Kagoshima Guide

Kagoshima Prefecture

Kagoshima is located at the south end of Kyushu. The Kagoshima region is one of Japan's leading tourist destinations blessed with many tourist attractions such as the registered world natural heritage Yakushima Island, the active volcano Sakurajima, a scenic railway journey by the river and the coast and an abundance of hot springs. It also boasts of an impressive array of food and drink. You can find ‘Kuro buta’ (black pork) dishes throughout the region, Sweet potatoes (Satsuma imo) are another local specialty, as they are also consumed and used to make Shochu liquor. Kagoshima features many shochu breweries, and it’s very popular outside the region as well.

From Hakata (Fukuoka) to Kagoshima Chuo is only 1hour 20mins away by Mizuho Shinkansen.

Main cities and towns: Ibusuki, Kirishima, Yakushima, Chiran, Amami, Yoron

Things to do in Kagoshima

Sengan-en Garden


Sengan-en Garden also known as Iso-teien, was built in 1658 as the villa of the Shimadzu family. It is one of the most famous gardens in Japan, known for its ‘borrowed scenery’, where Sakurajima and Kinko Bay are nicely incorporated into the garden landscape

Visitor Information
  • Access: 35mins by city view bus from JR Kagoshima-chuo station, 15mins from Sakurajima ferry terminal by city view bus
  • Opening Hours: 08:30am – 05:30pm
  • Fees: 1000yen



Sakurajima is one of the greatest active volcanos in the world, 1117m tall and 50km in diameter. It has become a symbol of Kagoshima. It is a mere 15-minute ferry ride from the Kagoshima Ferry terminal.

Iso Swimming Beach

Iso Swimming Beach

The only beach in Kagoshima City and you can enjoy swimming and marine sports such as windsurfing or boating in Kinko Bay with magnificent view of Sakurajima. It is white and black sandy from the volcanic rocks.

Visitor Information
  • Access: From Kagoshima Chuo Station, Local scheduled bus (approx. 30 min.), then 2 min. walk from the bus stop, ‘Ijinkan-mae’


Ibusuki is located in the southernmost tip of Japan. It’s about an hour’s journey from Kagoshima and can be travelled to by the sightseeing train ‘Ibusuki no Tamatebako’ from JR Kagoshima-chuo which is highly recommended. The only natural steam sand baths in the whole of Japan can be found here. The sand bath is considered to be effective in relieving a number of ailments such as neuralgia, rheumatism, asthma, gastrointestinal troubles and it can be especially beneficial for women.

Sand Bath

How to take a sand bath?

1. Change into a Yukata (cotton robe) in the changing room

2. Take you towel and heading to the beach

3. Lie down on a space you will be allocated and the staff will bury you in the sand with their shovels

4. Relax in hot steam sand for 10-15mins

5. Get out of the sand and wash away the sand

6. Soak in the Onsen!



The old samurai residences and gardens Preserved
samurai district with traditional Japanese houses and gardens built in the later part of the Edo Period (around 1760) that are steeped in the atmosphere of the age.

Chiran Tokko Heiwa Kaikan (Peace Museum for the Kamikaze Pilot)
This museum was founded to preserve the true facts at the World War II on record and to contribute for eternal peace on earth exhibiting the photographs, letters articles and mementos of the 1036 Kamikaze pilots based in Chiran who participated in the Battle for Okinawa towards the end of the Pacific War.

Visitor Information


Kirishima is an active volcanic mountain range that lies on the border between Miyazaki and the Kagoshima regions.

It was the first place in Japan to be designated as a national park in 1934. The sacred Takachiho Peak is famous for the myth related to the founding of Japan. It consists of 23 volcanic peaks studded with craters, lakes, hot springs and plateaus. The scenery in Kirishima is attractive all year round with seasonal flowers and the mountains offer the perfect backdrop for walking, hiking and trekking.

Kirishima is also one of the best hot spring towns in Japan. There are many Ryokan with hot springs in this area and you can enjoy many kinds of hot springs while embracing the richness of nature of every season. It is highly recommend trying the open air baths along the Amori-gawa River.



Yakushima is a subtropical island covered by dense forest off the south east coast of Kyushu next to Tanegashima. The huge cedar forest contains some of the oldest trees in Japan, known as ‘Yakusugi ’(cedar trees living for more than a 1,000 years!). The oldest among them is Jomonsugi, believed to be around 7,000 years old. It is said Yakushima is the model location of Hayao Miyazaki’s animation movie “Princess Mononoke” and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Kurobuta Shabushabu

Kirishima Jingu shrine
Kirishima is refered to as "the land where gods once descended" and a prestigious shrine enshrining these deities.
This shrine was designated as a nationally significant cultural property in 1989.
When visitors pass the path wrapped in deep green, visitors can see on their right hand a sacred tree said to be the ancestor of all pine trees throughout southern Kyushu.
It is said the pine tree of 35 meters is 800 years old and exhibits a powerful watch over the precincts.
According to experts, Kirishima has demonstrated enhanced relaxation effects and has been designated as a "foresty therapy base".

What to eat in Kagoshima

Satsuma-age is a deep fried fishcake and it is a specialty of the Satsuma region. There is a great variety of fillings used these days that include cheese, sweet potato, and lotus root, among others.

Kurobuta Shabushabu

Kurobuta shabushabu
Kagoshima Berkshire Pork is very famous throughout Japan and it’s often used for Shabu shabu and Tonkatsu (pork cutlets).

Sweet Potato products
Kagoshima has the largest production of Satsuma-imo (sweet potato) so here you will find plenty of products made from sweet potato.
Sweet potato products

Kagoshima is the 2nd largest green tea producer after the Shizuoka region.


Shirokuma (Shaved Ice Dessert)
When summer vacation is coming, a student from Kagoshima who have been studying at a university in Tokyo said, "I want to go back to Kagoshima and eat Shirokuma (polar bear)'". His friends were all astonished to hear that people in Kagoshima eat polar bears! In actual fact, Shirokuma is the name of a dessert that is a bowl of shaved ice with condensed milk and plenty of fruit. For Kagoshima's citizens, this iced Shirokuma brings back many nostalgic memories.
There are several theories about how Shirokuma came to be, but it is said that this frosty treat was originally created about 60 years ago when a cotton store located on Nishida street began selling snow cones as a side business during the summer months.
Their new menu included Shirokuma, which was named after the trademarked white bear that appeared on the label of the can of condensed milk used to make the treat. It was also said that the name was derived from the appearance of the dessert, where the fruit was placed in such a way as to resemble the face of a polar bear. This iced Shirokuma became very popular in downtown Temmonkan, and many shops throughout the city began to start selling it as well.


Tours in Kyushu