This southerly region of Japan has hot springs, national parks, tropical islands and lively cities set against a majestic backdrop of soaring volcanic peaks.
Discover centuries of Japanese history and traditions scattered throughout a dramatic natural landscape in Kagoshima prefecture. Stretching across peninsulas and islands from the southernmost part of Kyushu, Kagoshima prefecture is where volcanic activity feeds thousands of hot springs. It’s famous for its delectable cuisine, imperial influence and samurai customs.
Kagoshima, the prefectural capital with seaside charm, is often considered Japan’s friendliest city. Tour excellent museums such as the Museum of the Meiji Restoration, Reimeikan-Kagoshima History Museum and Kagoshima City Museum of Art. Sample Berkshire pork and karukan steamed sweet bread at Kagomma Furusato Food Village. Meet colorful fish species at Kagoshima Aquarium and find peace at Senganen pleasure garden.
The 3,665-foot-tall (1,117-meter) Sakurajima volcano dominates views across the bay from Kagoshima. Hike across lava fields on the Nagisa Lava Trail and gaze up at volcanic cones from Karasujima Observation Point, Yunohira Observation Point and other viewpoints. North of the capital, the mountains of Kirishima play an important role in Japanese mythology. Experience this at the sixth-century Kirishima Shrine and hike amid volcanic countryside in Kirishima Kinkowan National Park.
Venture into the Satsuma Peninsula, where Ibusuki offers hot springs such as Ibusuki Onsen. Marvel at the array of wildflowers decorating the Flower Park Kagoshima and shores of Lake Ikeda. Experience the tranquil lifestyle of samurai at Minamikyushu’s Chiran Samurai District. The Chiran Peace Museum commemorates Japan’s World War II kamikaze pilots.
Plan trips to one or more of the 28 islands. Primeval forests spill down to a coastline of white sand beaches and pristine coral reefs in the Amami Islands. Enjoy encounters with centuries-old cedar trees, huge waterfalls and nesting turtles on the UNESCO-listed Yakushima Island. Walk in the footsteps of Japan’s first European settlers, surf and visit a space center on Tanegashima Island.
Reach Kagoshima prefecture by flying to Kagoshima Airport. Get around the area via buses, ferries and trains. An agreeable subtropical climate makes this a great destination for all seasons.