoy the various chemical properties of each hot spring.
Various hotels and ryokan are located in the area, and some of them have open-air, natural-stone bathtubs. Visitors to Kirishima should be able to find a adequate place to stay in this area.
Address: Kagoshima, Kirishima, Makizono-cho, Takachiho
23. Kagoshima Bay
Kagoshima Bay is surrounded by the Satsuma and Osumi peninsulas. Located south of Sakurajima, the local residents also refer to it as "Kinko Bay."
Sakurajima Ferry operates 24 hours a day, connecting the two peninsulas. Passengers can enjoy the view of Sakurajima from the ferryboat during the ride across the bay.
Kaimondake is an active volcano located in the Ibusuki area. It rises 924 meters above sea level, and is also known as the "Satsuma Fuji," as its shape resembles Mount Fuji.
It takes about two hours to the top, an adequate trek for a novice climber. The local sightseeing spots can be viewed from the top.
Address: Kagoshima, Ibusuki, Kaimon-juccho
Ikeda-ko (Lake Ikeda) is the largest crater lake in Kyushu, located in the Ibusuki area. The lake was created by volcanic activity, and its perimeter is 15 kilometers long.
The lakeside is decorated with seasonal flowers, and is popular among the local residents for jogging and cycling. The yellow colza flowers bloom in January, creating an impressive scene.
Address: Kagoshima, Ibusuki, Ikeda
26. Amami Oshima
Amami Oshima is an island located at 350 kilometers southwest of Kagoshima. It is known for its warm climate, tropical plants and beautiful scenery of the blue sea and white sand beaches.
Amami Oshima has developed a unique culture. Traditional crafts such as dorosome (mud dyeing technique) and Oshima Tsumugi (Oshima weaving), local cuisine like keihan rice can be experienced only at this island. If you have the chance to visit, join the local people and try the various activities. For information on the route to Amami Oshima from Tokyo, please read "Amami Ōshima - A Paradise Only Two-And-A-Half Hours Away."
Tanegashima is an island located south of Kyushu, with a rich natural environment and ruins from the Paleolithic period.
The Space Center on this island is famous as the largest rocket-launch complex in Japan, so it might be fun to tour the front line of space research. From Kagoshima Airport, it takes about 40 minutes by airplane to Tanegashima Airport. From the South Pier of Kagoshima Main Port, it takes about an hour and a half by high-speed boat to Tanegashima Nishino-omote Port.
Sakurajima is an active volcano, located in the central area of the prefecture. It is a symbol of Kagoshima, with the Kita-dake (northern peak), Naka-dake (central peak) and Minami-dake (southern peak) forming a composite volcano. The height of Kita-dake, the highest peak, is 1,117 ⅿeters above sea level. The volcano's surface is about 80 square kilometers, the perimeter about 52 kilometers, and the population is approximately 4,600, as of January, 2015.
Sakurajima is still active, erupting repeatedly and the smoke billowing from its peak. Volcanic ash lies thick in the area, a sight that can be seen only in Kagoshima. Sakurajima is also known for its farm products and hot springs.
It takes about 15 minutes by ferryboat to reach Sakurajima from Kagoshima City.
Kirishima-yama (Mount Kirishima) is a group of volcanoes located along the borderline between Kagoshima and Miayazaki prefectures. The group consists of picturesque spots such as Karakuni-dake (Mount Karakuni), the highest mountain at 1,700 meters above sea level. Takachiho-no-mine peak, claimed as a sacred mountain, is 1,574 meters above sea level.
Volcanoes are still active in this area, creating hot springs. If you are into mountaineering or trekking, this is the place to visit.
Kuchinoerabu-jima is a small island located west of Yakushima. The island boasts a rich natural environment, along with a volcano.
There are hot springs all over the island, with some bathing facilities for the visitors. From the Miyanoura Port in Yakushima, it takes about one hour and 40 minutes by ferryboat to Kuchinoerabu-jima.
Address: Kagoshima, Kumage-gun, Yakushima-cho, Kuchinoerabu-jima
Shiroyama is a hill in Kagoshima City, rising to 107 meters above sea level. A promenade runs through the hills, making it a popular spot among the citizens.
Sakurajima and the Kagoshima cityscape can be viewed from the observatory on top of the hill. It is also known for its nighttime view, so a visit at twilight might be a good idea.
Address: Kagoshima, Kagoshima city, Shiroyama-cho
32. Jomonsugi (The Ancient Cedar Tree)
Jomonsugi is the largest of the wild cedar trees on Yakushima. It is said to be close to 7,000 years old.
The rough surface shows the strength of the old tree surviving in the wilderness. This ancient tree is located in a deep forest, and trekking to it has become a popular attraction for the visitors.
Tenmonkan is a shopping area in central Kagoshima City. There are arcades on some of its streets, filled with entertainment facilities, exclusive boutiques and restaurants. It is a busy area, no matter the time.
Address: Kagoshima, Kagoshima city, Higashisengoku-cho
Amu Plaza Kagoshima
Amu Plaza Kagoshima is a building standing next to Kagoshima-chuo Station, consisting of casual fashion shops, cafes and restaurants.
Visitors can view the Kagoshima cityscape from the "Amurun" ferris wheel on the sixth floor. It might be fun to look for your next destination while riding the Ferris wheel.
Address: Kagoshima, Kagoshima city, Chuo-cho 1-1
Dolphin Port is a commercial facility by the Kagoshima Bay. It contains general variety shops and restaurants, with a great view of Sakurajima.
There are also shops handling handicrafts and special products of Kagoshima, so visitors searching for souvenirs should take a look.
Address: Kagoshima, Kagoshima city, Honko-shinmachi 5-4
From Kagoshima City, the popular route is to visit Ibusuki or Kirishima, and stay for the night. Both areas are famous for its hot springs, so staying at a ryokan might be fun.
Visiting the islands such as Tanegashima, Yakushima or Amami Oshima from Kagoshima City is another route which is becoming popular. There are airplanes and ferryboats to these islands, so enjoying the natural environment and unique culture might be a fun way to spend your time.
Kagoshima is located in southern Kyushu, so the spring season arrives faster than Tokyo, and ohanami (cherry blossom viewing) starts in March.
There are many ohanami spots, including the Sakura-no-Yakata at Kiyomizu Magaibutsu, shown in the photograph above. If you are visiting Kagoshima during this season, be sure to enjoy viewing the sakura as well.
April: Shibushi Oshaka Matsuri
Shibushi Oshaka Matsuri is a spring festival held at Shibushi City in eastern Kagoshima. It started in the Edo Period, to celebrate Buddha's birth.
The festival parade features the shan-shan uma ceremony, with the bride riding a horse lead by the bridegroom. There is also a dance event where visitors can participate, so join the local residents and have some fun.
October: Yamankan no Kyoen
Yamankan no Kyoen is held every October, at Hioki City in western Kagoshima. It is an event to commemorate the forefathers who took part in the Battle of Sekigahara at the start of the 17th century.
The rural landscape changes at nighttime, with over 10,000 torches burning. There are also live performances with Japanese drums on the special stage, so it is worth a visit.
November: Ohara Matsuri, Yakushima Yume Matsuri and Sueyoshi Hozai
There are many matsuri (festivals) in November, and here are some examples.
"Ohara Matsuri," which started in 1959, is known as the largest festival in southern Kyushu. About 20,000 people dance to the tune of "Ohara-bushi," a popular Kagoshima folk song.
"Yakushima Yume Matsuri" (dream festival) is an autumn event in Yakushima. About 14,000 toro (lanterns) light up the night, creating a magical atmosphere.
"Sueyoshi Hozai" is a festival held at Soo City in inland Kagoshima. Visitors can watch "Yabusame" (horseback archery), performed at the approach of Sumiyoshi Junja (shrine).
There are many hotels in Kagoshima City, including budget and "capsule" hotels, which are recommended for those who want to save on their lodging expenses.
Kagoshima is famous for its hot springs, and there are various ryokan (Japanese-style inns) in the prefecture, where the guests can feel the Japanese atmosphere. Some ryokans even have their own hot spring, so visitors should take a look at those types as well.
Kagoshima's Local Food
Satsuma-age is a deep-fried dish, made with ground fish meat. As the name suggests, it is said to have started from Kagoshima. The original recipe was created in China, and came to Kagoshima via Okinawa.
The ground fish meat is shaped into various forms, and is mixed with vegetables. It can be eaten raw or grilled, so give it a try.
Kurobuta (Shabu-Shabu and Tokatsu)
Kurobuta is the name for the black Berkshire pigs raised in Kagoshima. This type of Kagoshima pork is especially famous for its high quality. It is easy to eat, without the ordinary pork smell.
Kurobuta is used various dishes such as shabu-shabu (Japanese-style meat fondue) and tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet). Visitors should try and taste the difference between a kurobuta and regular pork meat.
Torisashi is sliced chicken served raw, just like sashimi (sliced raw fish). It is a special dish even in Japan, only seen in Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures.
The sight of the pink, lightly grilled chicken arranged on a plate is also nice to look at. Visitors should try this Kagoshima dish.
Satsuma-jiru, another local dish, is a stew of vegetables and chicken, cooked in miso soup. Its origin goes back to the Edo Period.
The samurai ate satsuma-jiru before the battle, to raise their morale. Its deep taste matches perfectly with rice.
Ramen in the Kagoshima area is the thick-flavored type. The soup is made from tonkotsu (pork bones), with the medium width noodles. Some ramen restaurants use kurobuta as a topping, which adds to the Kagoshima taste.
Miso ramen is also popular in Kagoshima, so give it a try on your visit.
Shirokuma is a frozen dessert which originated in Kagoshima. It is a colorful dish, with condensed milk, canned fruits and azuki beans heaped on top of shaved ice. Shirokuma is served at various tearooms in Kagoshima City.
It is said that this dessert was named shirokuma (white bear) because the sight of toppings on shaved ice resembled a polar bear. Shirokuma also comes in a cup, so you can also enjoy them while taking a stroll.
Karukan is a Japanese-style confection, a specialty of the Kyushu Region. It is made by mixing water and sugar with Japanese yam, which results in a soft texture.
There are square-shaped types, as well as a bun-type with a bean-jam filling. Try the samples at the souvenir shops.
Imo-jochu is a liquor made from sweet potatoes, a special product of Kagoshima. It has a faint, sweet taste, and people get hooked on its distinctive aroma.
The taste of imo-jochu slightly differs with each brand, so it might be fun to try the various types at liquor shops or izakaya (Japanese-style pubs).
Kagoshima has a food culture of its own, and the various prodcuts make wonderful souvenirs. Sweets such as Karukan, a Kyushu favorite, and "Lovely," an unbaked cake made from sweet potato, are popular among the visitors.
Satsuma-age and imo-jochu are staple souvenir items, sold at various shops. They would make a nice souvenir for your families and friends.
Local Climate and Clothing (How to Deal with the Volcanic Ash)
Kagoshima is located in southern Japan, and has a warm climate. The average temperature is higher than in Tokyo by two degrees Celsius, so visitors should take measures against heatstroke in summer. The temperature drops surprisingly in winter, sometimes below 15 degrees Celsius. Visitors in the wintertime should have coats ready.
From summer to autumn, Kagoshima is frequently hit by typhoons. Public transportation will be affected on such occasions, so be sure to check the weather forecasts.
There are many volcanos in Kagoshima such as Sakurajima, which sometimes drops volcanic ash on the surroundings. The ash will soil your clothes, and may cause breathlessness. Visitors should be prepared with umbrellas, masks and handkerchiefs in case of an eruption. Also, soft contact lenses instead of hard types, or glasses, are recommended to protect your eyes.
Kagoshima has a unique dialect. There are 16 local dialects (*1) from Hokkaido to Okinawa, and the Kagoshima citizens speak the Satsuma dialect.
It is rather difficult to understand, even for a Japanese. If you visit Kagoshima, try some of the following phrases.
I, me: Oi
Thank you: Arigato-gozaimosu
*1... Please note that the number of dialects differs according to the classification.
The Satsuma dialect is spoken in a slow, leisurely style. If you visit Kagoshima, try and talk to the local people using the Satsuma dialect.
To Enjoy Sightseeing in Kagoshima
Kagoshima is known for its warm climate, and the number of volcanoes in the prefecture. There are many islands as well, such as Yakushima, where visitors can enjoy the natural environment. Unique food and sweets are abundant, along with the distinctive cultural appeals like the Satsuma dialect and the various festivals.
Watch out for the heat and the volcanic ash, and enjoy your stay.
If you need to exchange currencies, go to the bank, or try the ATM at Seven-Eleven stores.
If you're short on cash, look for the ATM with the "PLUS" logo, which offers cash advance with credit cards.
The article below will show the simple phrases you can use when checking into hotels.
"Japan Connected-Free Wi-Fi" is a service for the visitors from abroad. Be sure to download the application in advance.
The article below will show how much the food costs in Japan, so take a look when planning your budget.