Hike around an active volcano, find peace in elegant gardens and tour excellent museums in the capital of one of Japan’s most naturally beautiful regions.
With its seaside setting, palm-shaded streets, balmy climate and mountain and volcano backdrops, Kagoshima is affectionately known as the Naples of Japan. Find museums that celebrate Kagoshima’s influence on Japanese art, history and literature. Sample mouthwatering local delicacies, visit an aquarium and enjoy scenic cruises on Kagoshima Bay.
In the Downtown area, Tenmonkan is a partly covered shopping street with fashion stores, souvenir shops and restaurants. Sample kuroushi beef, kurobuta black pork and locally brewed shochu at Kagomma Furusato Food Village. Learn about the Meiji era of Imperial Japan at the Museum of the Meiji Restoration. See exotic fish species and watch a dolphin show at Kagoshima Aquarium.
North of Downtown, several museums sit at the base of Mount Shiroyama. Delve into city folklore and history at the Reimeikan-Kagoshima History Museum, located inside the former Kagoshima Castle. Browse works by Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne and contemporary Kagoshima artists at Kagoshima City Museum of Art. Modern-day Japanese authors are the focus of Kagoshima City Modern Literature Museum.
Follow paths through Shiroyama Park to Shiroyama Park Observation Deck, where wonderful views of the city and Kagoshima Bay await. Take a leisurely stroll around the landscaped lawns of Senganen pleasure garden. A 30-minute drive south of Downtown, Hirakawa Zoo houses a thousand animals and has fairground rides.
Ferries depart regularly from the city for the 3,665-foot-tall (1,117-meter) active volcano Sakurajima. Hike the Nagisa Lava Trail, which crosses lava fields created during an eruption in 1914. Observe this colossal geological landmark from lookouts such as Arimura Lava Observatory, Karasujima Observation Point and Yunohira Observation Point. The Magma Onsen hot springs and Sakurajima Nature Dinosaur Park are other attractions worth visiting around the volcano.
Reach Kagoshima by flying to Kagoshima Airport from major Japanese cities and catching a train to the city center. Use the city as a base for exploring Kagoshima prefecture. Ferries travel to Amami, Tanegashima, Yakushima and other islands.