What are the top tourist attractions to visit in Kagoshima, Japan?
Japan is divided into eight regions, which branch out to 47 prefectures. The city of Kagoshima is the capital of Kagoshima Prefecture, belonging to the Kyushu region. This beautiful city is often compared to Naples, an Italian city because they share a similarly mild climate while being home to a scenic stratovolcano. Sakurajima is to Japan’s Kagoshima, while Mount Vesuvius is to Italy’s Naples.
The city of Kagoshima is home to a distinct dialect called Satsug? or the Kagoshima dialect. This part of Japan is, without a doubt, home to many yet to be explored wonders, and on this list, you shall find out the best things to do in this wonderful city.
Learn about black vinegar-making
The making of black vinegar is an age-old practice in Kagoshima, which mainly makes use of rice malt, steamed rice, and underground water. The warm climate, availability of an excellent water source, and the effective use of ceramic jars to age the rice vinegar gives its mellow taste. This rich, mild taste complements many of Japan’s cuisine. The making of this healthy condiment is a must-see at the Kurozu Information Center and a must-try for your palette.
Shochu is probably the best spirit you’ve probably never tasted yet. This distilled spirit is most similar to vodka mainly because of its clear color and characteristics. Shochu is typically extracted from rice, sweet potatoes, barley, buckwheat, and brown sugar. Its alcohol content is usually weaker than whiskey but stronger than wine and sake.
Kagoshima Prefecture is recognized by the World Trade Organization as the home to shochu, where over 113 distilleries mature this unforgettable drink. If you’re up for a unique drinking experience, trying shochu is a must-do while in Kagoshima.
Visit the majestic Sakurajima
Sakurajima is one of the main attractions of Kagoshima, as well as Kyushu. This active volcano is usually smoking, with minor eruptions taking place many times per day. Standing at around 3,664 ft with a circumference of about 50 km, this sight is impossible to ignore. It’s three main peaks are Kita-dake (north summit), Naka-dake (middle peak, and Minami-dake (southern peak). Among these peaks, the Minami dake peak is the most active. Though there is a strict prohibition against approaching the volcano’s craters, which is sensible, observation points that are 3km-away are available for you to observe. If this is not one for the books, what is?
Have a historical tour at the Senganen Garden
This Japanese style landscape garden offers a scenic view of nature where you can see the Sakurajima, Kagoshima Bay, refreshing ponds, streams, shrines, and bamboo grove. At the center of this garden is the Iso Residence, a historic home built in 1658, which became the primary residence of the Shimazu family. If you want to see how Japanese homes looked in the 1890s, this house is perfect for you. Its aesthetic remains unchanged and is well preserved, making it a valuable attraction of Kagoshima.
Spend a day at the Shiroyama Park
The Shirayoma Park hailed its name from shirayoma, which means “castle mountain.” In the olden times, the mountain this park extends to served as a defense against any attacks towards the castle. The mountain connected to this park stands at around 351 ft with its mountain foot being a location to the Reimeikan Museum. Other famous attractions viewable within the park are the Shiroyama Observatory and the Hot Spring Satsuma-no-Yu.
Attend the traditional event of Sogadon-no-Kasayaki
This long-established event features the epic tale, Soga Monogatari, a story between two revenging Soga brothers. During the 12th century in Japan, the father of the two young boys was killed because of land rights. Since Soga brothers grew up to be skilled fighters, they avenged the death of their father. They end up successfully retrieving his sword against the oppressor. As part of their revenge, the Soga brothers burned a pile of paper umbrellas instead of torches. Up to today, around July, this event is commemorated through traditional performances. Men dress in Japanese clothing as they sing and burn around 300 umbrellas. Before setting the pile on fire, a traditional Japanese performance is shown in the form of karate demonstrations, Japanese drum performances, and Satsuma’s classic martial art. Interested? Make sure you make time for this annual event, which usually happens in Kotsuki-gawa Riverside.
Explore the Kagoshima Castle
This castle, also known as the Tsurumaru Castle, is notable for being a humble abode to the richest feudal rulers in Japan during the 1600s. This castle is small in scale and more inferior in quality compared to other palaces, as the intention was to decrease the likelihood of having the castle attacked during a violent feud. Today, what’s left out of this meek castle is its artful ruins, its ancient moats, and old stonewalls.
Have a hearty Kagoshima ramen
Ramen is one of the most popular features of Japan, with every region giving ramen their unique twist and taste. Kagoshima ramen derives its heart-warming flavor from pork bone broth and chicken stock. This cloudy soup also contains vegetables, dried sardines, dried mushrooms, and kelp. Compared to other local varieties, this ramen has thicker noodles and is served with pickled radish.
Learn more about Japan’s past from the Museum of the Meiji Restoration
The Meiji restoration was a historical and impactful event for Japan. Learn more about Japan’s turbulent times and the contributions of the people of Satsuma. In this museum, exhibits are held to commemorate the ancient times and celebrate the colorful past of Japan.
Walk under the cherry blossom trees
Cherry blossom or sakura is another symbol popularized by Japan. Most varieties of cherry trees bloom for just a few days in spring, and Kagoshima is one of the few places where you can take picture-perfect moments alone or with a loved one. This spectacular seasonal moment is celebrated with hanami or cherry blossom viewing. If you want a moment with this fragrant sakura, make sure you check the date of first and full blooms before booking your trip.
Kagoshima Travel and Tour Packages
Searching for the best Kagoshima hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of affordable hotels and resorts via Agoda, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.