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Kagoshima

Sakura-jima Island, an active volcano sitting in Kagoshima Bay - Yaku-shima Island registered as a World Natural Heritage
Located at the southern extremity of Kyushu, Kagoshima has a territory extending about 600 kilometers from the prefectural border in the north to the boundary between it and Okinawa. The temperate and undulating coastline has a shape that looks as if it were hugging the Sakura-jima Island, an active volcano sitting in the Kagoshima (Kinko) Bay. On the sea far beyond to the south there are about 30 islands, such as the Yaku-shima Island registered as a World Natural Heritage, the Tokara Islands with a chain of twelve isles of different sizes over about 162 kilometers, and Amami-Oshima, the third largest island in Japan.

A further look at what is in the prefecture finds the Kirishima-Yaku National Park containing the detached Yaku-shima Island and the Nichinan Kaigan Quasi-National Park known for the communities of subtropical plants, like Piro designated as a special natural monument of Japan, the volcanic areas of Mt. Kirishima-yama, and Sakura-jima Island. From this large number of natural parks, you can easily tell the abundance of nature extending from the temperate to subtropical zones. Also, Tanega-shima Island and Uchino-ura known for rocket launching bases are the most advanced technology-packed gateway to space.

Getting there
An hour and 50 minutes to Kagoshima Airport from Tokyo Haneda Airport. An hour and 10 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. Sixty minutes from Kagoshima Airport to JR Nishi-Kagoshima Station by bus.

  • Amami-Oshima Island
    The best diving resort with transparent water - The island with virgin forests remaining
    Amami-Oshima Island, lying on the sea in the south of Kagoshima, is situated in the middle of the Amami Islands which consist of eight islands, and ranks as the third largest island in Japan next to the Main Okinawa Island and Sado-ga-shima Island in Niigata. The sea around the islands, designated as Amami-Gunto Quasi-National Park, is blessed with transparent water, bright colored coral reefs and tropical fishes, and is known as a fantastic diving spot. The northern part of the island where Amami Airport is located, is a popular resort spot for divers, where white beaches and shores with beautiful coral reefs are dotted here and there.

    About 95 percent of the whole island of Amami-Oshima is forest, including as vast as 700,000 square meters of mangrove virgin forests, and in them live rare species of amamino-kurousagi (a kind of black hare) and ruri-kakesu (a kind of jay). The abundance in natural resources is an attractive point. Not a few people have been visiting the island for the purpose of bird watching in recent years. Oshima pongee, a special product of the Amami Islands, is weaved in about 400 factories, centering on Naze, the only city in the islands.

    Getting there
    Amami-Oshima Airport is 2 hours 25 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, and 1 hour 50 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport, by plane. Kagoshima Airport is 1 hour 45 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, and 1 hour 5 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. Amami-Oshima Airport is 55 minutes from Kagoshima Airport.

     

  • Ibusuki
    The largest crater lake in Kyushu - Sweating in a steaming-hot sand bath
    Ibusuki, located in the southeastern end of the Satsuma-hanto Peninsula, is a typical tourist resort in Kyushu, full of the atmosphere of southern countries, blessed with mild weather, and surrounded by hibiscuses. It is known especially for its natural steaming sand baths heated by subterranean geysers. Bathers clad in kimono lie, covered up to their neck, in sand. After about 10 minutes, the comfortable weight and cozy heat of the sand stimulate their blood circulation, causing them to break out in a sweat over their whole of their body. It is cool, though, around their faces, so that children and adults can enjoy themselves.

    One of the attractions in Ibusuki is Lake Ikeda-ko, the largest lake in Kyushu. It is a crater lake, formed by the subsidence of land when Mt. Kaimon-dake erupted, 19 kilometers around and 265 meters deep. By the lake in spring, rape blossoms are in their best, and you can enjoy the sight of the beautiful contrast between the blue lake and bright colored blossoms. In Chiran-cho, to the northwest of Ibusuki, there are samurai residences, surrounded by stonewalls, lined up about 700 meters along the road, remaining as they were about 250 years ago.

    Getting there
    Kagoshima Airport is 1 hour 50 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, 1 hour 10 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport, and 1 hour 5 minutes from Kansai International Airport. Then take a bus from Kagoshima Airport to Ibusuki, which takes 1 hour 10 minutes. Hakata Station is 5 hours from Tokyo Station by the JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line. Nishi-Kagoshima is 4 hours 55 minutes from Hakata by the JR Kagoshima Honsen Line Limited Express. Ibusuki is 1 hour from Nishi-Kagoshima by the JR Ibusuki-Makura-zaki Line Rapid Train.

     

  • Izumi
    Cranes migrate from Siberia to Izumi. Bansho-koen Park in Akune used to be the watch office for illegal trade.
    Izumi is located in the northwestern end of Kagoshima and faces Yatsushiro-kai Sea. It is famous for Izumi-fumoto Buke-yashiki-ato, or the site of samurai residences of the Edo Period, from the 17th to the 19th century, and also as the visiting place of cranes migrating from Siberia.

    In the early 17th century, stonewalls were built around the residence of samurai in Izumi-fumoto as fortification against the neighboring provinces. Some residences still remain today and they are in designated Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings in Japan. Every fall, tsuru (cranes) migrate from Siberia and stay till they return home in spring. Visitors can see cranes from the observation area of the Tsuru-Kansatsu Center. There are various exhibits on cranes at the Crane Park Izumi, which is a museum of cranes. A virtual experience of the flight of the crane is possible at the Dome Theater, 15 meters in diameter.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Haneda Airport, 1 hour 50 minutes to Kagoshima Airport. From Osaka Itami Airport or Kansai International Airport, 1 hour 10 minutes. From Kagoshima Airport, 1 hour 30 minutes by bus to either Izumi Station or Akune-shiyakusho-mae bus stop. From Tokyo Station, 5 hours by the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line to Hakata Station. From Hakata Station, 4 hours 5 minutes by JR Kagoshima Honsen Line Limited Express to Izumi Station.

     

  • Kagoshima City
    A castle town with Sakurajima, an active volcano - Historic spots associated with the Meiji Restoration
    Kagoshima, the administrative, economic, and cultural center of Kagoshima Prefecture, is a castle town dating back to the 14th century. Kagoshima and its suburbs are located in the northeastern part of the Satsuma-hanto Peninsula, and face Kagoshima Bay, which is also called Kinko Bay. In the city, there still remain lots of historic spots associated with the Meiji Restoration during which time political reforms were undertaken to convert the country from feudalism to a modern unified nation.

    Shiro-yama, 107 meters above sea level, is a hill known as the last hard-fought battlefield of the Meiji Restoration. From the view from the hilltop, you can see Kagoshima below, and also enjoy the view of Kagoshima Bay in the distance with its quiet waves and the grandeur of Sakurajima. At Kyuiso-Tei-en Garden, which is also called Sengan-en, you can get a distant view of Sakurajima beyond Kagoshima Bay, and also enjoy the beautiful sights of cherry blossoms and the flowers of azaleas, chrysanthemums, and others throughout the four seasons. In the Shoko-shusei-kan Museum, the materials and records of the factories, which supported the modernization of Kagoshima by manufacturing cannons, boats and glassware called Satsuma-kiriko in the Edo Period in 17th century, are preserved and exhibited.

    The area most developed in recent years is around the north wharf, and there lots of events, which take advantage of the vast green zone, are held, including the fireworks display in which as many as 13,000 sets of fireworks are set off, live concerts, and sunset cruises in summer. In autumn, the Ohara-matsuri Festival is held in which about 20,000 people parade dancing through the main streets of the city, which attracts more than 600,000 spectators.

    Getting there
    Kagoshima Airport is 1 hour 50 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, 1 hour 10 minutes form Osaka Itami Airport, and 1 hour 5 minutes from Osaka International Airport. Hakata is 5 hours from Tokyo by the Tokaido-Shinkansen Line. Nishi-Kagoshima is 4 hours 55 minutes from Hakata by the JR Kagoshima Honsen Line Limited Express.
     

  • Kirishima
    Colonies of miyama-kirishima in full bloom - Majestic crater lake, one of the highest above sea level
    Kirishima Town is located in the north-eastern part of Kagoshima and is the entrance to the Kirishima district of Kirishima-Yaku National Park, that comprises the Kirishima volcanic chain, Sakura-jima Island and Yaku-shima Island.

    In the red-painted main building of Kirishima-jinja Shrine, an Important Cultural Property, the kagura dance, music and festivals are dedicated: the Minami-kyushu Kagura-matsuri Festival in summer, Kumen-daiko drums and the fantastic fire festival of Tenson-korin-gojinka-sai Festival in winter. Kagura is a traditional performing art of dance and music that dates back to ancient Japan. It is performed in order to serve and entertain the gods wholeheartedly by performing music, song and dance.

    There are ten crater lakes, the highest in elevation in Japan, at the peak of Mt. Kirishima-yama, 1,239 meters above sea level. The beautiful miyama-kirishima (a kind of azalea) flowers bloom there in early summer. The panoramic view from the top is spectacular. Hot spring areas such as Myoban, Yunotani and Shin-yu are on the southwestern slope of Mt. Kirishima-yama. Facilities are provided so that the visitors can stay overnight or just enjoy the hot spring for the day.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Haneda Airport, 1 hour 50 minutes to Kagoshima Airport. From Osaka Itami Airport or Kansai International Airport, 1 hour 10 minutes. From Kagoshima Airport, 60 minutes by bus to Nishi-Kagoshima Station. From Tokyo Station, 5 hours by the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line to Hakata Station. From Hakata Station, 4 hours 55 minutes by JR Kagoshima Honsen Line Limited Express to Nishi-Kagoshima Station. From Nishi-Kagoshima Station, 50 minutes by JR Nippo Honsen Limited Express to Kirishima-jingu Station.

     

  • Nagasaki-bana Point and Mt. Kaimon-dake
    Overcrowded with flowers in mild weather - Mt. Kaimon-dake, one of a hundred best mountains in Japan
    Nagasaki-bana Point, located in the southernmost end of the Satsuma-hanto Peninsula, is a beautiful land, blessed with mild weather and flowers blooming all the year round. In the flower theme park Flower Park Kagoshima, where as many as 400,000 plants consisting of 400 kinds are displayed in their natural growth, you can enjoy the flowers for each season. In Nagasaki-bana Parking Garden, where tropical and sub tropical plants grow, you can enjoy shows by orangutans and flamingos.

    Mt. Kaimon-dake, which is 922 meters above sea level and ranked as one of the hundred best mountains in Japan, is the symbol of the southernmost of the Satsuma-hanto Peninsula, and known as Satsuma-Fuji. It belongs to Kirishima-Yaku National Park, and because there are no high mountains around, you can get a fine view from anywhere. The mountain trails are well laid out, and from the peak you can get a fine view of Sata-misaki Point to the east, and on clear days you can enjoy a distant view of Tane-ga-shima Island, Yaku-shima Island, and smoking Io-jima Island.

    Getting there
    Kagoshima Airport is 1 hour 50 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, 1 hour 10 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport, and 1 hour 5 minutes from Kansai International Airport. Then take a bus from Kagoshima Airport to Ibusuki, which takes 1 hour 10 minutes. Yamakawa is 6 minutes from Ibusuki by the JR Ibusuki-Makura-zaki Line Rapid Train. Then take a bus from Yamakawa Station to Nagasaki-bana, which takes 17 minutes, and to Kaimon-sanroku, which takes 26 minutes. Hakata Station is 5 hours from Tokyo Station by the JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line. Nishi-Kagoshima is 4 hours 55 minutes from Hakata by the JR Kagoshima Honsen Line Limited Express. Ibusuki is 1 hour from Nishi- Kagoshima by the JR Ibusuki-Makura-zaki Line Rapid Train.
     

  • Sakura-jima
    A volcano, the symbol of Kagoshima - An isolated island became adjacent to the mainland through eruptions
    Sakura-jima, with a rising column of smoke, floating in Kagoshima Bay, also called Kinko Bay, in the southern part of Kyushu, is the mountain symbol of Kagoshima, located in the sea, 4 kilometers away from the center of Kagoshima. It has had repeated big eruptions throughout history, and is one of the most famous active volcanoes in the world. Sakura-jima had originally been an isolated island, but the big eruption in 1914 caused the island to become adjacent to the Osumi-hanto Peninsula. Lava fields are spotted here and there on the island, which testifies to the history of its violent eruptions.

    Near Oki Islet in Sakura-jima-cho, is the Sakura-jima Marine Park, where you can observe the seabed with its coral reefs and sea anemones. Also the museum, the Sakura-jima Visitor's Center, plainly shows you a history of the eruptions in Sakura-jima and the relationship between the volcano and the local people. The Yunohira Observation Spot, 373 meters above sea level, is the one nearest to the active Minami-dake crater, from which you can get a panoramic view in all directions and the sight of vast lava fields. In addition, there are some other observatories well arranged, such as the Arimura Lava Observation Spot having an attraction of dynamic sights. Sakura-jima is also known for the Sakura-jima radish, the largest in the world, and Sakura-jima mandarin, the smallest in the world.

    Getting there
    Kagoshima Airport is 1 hour 50 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, 1 hour 10 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport, and 1 hour 5 minutes from Osaka-International Airport. Then take a bus from Kagoshima Airport to Nishi-Kagoshima Station, which takes 60 minutes. Hakata is 5 hours from Tokyo by the JR Tokaido-Shinkansen Line. Nishi-Kagoshima is 4 hours 55 minutes from Hakata by the JR Kagoshima Honsen Line Limited Express. Then take a bus from Nishi-Kagoshima Station to Suizokukan-guchi (Sakura-jima-sanbashi), which takes 12 minutes. Take a ferry from Sakura-jima-sambashi to Sakura-jima-ko Port, which takes 15 minutes.

     

  • Sata-misaki Point
    The southernmost cape washed by the Black Current - Enjoying a comfortable marine stroll
    Sata-misaki Point, located at the end of the Osumi-hanto Peninsula on the southernmost end of Kagoshima, is a peninsula having the atmosphere of southern countries, its sheer sea cliffs washed by the Black Current. The cycads grow wild there, which are designated as natural monuments, and the cape belongs to Kirishima-Yaku National Park.

    About a nine-kilometer drive from O-domari to Sata-misaki Point is Sata-misaki Road Park. Subtropical plants, such as hibiscus, stand in rows along the road, and you can enjoy the atmosphere of southern countries. At the tip of the cape, a 15-minute-walk from the terminus of the Road Park, is an observation spot, surrounded by glass panes on all sides, from which you can get a panoramic view in all directions as if you were in the air.

    An underwater observation boat of semi-submarine type, the Satadei, is in service for a marine stroll at Port Tajiri. The sea area around Sata-misaki Marine Park is under the influence of the Black Current, and the water is warm and transparent. You can fully enjoy the sight of another world through the glass, full of colorful corals and tropical fishes swimming. Kamino-kawa Waterfalls Park is on the upper stream of the Kamino-kawa River that flows through O-nejime Town from east to west, and the sight of water dropping from the sheer cliff of waterfalls 25 meters high is a highlight.

    Getting there
    Kagoshima Airport is 1 hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, and 1 hour 10 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport or Kansai International Airport. Then take a bus from Kagoshima Airport to Kayano-bus-center, which takes 1 hour. Take a bus from the Kayano Bus Center to Sata-misaki via O-domari, which takes 2 hours 15 minutes.

     

  • Tane-ga-shima Island
    The island where guns were first introduced to Japan - The most advanced space base in Japan
    Tane-ga-shima Island, lying on the sea to the south of the Osumi-hanto Peninsula in the southern part of Kagoshima, is the island where guns were introduced to Japan for the first time in the 16th century. It is known as an island where the largest space base in Japan is situated, from which satellites and rockets are launched. A gentle hill spreads over the whole island, with the highest spot being 282 meters above sea level. The island is in a long and narrow shape, being 57.5 kilometers from north to south, and 5-12 kilometers from east to west.

    Tane-ga-shima Kaihatsu Sogo Center in the north of Iriomote is a unique museum which exhibits the first gun made in Japan, called Tane-ga-shima gun. Tane-ga-shima teppo (gun)-matsuri Festival is an annual event in summer worth seeing, which includes firing of a matchlock gun and the Nanban Parade in which a float is brought out to celebrate the festival.

    Nakatane Town, in the center of the island, is a gateway to the air, with Tane-ga-shima Airport. On the western beach, is Nagahama Beach known for beautiful white sand and turtles. On the eastern beach, there are some scenic spots, including Kumano Beach, and Matate-no-iwaya and Chikura-no-iwaya, which are full of strange rocks and bizarre stones.

    At the southernmost end of Minami-tane Town in the south of the island, is Tane-ga-shima Space Center, which contains a launching site and control tower. Within a five-minute walk from there, is the Space Museum, where you can enjoy the simulation and experience of outer space.

    Getting there
    Tane-ga-shima Airport is 3 hours from Tokyo Haneda Airport, and 2 hours from Osaka Itami Airport, by plane. Kagoshima Airport is 1 hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, and 1 hour 10 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. Tane-ga-shima Airport is 40 minutes from Kagoshima Airport. Tane-ga-shima Iriomote Port is 1 hour 50 minutes from Kagoshima-hon-ko Port by the Kagoshima-Shosen jetfoil.

     

  • Yaku-shima Island
    Primeval forests still remaining - Natural heritage Japan boasting to the world
    Yaku-shima Island, lying on the sea to the south of Sata-misaki Point in the southern part of Kagoshima, is, because of its abundant nature, designated as a world heritage natural property, together with Shirakami-sanchi in Aomori, for the first time in Japan. Seventy-five percent of the whole area of the island is mountainous. With Mt. Miyano-ura-dake, the tallest in Kyushu, in the middle surrounded by lots of mountains more than 1,500 meters high, the island is also called the Alps on the ocean.

    Going up from around the coast to the mountaintop, with the height increases, the climate changes from that of a subtropical zone to that of a sub-arctic zone, and the plant systems change in the same way, as if nature in the Japanese Archipelago were condensed. With much rainfall throughout the year, the island is covered with deep green forests, including more than 1,000-year-old Yaku cedars, and produces a mysterious atmosphere. There are lots of points worthy of note, such as Shiratani-unsui-kyo Gorge with beautiful gorges and primeval forests, Yaku Cedar Land with magnificent woods, and Inaka-hama Beach with turtles coming for laying their eggs. Echo Tour is also available in which you can enjoy mountain climbing and strolling attended by a guide.

    Yaku-shima-Goshinzan-matsuri Festival, held at the stage of the Miyano-ura-gawa River, is peculiar to the land with its mountain god cult. It is a joint summer festival of a solemn shrine ritual and an enjoyable event in which even tourists can take part. You should not miss seeing the fantastic ceremony of building a fire on a turret constructed in the middle of the river.

    Getting there
    Kagoshima Airport is 1 hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, and 1 hour 10 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. Yaku-shima Airport is 40 minutes from Kagoshima Airport. Yaku-shima Nishino-ura Port is 2 hours 40 minutes from Kagoshima-hon-ko Port by the Kagoshima- Shosen jetfoil.

     

  • Yoron-To Island
    Semitropical flower island embraced by coral reefs where you can enjoy marine sports any time of the year
    The Yoron-To (-jima) Island is situated at the southernmost end of Kagoshima. It is comprised of coral reefs that have surfaced in the Amami Islands having a circumference of 24 kilometers. It is part of the Amami Islands Quasi-National Park. It is famous for the beautiful ocean with barrier reef and fringing reef that developed around the island and the semitropical climate where the average temperature is over 20 degrees centigrade. Many divers visit this island to enjoy marine sports all the year around.

    The largest O-kaneku Beach has a 2-kilometer long white sand beach with shallow water, an ideal and popular sea-bathing spot. The Yuri-ga-hama Beach situated 1.5 kilometers offshore of the O-kaneku Beach is noted as the stardust beach because the deposits of dead plankton on the beach look like star-shaped sand grains. A glass-bottomed boat service can take you to this mysterious beach that only appears at ebb tide. The Yun'nu-Rakuen Garden is a botanical garden in a tropical atmosphere with 40 kinds of hibiscuses and 150 other kinds of semitropical plants. Flowers bloom all the year round. It is a popular spot for strolling.

    You can learn the history and culture of the Yoron-To Island at the Southern Cross Center. This center displays a wide range of exhibits, from the stoneware of 3,000 years ago to the development of the present Yoron-To Island. The top floor has the highest observation deck in the Island. You can see Okinawa Island and Okino-erabu-jima Island on fine days.

    Getting there
    An hour and 50 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, and 1 hour and 10 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport to Kagoshima Airport. Another 1 hour and 40 minutes from Kagoshima Airport to Yoron Airport.

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  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.

 

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