Japanese prefectures: Kagoshima
Today I’m going to talk about the prefecture of Kagoshima, in the southern part of the island of Kyushu, itself the westernmost main island in Japan.
I have been to about twenty prefectures in Japan and Kagoshima was one of the quietest and most laid-back, with a tropical atmosphere not unlike that of Okinawa. Coming from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, it’s definitely a nice change of pace.
Kagoshima has quite a lot to offer for such a sparsely populated and small prefecture. One of the highlights is definitely the volcano of Sakurajima, always overseeing the town of Kagoshima and its bay. The geography is somewhat similar to that of Naples in Italy, and therefore Kagoshima’s sister city.
Sakurajima is still active and it’s not rare for the volcano’s ash to reach the city, and even to cover the ground in a layer a few millimeters thick. I got some ash in a small zip bag as a souvenir. There is also a volcano museum by the mountain itself.
The local sand baths are also famous, a unique and pretty rare form of onsen where sand, rather than water, is heated naturally. These are better enjoyed when it’s not scorching hot outside, though. There are also plenty of regular hot springs to enjoy.
There are some famous local islands, most famous of which might be Yakushima Island, Hayao Miyazaki’s inspiration for the forests in Princess Mononoke. As you might expect if you have seen the movie, the greenery and nature are the main attractions on the island.
Kagoshima is also famous for its food and drinks, among them kuro-buta, pork from a local breed of Berkshire pigs that have been fed sweet potatoes. Local Shochu is also popular, and in the city of Kagoshima I had the best shiro-kuma (shaved ice with yogurt and fruits) that I have ever tried.
Lake Ikeda, about 40km south of the city, is a caldera lake where it is said a sea monster lives. Named Issie, after its counterpart Nessie in Loch Ness in Scotland, it’s a rare sight as you might imagine. Regardless, it has its own statue and the view and beautiful nature is enough of an excuse to visit the lake.
There are many prefectures in Japan and they all have their charm. Keep an eye out for our next article on Japanese prefectures.
Hi, I’m Sergio.
I’m from Spain, lived in the UK for seven years and came to Japan in 2012.
I majored in journalism in London and have been teaching English in Tokyo.
I like traveling, cycling, photography, movies, and spending time with friends.
I wrote articles about life in Japan as a foreigner and anything that I might find interesting.
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