Written by Bond
Exploring Untapped Kagoshima
Kagoshima, one of Japan's southernmost prefectures, offers stunning scenery, local culture, volcanic activity, and so much more. This article introduces some of the Kagoshima's highlights, as well as how to get there.
An untapped, idyllic prefecture at the southern-most tip of Japan’s central island, Kagoshima is abundant with stunning scenery and local charm. Natural parks, hot springs, and volcanoes can all be accessed within Kagoshima’s borders. A perfect utopia for travelers who enjoy experiencing nature and a more relaxed lifestyle, the prefecture of Kagoshima is one that must be visited.
How To Get To Kagoshima
Kagoshima is a long way from the typical tourist destinations, which include the thriving metropolis of Tokyo and the cultural capital of Kyoto. Because of this distance, it is recommended to work a visit to Kagoshima into a larger trip.
Just around 3 hours or so from Hiroshima by shinkansen (bullet train), with trains operating at a variety of different speeds and prices, the prefecture can be easily accessed by travelers already outside the reaches of the Kanto/Tokyo area.
From Tokyo, it can be accessed by a variety of lines, such as the Tokaido, Sanyo, and Kyushu shinkansen. The trip can take between 7 to 8 hours, and requires a transfer at an in-between station, which is typically either Shin-Osaka or Hakata.
A short flight from Tokyo (either Haneda or Narita) to Kagoshima Airport, takes around 2 hours and between 11,000 to 44,000 yen, if discounted tickets are available. From the airport, a shuttle bus is necessary in order to reach the Kagoshima city center, and takes around 50 minutes. Regardless, the opportunity to experience Kagoshima is well worth the distance traveled.
What You'll Find in Kagoshima - A Relaxing Lifestyle
A trip to Kagoshima will not keep you up until all hours of the night with neon lights and 24/7 restaurants, but rather introduce to travelers a different pace of the Japanese lifestyle. Here, the people are kind and curious and always eager to offer assistance.
There are many different positive aspects about Kagoshima and reasons to make the journey to the prefecture. But above all, the natural sights of Kagoshima are unparalleled, and are worth it alone to make a journey. Fans of onsen, the Japanese-style hot springs where visitors must separate by gender and then strip, will be thrilled by the variety that Kagoshima offers. All prefectures in Japan offer onsen experience, but Kagoshima is particularly well known for their springs.
One of a Kind Onsen Experience
At the very edge of Kagoshima, and therefore, at the very edge of Japan’s main island, is an outdoor onsen with an incredible view. These rotenburo, as they’re called in Japanese, are breathtaking hot springs that are not simply just hot water, but rather natural springs that are not contained by a roof and walls, which invite in the elements and the fresh air. In a prefecture as pristine as Kagoshima, the untainted ocean breeze is a welcome sensation.
One specific onsen facility, known as Healthy Land, which has a rotenburo (outdoor bath), is the perfect example of one such place. Here, perched at the literal ocean shore, views of both the limitless ocean, as well as surrounding mountains and rising clouds of steam, can be enjoyed while soaking in the hot water. The contrast between the onsen’s temperature and that of the outdoor air is very pleasant and is truly something that must be experienced for itself.
Relax in Volcanic Sand
At this rotenburo, and a variety of other ones lining this coastal area of Kagoshima, a unique type of onsen can be experienced. While it might sound surprising, visitors looking to seek relief can immerse themselves in sand warmed by volcanic activity. This unique form of relaxation cannot be experienced in nearly any other place in Japan, let alone the world. The most popular town where this type of onsen is offered is called Ibusuki and is about an hour journey from Kagoshima using the JR line.
Enjoy a Day Trip to an Active Volcano
If taking a bath in volcanic sand sounds exciting, rest assured. Kagoshima has a variety of other volcanic attractions that can be experienced during your stay in that prefecture. The most notable one is Sakurajima, which can be easily accessed by ferry from Kagoshima-Chuo Station. From the station, both the JR line, as well as Kagoshima City’s above-ground trolley system, can be used to access the port where the ferry to the island departs from.
Ferries run 24/7 at varying intervals throughout the day. While Sakurajima was originally an island, as the suffix -jima and -shima mean island in Japanese, after a semi-recent eruption, the island released enough lava to connect it to a nearby peninsula. Spending a half-day here exploring is a great chance to mix adventure with relaxation. A few onsen are on the island, as well as complimentary hot spring hot baths, which are located near the visitor’s center.
An infrequently visited destination, especially by international travelers, Kagoshima is an untapped beauty simply waiting to be explored. Filled with stunning scenery, local charm, and one of a kind onsen experience, it is the perfect place for both the weary traveler searching for respite and the prefecture adventurer sleeking to discover undiscovered areas of Japan.