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  • Highlights
    Kagoshima (鹿児島) is Kyushu’s southernmost major city and the capital of Kagoshima Prefecture. The city has been nicknamed the “Naples of the Eastern world”, and is often compared with its Italian sister city Naples due to a similarly mild, temperate climate, palm tree lined streets, relatively hot tempered inhabitants and Sakurajima, a similar emblematic strato-volcano to Mount Vesuvius. Kagoshima City was officially founded on April 1, 1889.

    Kagoshima Japan

    The city is located approximately 40 minutes away from Kagoshima Airport and features shopping districts and malls. Transportation options include Shinkansen (bullet trains), local trains, city trams, buses, and ferries to-and-from Sakurajima.

    Reimeikan Museum (黎明館)
    Reimeikan Museum Kagoshima

    Dedicated to local history and culture, Reimeikan Museum offers visitors the wide knowledge of Kagoshima’s history from ancient to modern times within 3 spacious floors. There are a few interesting models where one could admire, such as a large diorama of downtown Kagoshima at the beginning of the Showa Period (1926-1989) and a small scale model of a village from the middle ages. It was built on the former site of the Kagoshima / Tsurumaru Castle, surrounded by parts of the former moat and stone walls. The museum and castle ruins are located at the base of Mount Shiroyama, which literally means “castle mountain” in Japanese.

    Kagoshima Aquarium (いおワールド鹿児島水族館)
    Kagoshima Aquarium Kyushu

    Kagoshima Aquarium / Io World Kagoshima Suizokukan is located along the water beside Kagoshima Port, near Sakurajima ferry terminal. First opened in 1997, they place an emphasis on local marine life on its 7 floors, including the chain of islands to the south that are also considered part of Kagoshima Prefecture.

    The aquarium’s most impressive attraction is its massive Kuroshio Tank, which contains fish of all different sizes — schools of tiny fish, rays and even a giant whale shark! Other exhibition areas include sea otters, giant crabs, coral reefs, electric eels and mangroves. The Dolphin Pool holds 3 dolphins shows per day and the animals are allowed to swim freely in the canals occasionally.

    Sengan-en Garden (仙巌園)
    Senganen Garden Kagoshima Kyushu Japan

    Sengan-en Garden, also known as Isoteien (磯庭園), is a Japanese-style landscape garden along the coast north of downtown Kagoshima constructed in 1658 by the wealthy Shimazu Clan, one of the most powerful feudal clans during the Edo Period (1603-1867). One of the garden’s most striking features is that it uses Sakurajima and Kagoshima Bay as “borrowed scenery”. The garden also includes small ponds, streams, shrines and a bamboo grove.

    The Shimazu ruled the Satsuma domain (present day Kagoshima) for almost 700 years until the end of the feudal age in 1868 and continued to be influential into the modern era as they adopt Western science and technology.

    Iso Residence, originally built in 1658 stands at the center of the garden, but the current building dates back to a mid-1880s reconstruction. After the end of the feudal age, the residence became the main residence of the Shimazu family, and its rooms are preserved in the way they were used in the 1890s. The interior of the residence can only be seen on paid guided tours.

    Shiroyama Park (城山公園)
    Shiroyama Park Kyushu Kagoshima Japan

    Shiroyama Park (Shiroyama Kōen) is a park in downtown Kagoshima that extends over Mount Shiroyama. The 107-meter high mountain formerly served as the site of a castle fortification with the castle’s former grounds at the base of the mountain now serving as the site of the Reimeikan Museum. Shiroyama literally means “castle mountain” in Japanese.

    The famous Shiroyama Observatory provides visitors with spectacular views of downtown Kagoshima, Kagoshima Bay and Sakurajima. The night-view is also greatly recommended during nights when the sky is clear and the moon is bright. What’s more, enjoy the beautiful Sakurajima view as you soak in the outdoor Satsuma no Yu hot spring bath at the nearby Castle Park Hotel, which is also open to non-staying guests.

    Sakurajima (桜島)
    Sakurajima Volcano Kagoshima Kyushu Japan

    Sakurajima is one of Japan’s most active volcanoes and the symbol of Kagoshima. The volcano smokes constantly with minor eruptions often taking place multiple times per day. Located in the middle of Kagoshima Bay, Sakurajima is deemed as the area’s most prominent geographic feature, having an elevation of 1117 meters and a circumference of about 50 kilometers.

    It used to be an island in the bay before the powerful 1914 eruption, whereby the massive lava flow created the volcano’s current land connection to the Osumi Peninsula in the east. For the majority of travelers, however, the volcano is still most easily accessed by the ferries that run the 3.5 kilometers between Kagoshima Port and the Sakurajima Ferry Terminal.

    Travelers visiting Sakurajima can explore the ferry terminal which includes an onsen, foot baths, short hiking trails and an information center. Sightseeing buses, regular buses and rental bicycles/cars are other possible methods of travel.

    Alternative day trips
    Satsuma Peninsula Yakushima Kirishima
    Satsuma Peninsula Kyushu Japan Yakushima Forest Kyushu Japan Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park Kyushu
    The peninsula boasts a mixture of hot springs & sand baths (bathers are buried in naturally heated sand in Ibusuki town), subtropical natural attractions and cultural sites. A subtropical island located off the southern coast of Kyushu and part of Kagoshima Prefecture. It is covered by an extensive cedar forest which contains some of Japan’s oldest living trees that some are more than 1,000 years old. Lying on the border between Miyazaki and Kagoshima Prefecture, Kirishima is an active volcanic mountain range made up of mountains, highlands, volcanic lakes and hot springs and offers good hiking through beautiful mountainous surroundings.

    Kagoshima Kurobuta Pork Kyushu Kurobuta Pork Kurobuta pork contains high-quality protein and is also high in nutrition while being low in calories. The meat is deemed as one of the most recalled brand due to the unique breeding and raising methods. The texture of the pork is very soft and gentle with a pleasing flavor due to its very fine and tight muscle fibers.
    Kagoshima Satsuma Wagyu Beef Japan Kyushu Satsuma Wagyu Beef The high quality and distinct flavour of the beef makes it one of the most famous Wagyu variety in all of Japan. Kagoshima has a rich natural climate with the Shibi Mountains in the east, Kuroshio (Black Stream / Japan Current) in the west and Izumi plains in the central area. The climate is the perfect storm for raising the best cattle.
    Kagoshima Tea Japan Kyushu Tea Kagoshima Prefecture is the second largest producer of unprocessed tea after Shizuoka Prefecture. The famous tea varieties include Shincha, Sencha, organic Tencha & Gyokuro. The region has a long history of volcanic activity such that much of the land throughout Kagoshima has been covered in a layer of volcanic ash known as shirasu. This ash helps produce soil that is exceptionally rich in minerals.
    Kagoshima Shochu Sake Kyushu Japan Shochu / Sake Kagoshima’s Shirasu Plateau formed from continual falls of pumice and volcanic ash, cannot grow rice but is the perfect location for raising sweet potatoes. This in turn resulted in the ancient residents of this area creating Kagoshima’s distinctive imojochu (sweet potato shochu).