Boasting a balmy climate and relaxed coastal vibes, the seaside prefecture of Kagoshima sits to the southwest of Japan’s Kyushu region, the southernmost prefecture of mainland Japan. Famous for its lush landscape featuring several volcanic mountain ranges, Kagoshima curves around the Satsuma and Osumi Peninsulas (named after the ancient provinces), surrounding the beautiful waters of Kagoshima Bay with the East China Sea to the west. The neighboring Kirishima National Park area hosts a glorious hiking trails through volcanic landscapes, while Ibusuki close by is also iconic for its hot spring towns (richly steaming with volcanic minerals) and baths with views overlooking the ocean. Kagoshima Prefecture also stretches to some of Japan’s Osumi Islands off the southwest coast. There, Yakushima lies, famous for its World Heritage forests, towering with majestic 1000-year-old yakusugi cedar trees. Its wild subtropical environment inspired scenery for the Studio Ghibli animated film, Princess Mononoke, and grows gorgeous local oranges named tankan and ponkan.
The Japanese-style garden of Senganen and the Shiroyama Park Observatory offer panoramic views of Sakurajima, the resident active volcano that overlooks the wider area’s prefectural capital, Kagoshima City. Giant daikon radishes are grown in the ultra-fertile soils of Sakurajima, just one example of local foods from this rich regional landscape. Kagoshima cuisine is named Satsuma Ryori after its ancient days as the Satsuma Province, including the region’s namesake sweet potato satsuma-imo products, like chips and popular sweet potato shochu liquor. Another regional specialty is kurobuta (Japanese black pig pork), a popular dish that also contributes to the rich pork broth of local Kagoshima Ramen, while in Kagoshima’s humid summers, a treat of kakigori (shaved ice) is perfect to cool off. This volcanic seaside region of Kagoshima Prefecture is Japan’s almost-tropical paradise, perfect for hiking, beaches, and relaxing all year round.
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