Kagoshima, located on the southern tip of Kyushu, is the capital of Kagoshima Prefecture. It is home to diverse and picturesque landscapes, numerous historical and cultural sites and stunning natural attractions. Featuring countless must-see attractions, Kagoshima is sure to be a destination that will excite both - adults and kids alike. If you don’t have much time to spend in the city, here are 4 things you cannot leave without experiencing.
Sakurajima, overlooking the city of Kagoshima, is one of the most active volcanoes in Japan, and is one of the main symbols of Kagoshima Prefecture. Located in the center of Kagoshima Bay, Sakurajima smokes constantly and ash fall is a common occurrence. The active volcano features plenty of interesting places to explore and discover, from lava formations and lava plains to hiking trails, and foot baths. Visitors must also pay the Sakurajima Visitor Center a visit to learn more about the history of the volcano and its eruptions, and to find out more about the island, its vegetation and people. For those interested in visiting this top attraction, there is a ferry which runs from Kagoshima Port to the Sakurajima Ferry Terminal.
Sengan-en, also known as Iso Teien, with its traditional Japanese garden and historical villa, and stunning backdrop of Sakurajima and Kagoshima Bay, is an attraction that is definitely worthy of a visit when in Kagoshima. The well-preserved Iso Teien, or Iso Residence, in the center of the Japanese style garden, dating back to the 19th century, was once occupied by powerful Shimazu feudal lords, and today offers visitors a look into their lifestyle in the 1890s as well as a glimpse of traditional Japanese architecture. While the Iso Residence is a must-see, a stroll through the Sengan-en - filled with a variety of beautiful flowers, plants and trees, ponds, and streams - will prove to be memorable. Visitors will also find the Shoko Shuseikan, located adjacent to the garden interesting. The museum, located in a 150 year old former Machinery Factory, has displays and exhibits on the Shimazu family’s history and culture, and the Japanese industrial history.
Along Kagoshima Port, the Kagoshima City Aquarium, filled with colorful and fascinating marine life and beautiful seascapes, is a great experience for the whole family. The aquarium places and emphasis on local marine life, and therefore features a variety of aquatic species that are indigenous to the area. The massive Kuroshio Tank, holding a wide variety of marine life - from tuna to manta rays to a whale shark -along with the exhibits on the taka-ashi crabs and the touch pool, are all must-sees. The Kagoshima City Aquarium also hosts a number of educational presentations and shows. Visitors can watch the sharks, eels and otters being fed, dolphin performances and much more.
Located at the foot of Mount Shiroyama, on the former site of Kagoshima, or Tsurumaru Castle is the Reimeikan Museum. The museum is a must-visit for tourists interested in learning about local history, culture and folklore, and because of its modern and interactive features, it is sure to be entertaining for kids too. The museum features countless exhibits - paintings, clothing, tools, documents, scrolls, scale models - covering the history and culture of Kagoshima from ancient to modern times. While here, also be sure to check out the remains of Kagoshima Castle - its stone walls and moat, are open to the public for viewing.