10 Places of Nature That You Can Visit Around Kagoshima
The enchanting scenery. Rich tradition. Salivating cuisine… What more can we share about Japan that has yet to be told? Yet, the list goes on.
Still, there is always that one tiny spot on your back that you fail to reach while scratching. Okay. That sounded weird. You get the point. Japan’s beauty is not limited only to Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, or Kyoto. There are more. Much more.
In this article, we will show you a destination that is lesser-known among people outside Japan. Wouldn’t it be fun to take the road less traveled?
Having that being said, let us take a closer look at southern Japan. This usually overlooked destination that is as if it could be also called as the Naples of the East is no other than Kyushu’s Kagoshima Prefecture. Located on the island of Kyushu and Ryukyu Islands, Kagoshima has a total area of around 9,000 km² with a population of less than 2 million. This is due to the fact that Kagoshima is home to numerous active and dormant volcanoes. Also, due to it being less populated, it retains nature at its best state, akin to Naples in Italy.
Here are 10 locations you must visit upon arriving in Kagoshima:
Don’t be fooled by the word “sakura”. It is not what you have guessed. Sakurajima is the name of an active vol-ca-no facing Kagoshima City. You read that right. Sakurajima is Japan’s most active volcano. It is common to hear mini eruptions almost daily. Still, Sakurajima is not a deserted island. You can board a ferry from Kagoshima Port to see it up close. It will only cost you 200 Yen for adults and 100 Yen for children. You could also bring your rental car onboard should you want to explore Sakurajima further.
Upon embarking at Sakurajima Ferry Terminal, there are quite a number of places that you could visit only a stone’s throw away. For instance, Nagisa Lava Trail. The trail was named upon its location that cuts through the lava zone formed by an eruption 100 years ago. In addition, there is Nagisa Park Foot Bath where you could rest while soaking your feet in its designated bath stretched dozens of meters. You could also visit the Sakurajima Visitor Center that houses models, pictures, and videos about Sakurajima. Not to forget Magma Onsen (hot spring baths) and Dinasour Park – both interesting places to visit.
2. Sogi Falls Park (Sogi-no-taki)
Located away from Kagoshima Bay, Sogi Falls Park is near to Isa city. This is definitely ideal to those who prefer lush forest greenery. Sogi Falls Park is a 210-metre wide majestic waterfall that pours 12 meters down onto Senjoiwa rock beneath. This area is famous for its relaxing surrounding. Not to mention cherry blossom and azaleas that changes colour according to seasons, adding mesmerizing view to the park.
3. Shiroyama Observatory
Situated at the heart of Kagoshima City, Shiroyama is a 107-metre hill that provides a great vantage point for tourists. With a promenade of 2 kilometres long, Shiroyama provides a sense of closeness to nature without the need to get way far from urban civilization. At the end of this promenade, you will arrive at Shiroyama Observatory. This place has the best vantage point to enjoy a spectacular sight of downtown Kagoshima, Mount Sakurajima, and Kagoshima Bay.
In addition to that, Shiroyama is also a good place for history buff. Shiroyama means “castle mountain”. In the past, this hill was part of castle fortification. The hill base is now functioned as the site for Reimeikan Museum, dedicated towards the full extent of Kagoshima’s history.
Sengan-en is a stately home and traditional garden built by the 19th head of Shimazu Clan back in 1658. Although most of the building underwent construction in 1880, it still retains the form and functionality as it was before. Located alongside the coast of north downtown Kagoshima, it is strategically located with Sakurajima and Kagoshima Bay as the backdrop. Some part of Sengan-en received UNESCO’s World Heritage Status for contributing towards Meiji Industrial Revolution.
5. Chiran Samurai Residence Garden
Have you ever wonder what it looks like if Seireitei in Bleach anime is real? Well, the answer to that is here at the samurai residence district of Chiran. 250 years ago, Chiran was the home for 500 samurai residences and gained the title “Little Kyoto of Satsuma”. Travel back through time along its 700-metre stone-lined wall. Within this compound, there are seven houses that retained its splendour through centuries. In addition, for 500 Yen fee, you can enter seven beautiful dry landscape gardens that are recognized as National Beauty Spot by the government. Take a stroll in Japanese traditional wear and you’ll be transported back to the Edo era.
6. Tamatebako Hot Spring (Onsen)
True to its name, Tamatebako Onsen is a jewel box filled with magnificence and serene. Don’t worry. Instead of turning you into an old person like Urashima, this Tamatebako will grant you youth and wellness with its rich content of sodium chloride. Furthermore, this open-air onsen will allow you to enjoy the panoramic view of the sea as well as Mount Kaimon. In good weather, your view could reach as far as Yakushima Island, Kagoshima’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Plus, Tamatebako also provides a Western-style bath for those who aren’t familiar with a local styled bath. For those who are interested, there are remains of a salt pan besides Tamatebako Onsen. This salt pan was used for salt production in the past. Till now, hot steam continues to rise from it.
7. Fukiagehama Sand & Flower Festival
Fukiagehama is a beach stretch that covers from Kaseda City to Fukiage Town. Despite it is a beach, swimming is prohibited here. You could still dip in the allocated swimming pool though. Technically, it is a recreation park. You can expect things like sport or outdoor activities like football here. It is also a famous location for families and groups to unwind during weekends.
What sets Fukiagehama from other recreational park is their Sand and Flower Festival. Held in May each year, this event will transform Fukiagehama into a roofless art museum. There will be close to 100 intricate sand statues upon entering the area. The statues are made not just by famous Japanese artists but also foreign artists. It takes form according to the theme. So, be sure to check out that year’s theme as to manage your art expectation. To complement the sand statues, there are tens of thousands of blooming spring flowers. The scenery is simply breathtaking. The icing of the festivals cake, fireworks display at night.
8. Sunamushi Sandbath
The one and only destination in the world where you bath without water. We are not pulling a fast over you. Sunamushi is a bath place destination where you remain dry throughout the entire session. Sunamushi is a natural stream sand bath along the shoreline of Ibusuki. It is being proven scientifically to help relieve headaches, asthma, rheumatism, and joint pain, among other health conditions. The phenomena are caused by underground hot spring, continuously supplying heat towards the surface.
You will be covered up to your neck with warm sand while wearing a yukata. The temperature can be adjusted according to depth. Usually, this activity lasted from 15 to 20 minutes. Afterward, you can wash the sand off in the nearby bath. Other than that, you can opt for a normal hot spring or sauna here.
9. Kirishima Grand Shrine
Legend has it that Kirishima was the place where Gods descended from Heaven to rule the earth. As a form of devotion towards Ninigi no Mikoto, the grandson of Amaterasu (sun goddess), Kirishima Grand Shrine (Kirishima Jingu) was built. The extraordinary vermillion façade with detailed and vibrant coloured relief gives off stunning contrast against the forest surrounding. Although Kirishima had been destroyed several times due to volcanic activity, it will always be reconstructed to its former glory.
10. Kagoshima City Aquarium
Kagoshima is blessed with an ocean that extends 600 kilometres off its coast. Plus, chains of Amami islands to the south contribute to the rich diversity of marine life for Kagoshima Prefecture. The building has seven floors that are well organized according to the specific area of Kagoshima. The aquarium is just beside Kagoshima Port.
The main attraction here is Kuroshio Tank, a gigantic tank that houses fishes of all sizes including giant whale shark. There is also a dolphin pool that offers three shows per day. The dolphins are allowed to swim freely along the canals leading to outside of the aquarium. Hence, Kagoshima City Aquarium is a compulsory destination to appreciate nature more.
Will you be visiting Kagoshima for all the nature it has to offer? Let us know if you have plans to visit Kagoshima! The team in H.I.S. Travel is ready to assist your Japan travels.