Roots of Japan


Kagoshima is located in southern Kyushu.Many of its remote islands, such as Yakushima and Amami Oshima, are popular tourist destinations.But, not only rich in natural beauty,Kagoshima abounds in resources such as local industry and tourism.The area is easily accessible by Kyushu Shinkansen or via Kagoshima airport, and the availability of low-cost flights means that flying to Kagoshima has never been easier.Let's discover what attractions can be found in Kagoshima and the surrounding remote islands.

Kagoshima has an approximate area of 9,187㎢ and an estimated population of 1.61 million people.The climate varies considerably depending on the area.On the Kagoshima mainland, summers are long but few days are extremely hot.The area receives a significant amount of rain annually.Winter is generally mild but the Satsuma Peninsula, which faces the East China Sea, can sometimes experience extremely cold weather.The Amami islands, however, are located in a subtropical region.From summer to autumn, the prefecture finds itself affected by a number of typhoons that pass by each year.

Today, let's take a look at some of Kagoshima’s popular tourist locations, set in a prefecture rich in natural beauty and scenic spots.Kagoshima is also the location of the historical Kamikaze Special Attack Corps base.A powerful reminder of a tragic history that should not be forgotten.Check out our list of Kagoshima’s top 10 tourist attractions, including some historic places.Later, we’ll go into detail about what attractions are to be found on the remote islands, so we’ll leave them off the list for now.
1/ Senganen Garden
2/ Kirishima Shrine
3/ Shiroyama Park
4/ Chiran Peace Museum
5/ Sogi Fall
6/ Maruo Falls
7/ Kamabuta Shrine
8/ Cape Sata
9/ Izumi Fumoto Samurai Residences
10/ Cape Nagasakibana

Senganen Garden, which was built as a villa for the Lord of the Satsuma Domain (present day Kagoshima), is a beautiful Japanese garden with magnificent views, including Kagoshima’s symbolic Sakurajima volcano in the distance.You can also pay a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Shoko Shuseikan Museum, which is located right next to Senganen Garden.At the Chiran Peace Museum, you'll find documents and artifacts of Kamikaze pilots on display.Many believe it is important to face history head-on, even though that is not always an easy thing to do.The museum is worth a visit, especially if you are interested in history.

Let’s now take a look at some of the remote islands belonging to Kagoshima.
1/ Sakurajima (volcanic island)
2/ Yakushima Island
3/ Amami Oshima Island
4/ Tanegashima Island
5/ Kuchinoerabushima Island
6/ Tokunoshima Island
7/ Okinoerabujima Island
8/ Kikaishima Island
9/ Yoron Island
10/ Kakeromashima Island

Some of the attractions to be found on these islands include:
1/ Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine (Yakushima Island)
2/ Jomonsugi Cedar Tree (Yakushima Island)
3/ Cape Ayamaru (Amami Oshima Island)
4/ Ooshima Tsumugimura (Amami Oshima Island)
5/ Tanegashima Space Center (Tanegashima Island)
6/ Yonama Beach (Tokunoshima Island)
7/ Saigo Nanshu Memorial Museum (Okinoerabujima Island)
8/ Shichitobana (Kikaijima Island)
9/ Yoron Castle Ruins (Yoronjima Island)
10/ Akasaki Limestone Cavern (Yoronjima Island)

We selected just 10 to highlight today, but Kagoshima has many more beautiful remote islands.Yakushima (2) is one of the most popular destinations.Many tourists, from home or abroad, visit the island to see the Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine and Jomonsugi Cedar tree.

This enchanting place continues to see an endless number of visitors, despite the physical strength required to see the Jomon Cedar.Tanegashima (4) has the distinction of being the home to many space-related facilities.It is also a popular surfing destination.Yoronjima (9), the southernmost island of Kagoshima prefecture, is surrounded by beautiful crystal-clear ocean waters.If you have time, add a visit to one of these remote islands to your travel plans!

The remote islands are not Kagoshima’s only attraction - it’s also an area full of onsen (hot springs).Here are some of the area's best onsens:
1/ Ibusuki Onsen
2/ Kirishima Onsen
3/ Yunomoto Onsen
4/ Myoken Onsen
5/ Yakushima Onsen

Ibusuki onsen, a natural sand bath, is a unique experience.Come and give it a try!
Here, visitors wearing cotton yukata robes get buried in sand that has been heated by underground hot spring water.Eager to experience this unusual onsen, Ibusuki attracts a great number of tourists!You can also enjoy natural hot spring water on the popular tourist destination, Yakushima island (5).After an active day touring the island, how about a relaxing soak for your tired body?Many facilities offer day-use onsen so Yakushima is the perfect place to enjoy onsen-hopping!

Let’s now take a look at the top spots for cherry blossoms and autumn colors.Enjoy the view of Sakurajima together with the cherry blossoms!Here are some places you will want to visit in spring:
1/ Senganen Garden
2/ Mt. Uomidake
3/ Hirakawa Zoo
4/ Tadamoto Park
5/ Hanase Nature Park

The perfect combination of Sakurajima and cherry blossoms means Senganen Garden also makes our list for the top cherry blossom spots.Mt. Uomidake (2) makes enjoying spectacular scenery effortless as you can drive to the summit by car.With around 600 cherry trees there to welcome you, make sure you also visit Mt Uomidake if you are visiting Ibusuki.
Its gorgeous night view would also be a perfect spot for a date night.

Next, here are some of the best spots to see autumn colors.
1/ Sogi Fall
2/ Mt. Kammuridake
3/ Kiyomizu Iwaya Park
4/ Onami Pond (Onaminoike Crater Lake)
5/ Imutaike Prefectural Natural Park

Sogi Falls are sometimes called “the Niagara of the Orient”.The sight of powerful waterfalls and beautiful autumn colors is absolutely breathtaking.You might enjoy visiting in November, at the time of the Sogi Falls Park Momiji Festival.On the eve of the festival, the autumn leaves are lit up, creating a magical scene.A relaxing walk around Onami Pond (4) in Kirishima city while enjoying autumn colors will take around 2 hours.

Finally, let’s take a look at some of the local dishes.Enjoying Kagoshima's unique cuisine might just be the best part of the trip.
1/ Satsuma Shiru soup
2/ Keihan (chicken rice)
3/ Akumaki dumplings
4/ Karaimonettabo (sweet potato mochi)
5/ Gane (deep-fried vegetables)

A list of rather exotic-sounding dishes!Akumaki dumplings (3) are a dessert made with rice flour, cooked in lye and they are usually eaten as part of Children’s day festival celebrations.Gane (5) gets its name from the Japanese word for “crab” in the local Kagoshima dialect, because the thickly sliced and deep-fried vegetables seem to resemble a crab.Keihan (2) is a local dish from the Amami Islands.You'll find many restaurants serving Keihan along the chain of islands that make up the Amami Archipelago, so definitely give it a try!

From our description of Kagoshima's tourist spots, remote islands and local cuisine - did anything catch your attention?Kagoshima has so many remote islands and attractions that you will want to visit again and again.One of the biggest draws of beautiful Amami Oshima is its easy accessibility, thanks to low cost airlines offering affordable fares.Take the opportunity to explore!

It is my opinion and summary. Please acknowledge that there are various opinions.