Traditional, tropical, mystical, and magical; Kagoshima is nothing short of extraordinary.
Making up the tip of Kyushu and a chain of islands, Kagoshima is an otherworldly blend of the traditional and tropical. Its consistent sunshine coats historic hamlets in the rural north with a bright golden hue. To the south, fine volcanic ash from the very active Sakurajima volcano coats the landscape.
The historic prefectural capital of Kagoshima is the largest city in southern Kyushu. It is a major transport hub for accessing the southern islands. The city is watched over by the roaring Sakurajima, an active volcano just opposite the city, which regularly showers Kagoshima with ash, so pack an umbrella in case of heavy falling dust.
Shrines, museums, and onsen (hot springs) make the city worth stopping over. It’s a short trip across the bay to reach Sakurajima Island, where you can get up close and personal to the volcano itself to witness the daily eruptions from one of the observation points.
Jump from the mainland to the Osumi-Shoto, the northern set of islands belonging to the Nansei-Shoto, which extends to Okinawa from where you can experience snorkeling, canoeing among mangroves and world-class scuba diving. Surfing and shuttle launches can be viewed on the island of Tanegashima. But for a more relaxed outing picking mangroves and sea kayaking, try Amami-Oshima.
5 Famous Foods You’ll Find In Kagoshima
Wild monkey and deer roam among ancient cedar trees; a 10-hour hike will lead you to the world’s longest-living tree at an astonishing 7,200 years old. The incredible cedar forest was the setting for Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke.
Nearby is the Satsuma Peninsula and the rural town of Chiran. It was once a former base for WWII kamikaze pilots. Today, the airport where they launched now serves as the Chiran Kamikaze Peace Museum. At the beaches of Ibusuki, try traditional sand bathing. You’ll be buried up to your head in hot volcanic sand by a professional sand therapist. It’s much nicer than it sounds.
Plan your trip to Kagoshima with the locations below!