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Kagoshima, Japan

Kagoshima (鹿児島) is the capital of Kagoshima prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan.

Kagoshima is a historical city watched over by the looming bulk of

Sakurajima

(桜島), an active volcano that regularly dumps ash over the city and erupts a bit every now and then to remind people it's still there. The home of near-mythical samurai hero Saigo Takamori (see History), it's full of sites related to the Satsuma Rebellion.

Kagoshima has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), possessing the highest year average temperature and winter average temperature in mainland Japan. It is marked by cool, relatively dry winters, warm, wet springs, hot, wet summers, and mild and relatively dry falls.

Kagoshima, Japan

Destination:

Kagoshima (鹿児島) is the capital of Kagoshima prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan.

Kagoshima is a historical city watched over by the looming bulk of

Sakurajima

(桜島), an active volcano that regularly dumps ash over the city and erupts a bit every now and then to remind people it's still there. The home of near-mythical samurai hero Saigo Takamori (see History), it's full of sites related to the Satsuma Rebellion.

Kagoshima has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), possessing the highest year average temperature and winter average temperature in mainland Japan. It is marked by cool, relatively dry winters, warm, wet springs, hot, wet summers, and mild and relatively dry falls.

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Kagoshima, Japan: Port Information


Your cruise liner will dock at Marine Port Kagoshima. The tram stop is just a 20-minute walk. It'll take you about 30-35 minutes on foot to reach the nearest major train station.

Get around Kagoshima, Japan


Streetcars are a convenient way to get around Kagoshima city. Both lines 1 and 2 can be boarded at the Kagoshima station; only line 2 runs by Kagoshima-chuo. Board the tram from the back door, and pay when exiting the front door. If you don't have exact change, the fare machine can make the change, but it is polite to get your change during the ride, so as to not hold people up when at your final stop. Streetcar signage varies by the age of the streetcar; some have electronic signs that indicate the stop, but many do not. Streetcar information and a route map are available from www.synapse.ne.jp.

The ferry between the volcanic island of Sakurajima and Kagoshima harbor operates frequently and around the clock. The boat ride will take about fifteen minutes.

Given Kagoshima's relatively small size and straightforward layout, buses are less confusing than in larger Japanese cities.

What to see in Kagoshima, Japan


  • Sakurajima (桜島). Kagoshima's temperamental (and active) volcano can be reached by ferry in a matter of minutes. Face your fear and get up close and personal - just don't wear too much white, as the ash will leave you looking slightly grey. Yunohira Lookout is a two hours hike or 15 minutes drive from Sakurajima harbor and gives you a good view both to Kagoshima harbor and Sakurajima volcano. There are also a couple of other lookout points, where you can take a closer look at the volcano. Because Sakurajima is essentially an active volcano, remember that tourists are forbidden to go within 2 km of the crater.
  • Tsurumaru Castle

    (鶴丸城, Tsurumaru-jō). Once the castle of the Shimazu clan who governed the Satsuma domain until the Meiji Restoration, it was destroyed during the Satsuma Rebellion. The only parts remaining today are the wall and the moat. Since it's around so many sights and monument around Kagoshima, it's a nice sight to see and it contains the Reimeikan.
  • Kagoshima Prefectural Museum of Culture (黎明館, Reimeikan). Beautiful museum with nice expositions retracing the origin and evolution of the first habitats of the southern Kyushu area until the Meiji restoration. Generic information is available in English but for more details about the different pieces contained in the exposition, a Japanese reading friend should be brought to fully enjoy all the information available.
  • Museum of the Meiji restoration (維新ふるさと館, Ishin-furusato-kan). 9 AM-5 PM. A museum about the Meiji restoration and its relationship with the local history. An excellent audio-guide in English is available for free. In the basement, projections (25mn) and robots animations (20mn) relating to this period are presented hourly, with English translation through the audio-guide. Allow between 1.5 and 2 hours. 
  • Kagoshima City Aquarium (Io World).
  • The Nanshu Cemetery.

What to do in Kagoshima, Japan


​Sunamushi or sunaburo is a hot spring and sand bath combined. "Bathers" are covered in hot sand. It can be found at Ibusuki Onsen, about an hour south of Kagoshima.


Events and festivals:

  • Ibusuki Nanohana Marathon (いぶすき菜の花マラソン, January)
  • Senganen Garden Classical Poetry Party (仙巌園の「曲水の宴」, June)
  • Fukiage Sand Festival (Fukiagehama suna-no-saiten text吹上浜砂の祭典, May)
  • Spider Fighting (Kumo Gassen くも合戦大会, June)
  • Kinko Bay Summer Nite Fireworks Show (July)
  • Ogionsaa Festival (おぎおんさぁ, July)
  • Rokugatsudō Festival (六月灯, July)
  • Sōgadon-no-kasayaki Umbrella Burning Festival (曽我どんの傘焼き, July)
  • Sendai City Great Tug-of-War (Sendai Ō-tsunahiki 川内大綱引, September)
  • Kagoshima Ōhara Festival (November)Kagoshima Ōhara Dancing Festival in November 2015 National Cultural Festival (October–November)

What to eat and drink in Kagoshima, Japan


Kagoshima is known throughout Japan for its sweet potato shochu, or imo-jochu (芋焼酎). While shochu is often compared to vodka, it first goes through a fermentation process. In Kagoshima, almost all restaurants have imo-jochu, and some have hundreds of different brands. Even the Shinkansen platforms at Kagoshima-chuo station have a bar/shop with 100+ varieties of shochu.

In Kagoshima, the most common way to drink shochu is mixed with hot water, or oyu-wari. , releases the fragrance of the shochu and also reduces the alcohol content to be on-par with wine. Because Kagoshima is the center of manufacture, many factories offer tours and have small shops for tasting and purchasing the locally made shochu.

Shopping in Kagoshima, Japan


​Tenmonkan shopping arcade (天文館通り, Tenmonkan-dōri) has a plethora of shops, where you can satisfy your needs.
  • Satsumaimo-no-Yakata, ☎ +81 99-239-4865. Several hundred types of sweet potato products.
  • Jelly Beans, ☎ +81 99-216-8800. The only specialist English bookstore in the prefecture, with a nice second-hand section as well. Take the No 1 Streetcar to Shinyashiki and hop off, you shouldn't have too many problems from there; just follow the signs. The shop is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, but if you call in advance and let them know you are coming they will try their best to open it up especially for you on Sundays and Mondays! The store is open 10 am - 7 pm

Safety in Kagoshima, Japan


Kagoshima, like most of Japan, is a remarkably safe place with kind people. Of course, this is no excuse to forget common sense, so take regular precautions with your valuables and yourself.

With active volcanoes, particularly with the recent activity of Shinmoe volcano in the Kirishima area, it's a good idea to double check with locals before attempting a hike. Similarly, make sure to check about tropical storms or typhoons when making a trip to the southern islands. However, if there is a danger, officials should have areas closed off in the case of volcanoes, and ferry travel canceled in the case of storms.

Language spoken in Kagoshima, Japan


Japanese is the official language. English is widely spoken in tourist places. 

LOCAL TIME

11:47 am
August 22, 2019
Asia/Tokyo

CURRENT WEATHER

28.55 °C / 83.39 °F
light rain
Fri

27.25 °C/81 °F
light rain
Sat

26.96 °C/81 °F
light rain
Sun

21.91 °C/71 °F
moderate rain
Mon

24.65 °C/76 °F
heavy intensity rain

LOCAL CURRENCY

JPY

1 USD = 0 JPY
1 EUR = 0 JPY
1 GBP = 0 JPY
1 AUD = 0 JPY
1 CAD = 0 JPY

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