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32 Sightseeing Spots In Kagoshima - Enjoy Beautiful Scenery And Rich Flora

32 Sightseeing Spots In Kagoshima - Enjoy Beautiful Scenery And Rich Flora

Kagoshima 2017.02.21

Kagoshima Prefecture, located on the island of Kyushu, is blessed with a warm climate and beautiful greenery. This article focuses on some of the most impressive sightseeing spots in Kagoshima.

Translated by Clarke

Written by Mami Wakamatsu

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About Kagoshima

Kagoshima Prefecture, located on the island of Kyushu, is blessed with a warm climate and beautiful greenery and is known for its volcanoes and outlying islands such as Sakurajima, Amami Oshima, and Yakushima.

Kagoshima is made up of two peninsulas and its many outlying islands. The western peninsula is known as Satsuma Peninsula and is home to Kagoshima City. On the eastern side lies Kagoshima bay, sandwiched between Sakurajima and the Osumi Peninsula. Otherwise, you can take a 4-hour south-bound ferry from the port of Kagoshima to Yakushima Island or a 80-minute plane ride to Amami Oshima Island.

This article will list different sightseeing spots by area, but for more comprehensive information on touring Kagoshima, see our article Kagoshima Travel Guide: 32 Sightseeing Spots, Local Food, and More!

32 Sightseeing Spots in Kagoshima

Kagoshima City

1. Sengan’en Park (Isoteien)

Sengan’en Park (Isoteien) is a large park in Kagoshima City. Originally the site where the Shimazu Family, rulers of the Kagoshima Region, had their estate, now it is a place where many visitors come to see the beauty of the surrounding flora.

Inside the park, visitors can see a palace built in the Shoinzukuri style of architecture as well as the amazing front gate that has been used for shooting period TV dramas as well as various ruins of former structures scattered around the park grounds. The park also has plenty of flowering trees such as cherry and plum that springtime tourists can come and see, though the biggest draw may be viewing Sakurajima, a symbol of Kagoshima, from the eaves of the palace.

Address: Kagoshima, Yoshinocho 9700-1
Phone: 099-247-1551
Hours: 8:30 am to 5:30 pm
Closed: Open year round
Entrance Fee: Adults 1000 yen; Children 500 yen
Website: Sengan’en Park

2. Shiroyama

Shiroyama is a 107 meter tall hill located within the city limits. Known for its connection to the famous Samurai Saigo Takamori (upon whom Ken Watanabe’s character in The Last Samurai was based), the area is host to a large number of visitors and is also known as a nice getaway spot for locals to take a load off and relax.

With a promenade for visitors to take a relaxing stroll along, those who make it to the top of the hill can view the whole of the city as well as Sakurajima from a viewing platform, the view extending even to Kaimondake Mountain on clear days.

Known for its spectacular nighttime view, we recommend visiting this area in the evening.

Address: Kagoshima, Shiroyamacho

3. Terukuni Shrine

Terukuni Shrine, located at the foot of Shiroyama, enshrines the spirit of the 28th head of the Shimazu clan, Shimazu Nariakira. Built in the mid-18th century, visitors are sure to be impressed at its scale.

Visitors to the shrine may be privy to witnessing a Japanese wedding ceremony, and during the event held every July called Rokugatsuto, lanterns line the shrine grounds, making it a must-see if you find yourself in Kagoshima during the summer.

Address: Kagoshima, Terukunicho 19-35
Phone: 099-222-1820
Hours: 8:30 am to 5:30 pm
Website: Terukuni Shrine (Japanese)

4. Statue of Saigo Takamori

The Statue of Saigo Takamori, located a short 10 minute walk from Terukuni Shrine, is devoted to the samurai who who worked to bring Japan into the modern age. Built in the man’s hometown 50 years after his death, this impressive statue towers 8 meters into the sky.

This copper statue was sculpted by the same artist as the famous Hachiko statue located by Shibuya Station in Tokyo. Saigo’s formidable presence, the man draped in military garb, is made even more impressive by the towering mountains situated behind him.

Address: Kagoshima, Shiroyamacho 4-36

5. Kagoshima Castle (Tsurumaru Castle Ruins)

Kagoshima Castle (the Tsurumaru Castle Ruins), is located in a corner of the city where the town’s castle once proudly stood. Originally known as Tsurumaru Castle, it was built in 1602 and burned down in 1873, though its stone walls and moat still remain as a reminder of the strength of the Shimazu clan.

Also located within the castle grounds is a statue of princess Tenshoin Atsuhime and the castle ruins house historical documents and artefacts, making it a must-visit for history buffs.

Address: Kagoshima, Shiroyamacho 7-2
Entrance Fee: Free

6. Ishibashi Park

Ishibashi Park is a park located in Kagoshima City.

This park houses Ishibashi Memorial Hall, a museum that displays the history and bridge building technology for the stone bridges, built during the Edo period, that line the Kotsukigawa River which runs through the middle of the city.

Of these bridges, the largest of the 3 remaining structures is the Nishidakyo Bridge, the largest of all, which was used by locals for 150 years before it was eventually moved. The area below the bridge is now available for children to play and is beloved by locals as a place to rest and relax.

Address: Kagoshima, Hamamachi 1-3 (Ishibashi Memorial Hall)
Phone: 099-248-6661
Hours: Ishibashi Memorial Hall - 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (until 7:00 pm in July and August), closed Mondays and on December 31. The park is always open.
Entrance Fee: Free
Website: Ishibashi Park

7. Xavier Park

Francisco Xavier, a Jesuit monk known for traveling to Japan to spread the word of Christianity as well as to introduce foreign culture, came to Japan in 1549 and is said to have spent nearly a year living in Kagoshima. Xavier Park was established on the 400th anniversary of the monk’s coming to Japan and houses a statue of the man himself and a memorial plaque.

Incidentally, there was also a Christian church built during the Meiji period in the Terukunicho district of the city named after and built in honor of the man. While this church was lost during the war, a portion of the sanctuary and some rebuilt portions of the church exist today.

Both serve as symbols of Christianity’s beginnings in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Address: Kagoshima, Higashisengokucho 4-9

8. Museum of the Meiji Restoration

鹿児島・観光スポット

In 1868, the Tokugawa Shogunate that had ruled the country for over 250 years was toppled, paving the way for the Meiji Government to be formed. The period between the fall of the Tokugawa and the rise of the Meiji Government is known as the Meiji Restoration. One particular region that played a key role in the Meiji Restoration is Kagoshima itself.

At the Museum of the Meiji Restoration, a place where the merits of the people of Kagoshima are remembered, is a must-visit for any history buff interested in diving into the conflict that occurred as Japan entered into the modern age.

Inside the museum, visitors will find films, dioramas, and even robotic and other high-tech exhibitions on display. In the Restoration Experience Hall located on the 1st floor, patrons can even see a performance using robots of two of the city’s most important figures, Saigo Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi!

For more information on the Museum of the Meiji Restoration, see our article: Japan's Modern History At A Glance - Museum Of The Meiji Restoration

Address: Kagoshima, Kajiyacho 23-1
Phone: 099-239-7700
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (last entry at 4:30 pm)
Closed: Open year round
Entrance Fee: Adults (High School and older) 300 yen; Children 150 yen
Website: Museum of the Meiji Restoration

9. Kagoshima Aquarium

The Kagoshima Aquarium is the largest of its kind in Kyushu. With over five floors of exhibitions, each floor is home to a plethora of leisurely swimming aquatic critters. Truly a sight to behold!

In the amusement shop located on the 1st floor, visitors can pick up plushes and sweets that make for great souvenirs. With plenty of original products only available at the museum, be sure to check it out.

Address: Kagoshima, Honkoshinmachi 3-1
Phone: 099-226-2233
Hours: 9:30 am to 6:00 pm (last entry 5:00 pm); Open until 9:00 pm on holidays such as Golden Week, Obon, Christmas Eve, as well as Saturdays, Sundays, and other Public Holidays during Summer Vacation.
Closed: First Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of December. Open regular hours during New Year’s.
Entrance Fee: Adults 1500 yen; Elementary and Junior High School Students 750 yen; 4 and Under 350 yen
Website: Kagoshima Aquarium

10. Hirakawa Zoo

At Kagoshima’s Hirakawa Zoo located in the suburbs of the city, visitors are privy to such rare animals for Japan like the koala, the popular white tiger, and serves as home to 140 other types of fauna.

With plenty of flora in the park as well, visitors are also welcome to visit the park’s foot bath hot spring and amusement park, making it a perfect place to spend the day with your family.

Address: Kagoshima, Hirakawacho 5669-1
Phone: 099-261-2326
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (last entry 4:30 pm)
Closed: December 29 through January 1
Entrance Fee: High School and older 500 yen; Children 100 yen
Website: Hirakawa Zoo

11. Kagomma Furusato Yatai Mura

While it may be a mouthful, Kagomma Furusato Yatai Mura is a facility that houses over 25 different food stands or “yatai”, all serving different kinds of Kagoshima delicacies.

At these stands, visitors can partake in dishes prepared with famous Kagoshima ingredients such as sweet potato shochu (distilled liquor) and Berkshire pork, Kagoshima sashimi, Kagoshima ramen - the list goes on and on of Kagoshima specialties. With staff who speak the thick drawl that is Kagoshima dialect, this place is not lacking at all in terms of local flavor.

Though primarily open at night, some stands also offer lunch, and at just a five-minute walk from Kagoshima Station, it’s the perfect place to drop in and check out the city’s delicious dishes.

Address: Kagoshima, Chuocho 6-4
Phone: 099-255-1588
Website: Kagomma Furusato Yatai Mura

12. Sakurajima

Sakurajima is an active volcano located at the heart of Kagoshima prefecture. A beloved symbol of the region, it is a compound volcano made up of a northern, central, and southern mountains. Standing 1,117 meters tall (at the northern peak), and having an area of 80 km² and a circumference of 52 km, as of January 2015 nearly 4,600 people call the area directly around the volcano home.

The volcano has frequently been active even in recent years, and even today you can see it spewing out smoke, with volcanic ash to be found in the surrounding area.

Sakurajima can simply be viewed from afar in Kagoshima, but seeing the mountains, volcanic ash, and the lava fields first hand is certainly worth a trip. The island is also home to delicious crops and relaxing hot springs.

Visitors can travel to Sakurajima via a 15-minute ferry across Kagoshima Bay.

Chiran and Ibusuki Areas

13. Chiran Peace Museum

The Chiran Peace Museum exhibits historical artefacts relating to deceased Kamikaze pilots, members of the Japanese military during World War II who are known for their suicide attacks against American warships during the Battle of Okinawa and other conflicts during the war. As there was a base for these pilots in the nearby region, the museum serves to teach visitors about the lives of the pilots while also illustrating a will for peace on earth.

The museum houses fighter planes from the war as well as letters and documents detailing the thoughts of kamikaze pilots. The museum was built in the hopes that, through understanding of the horrendous tragedy that occurred, people will come to know the value of peace and the value of life.

Address: Kagoshima, Minamikyushu, Chiranchokori 17881
Phone: 0993-83-2525
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (last entry 4:30 pm)
Entrance Fee: Adults 500 yen; Children 300 yen
Website: Chiran Peace Museum

14. Chiran Samurai Residence Garden

The Chiran Samurai Residence Garden, located in the city of Minamikyushu, is an area where homes of former samurai from the Edo period exist today. With seven homes standing within the garden’s confines, the beauty of this area has been recognized by the government of Japan as being of particular cultural merit.

In addition, nearby to the garden one will find the “Little Kyoto of Satsuma” (Satsuma being the name of the Kagoshima of old). Taking a stroll through this area is sure to transport one back in time to the Kyushu of old.

Address: Kagoshima, Minamikyushu, Chiranchokori 13731-1
Phone: 0993-58-7878
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closed: Open year round
Entrance Fee: Adults 500 yen; Children 300 yen
Website: Chiran Samurai Residence Garden

15. Kaimondake Volcano

Kaimondake Volcano is an active volcano located in the Ibusuki area. Standing at 924 meters, the gentle slope of the mountain and its flat top have led it to be dubbed the “Mt. Fuji of Satsuma.”

With tours at only 2 hours to the top, even novice mountain climbers can visit Kaimondake’s peak. From the top, travelers are witness to a view of Kirishima, Sakurajima, Lake Ikeda, Yakushima, and other points of interest.

Address: Kagoshima, Ibusuki, Kaimon

16. Lake Ikeda

Lake Ikeda, located in Ibusuki, is Kyushu’s largest lake. The lake, formed over time from the active volcanoes of the region, boasts a circumference of 15 km.

With shores adorned in a variety of flowers that bloom throughout the different seasons, the lake serves as a popular place for locals to jog and ride bicycles. In January, the whole area is enveloped in yellow as the rape blossoms bloom, making it a true sight to behold!

Address: Kagoshima, Ibusuki, Ikeda

17. Kagoshima Bay

Kagoshima Bay, located to the south of Sakurajima, is sandwiched between the Satsuma Peninsula and the Osumi Peninsula. The bay is also known to locals as Kinko Bay.

You’ll cross Kagoshima Bay if you’re taking a ferry from the Satsuma Peninsula to Sakurajima, and if you’re lucky you may just happen to see some of the dolphins that call the bay home coming up for a breath!

Address: Kagoshima, Sakurajimayokoyamacho 61-4 Sakurajima Ferry, Kagoshima Bay Ferry Terminal
Phone: 099-293-2525
Website: Kagoshima Bay

Kirishima Area

18. Kirishima Shrine

Built hundreds of years ago, Kirishima Shrine is the largest of all Shinto shrines in Kyushu. Though it has been destroyed in the wake of an eruption at Mt. Kirishima, the shrine was subsequently rebuilt, the main structure of the shrine being noted by the government as an important cultural landmark.

The shrine is purported to provide good fortune in terms of national tranquility; peace and prosperity within the household; thriving business; and safe transit.

Address: Kagoshima, Kirishima, Kirishimataguchi 2608-5
Phone: 0995-57-0001
Hours: Open all hours to the public. To request prayer services, office hours are from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm.
Closed: Open year round
Entrance Fee: Free of charge
Website: Kirishima Shrine (Japanese)

19. Mt. Kirishima

Mt. Kirishima is a volcanic mountain range spanning the border between Kagoshima and Miyazaki Prefectures. The tallest peak is that of Karakunidake at 1,700 meters, with the next tallest being that of Takachihonomine at 1,574 meters and is a mountain range renown for its majestic beauty.

Mt. Kirishima remains active to this day and is Kyushu’s foremost hot springs area, not to mention a popular destination for mountain climbers.

20. Takachiho Farm

Takachiho Farm is a farm located on the border between Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures. Open to the public as a tourist spot, here visitors can come and see the many animals that the farm houses have.

With a viewing platform located on the farm’s grounds, one can catch a view of Mt. Kirishima from here. The farm is also host to a number of restaurants and shops, some of which serve the farm’s famous ice cream.

Address: Kagoshima, Miyakonojo, Yoshinomotocho 5265-103
Phone: 0986-33-2102
Hours: April through October: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm; November through March: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Entrance Fee: Free
Website: Takachiho Farm (Japanese)

Osumi Area

21. Kanoya Rose Garden

Kanoya Rose Garden, located near Kagoshima Bay, is Japanese largest rose garden. At over 8 hectares in size, it boasts 35,000 roses in total.

Sporting the park’s own original species, the Princess Kayano, as well as other rare wild roses from the Asian mainland, the garden also features English roses, hybrid tea roses, making for a delightful springtime stroll for visitors.

Address: Kagoshima, Kayano, Hamadacho 1250
Phone: 0986-40-2170
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closed: Mondays (if a national holiday, then the following day) and New Year’s (Park is open every day of the week during the Kayano Rose Festival)
Entrance: Regular 620 yen; High School and Younger 110 yen
Website: Kanoya Rose Garden (Japanese)

22. JAXA Uchinoura Space Center

Science aficionados looking to see science exhibits close up should definitely check out the JAXA Uchinoura Space Center. This launch complex, located in southern Kagoshima, rests on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and has sent off several rockets and satellites starting with Osumi in 1970 and other asteroid research probes such as the Hayabusa.

Visitors are welcomed to the JAXA Unchinoura Space Center free of charge where they can see facilities such as launch platforms and the enormous parabolic antenna from a moving tram. At the adjacent science center, one can view exhibits on the inner workings of rockets and the history astrological inquiry as well as models of rockets and other satellites.

Address: Kagoshima, Kimotsuki, Kimotsuki, Minamikata 1791-13
Phone: 050-3362-3111
Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Closed: Typically open year round (subject to change)
Entrance Fee: Free of charge
Website: JAXA Uchinoura Space Center (Japanese)

23. JSDF Kagoshima Airbase Archives

At the JSDF Kagoshima Airbase Archives, located within the grounds of the present day Maritime Self Defense Force airbase, visitors can view exhibits on the former Japanese Navy.

In addition to this, the 1st floor of the archives features information on the current status and activities of the modern day Japanese Navy. Providing a broad range of information from the former Navy to the present day Self Defense Force, this is a place for those interested in military studies and national defense to dig deep into history.

Address: Kagoshima, Kanoya, Nishihara 3-11-2
Phone: 0994-42-0233
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closed: December 29 through January 3
Entrance Fee: Free of charge
Website: JSDF Kagoshima Airbase Archives (Japanese)

Yakushima, Amami Oshima, and Tanegashima

24. Yakushima’s Jomon Cedar

Enveloped in nature’s splendor, Yakushima Island became Japan’s first World Heritage site in 1993.

The island’s Jomon Cedar Tree is the largest cedar tree native to the island and is said to be nearly 7,000 years old. Seeing the tree’s rugged exterior will leave any visitor in awe of its long history and strong prowess.

As the journey to see the Jomon Cedar requires a trek ranging from 8 to 12 hours, visitors will need to be prepared. However, guided tours are available that offer rental equipment.

For more information on the Jomon Cedar, see our articles: Yakushima - Trekking To The Ancient Cedar Tree (Part 1) and Yakushima - Trekking To The Ancient Cedar Tree (Part 2).

Address: Kagoshima, Kumage, Yakushimacho
Hours: 5:00 am to 6:00 pm (Arakawa Mountain Climbing Bus hours)
Closed: During severe weather such as typhoons or in cases of blocked roadways

25. Yakushima Fruit Garden

Yakushima Fruit Garden is located in southern Yakushima and is home to 2,000 fruit trees. With tropical plants and other southern fruits, visitors can find all sorts of juicy, delicious treats in store for them here.

At the Kajitsuan rest station, visitors can taste and purchase freshly picked bananas, mangos, pineapples as well as an assortment of jams, sending their taste buds off to a land of pleasant climes.

Address: Kagoshima, Kumage, Yakushimachochukan 629-16
Phone: 0997-48-2468
Hours: Year round
Entrance Fee: Adults 500 yen; Children 250 yen

26. Kuchinoerabujima

Kuchinoerabujima is a small island floating off the western coast of Yakushima and is surrounded by luscious greenery and active volcanos.

Blessed with natural hot springs, the island features a number of places for visitors to take a dip. Visitors can take a 1 hour 40 minute ferry ride from the Miyanoura Port off Yakushima to the island, but the trip is definitely worth it for those looking to relax.

Address: Kagoshima, Kumage, Yakushimacho, Kuchinoerabujima

27. Amami Oshima

Floating 350 km to the southwest of Kagoshima is Amami Oshima Island. With its warm climate and tropical flora, the island is also blessed with clear blue seas and white sand beaches.

Known for the traditional crafts of mud dying (dorosome) and Oshima tsumugi weaving, the island also boasts fresh seafood and chicken among its delicacies.

For information on getting to Amami Oshima from Tokyo, see our article: Amami Ōshima - A Paradise Only Two-And-A-Half Hours Away

28. Tanegashima

Tanegashima is one of the many outlying islands to the south of Kagoshima. A lush island full of greenery, the island is home to artefacts dating back to the Paleolithic era.

We recommend enjoying both the natural scenery and water sports available on this island. Another point of interest is the Tanegashima Space Center where rockets are sent into space.

A flight from Kagoshima Airport to Tanegashima Airport takes about 40 minutes, while a high speed boat from the Southern Honko Port of Kagoshima to Tanegashima’s Nishinoomoteko port takes about an hour and a half.

29. Tanegashima Space Center

The Tanegashima Space Center is the largest rocket launching platform in all Japan. With a science center located on site, visitors can even check out a real 50 m rocket!

With several viewing platforms located within the center’s grounds, visitors can see the beauty of nature juxtaposed against the pinnacle of human technology. There are also free tours (though an appointment is necessary) held, so if you are interested, be sure to check out their website to sign up.

Address: Kagoshima, Kumage, Minamitanecho, Kukinaga, Mazu
Phone: 0997-26-2111
Hours: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm (during July and August, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm)
Closed: Mondays (If Monday is a national holiday, then the following day. Open every day in August), New Year’s (December 29 through January 1), May close sporadically for rocket launch
Entrance Fee: Free of Charge
Website: Tanegashima Space Center (Japanese)

Kagoshima Hot Springs

Kagoshima is sprinkled with a plethora of hot springs. Make sure you rest your weary body at one of the prefecture’s relaxing bath houses.

1. Hot Springs in Kagoshima City

In the heart of Western Japan’s volcanic chain lies the city of Kagoshima.

With around 270 natural hot springs, this area of Japan is one of the most prominent, with the quality and variety of different hot springs available being a particular note of interest. With facilities and ryokan lodges offering stays for guests, the area also has bath houses as cheap as 300 yen and even some free foot bath facilities available to the public.

Though staying at a lodge complete with a hot spring bath achieves the pinnacle of a relaxing stay, simply resting one’s feet in a foot bath after a long day of sightseeing is rejuvenating in and of its own right. One such foot bath is located a 10-minute walk from Tenmonkan in Kagoshima City’s shopping district at a place called Dolphin Port where you can wash your feet in the hot water free of charge.

Dolphin Port Footbath
Address: Kagoshima, Kagoshima city, Honkoshinmachi 5-4
Hours: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm (July and August until 10:00 pm)
Website: Dolphin Port Footbath (Japanese)

2. Kirishima Hot Springs

At the foot of Mt. Kirishima lie the many hot springs of Kirishima. With around nine different hot springs burbling up from the ground, each as their own distinct water for visitors to enjoy.

There are also several hotels and ryokan lodges located around the area, some with stone rotemburo open air baths. Kirishima is one place that hot spring lovers owe it to themselves to check out.

Address: Kagoshima, Kirishima, Makizonocho, Takachiho

3. Ibusuki Hot Springs

The coastal city of Ibusuki is home to a number of hot springs where visitors can gaze out at the vast expanse of the ocean as they bathe. The panoramic view of the ocean from one of Ibusuki’s rotemburo baths beautifully contrasts the sea against the sky.

Also, the natural heat of the hot springs warms the sand nearby, allowing for sand baths as well. At Saraku, an establishment specializing in sand baths, visitors can come relax in the warm sand as they listen to the soothing sounds of the ocean. Become one with nature and feel the healing effects of hot springs in Ibusuki.

Saraku
Address: Kagoshima, Ibusuki, Yunohama 5-25-18
Phone: 0993-23-3900
Hours: 8:30 am to 8:30 pm (closes at 9:00 pm)
Closed: Open year round
Website: Saraku

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