Curious if Kagoshima is interesting on its own level? Well, if you have made up your mind about visiting Kagoshima, then “Hooray!” you have made the right decision because you are definitely in for a treat.
Kagoshima is definitely worth visiting for its spectacular sceneries, breathtaking volcano, engaging museums, hot springs, beautiful villages, and graceful parks.
To save you the time and energy you will spend looking into Kagoshima, I have compiled a list that reasons why Kagoshima is worth visiting:
- RYOKAN – Stay at a Local Inn
- Tour the Museum of the Meiji Restoration
- Cycle to Sakurajima
- Try the local snacks
- Visit the Kagoshima City Museum of Art
- Jaunt Kagoshima City Aquarium
- Explore Reimeikan
- Kayak to Sakurajima
- Experience Sakurajima Magma Hot Spring
- Travel by train
- Drink the local tipple
- Trek to Sakurajima
- Visit Tsurumaru Castle
- Explore Shoko Shuseikan
- Attend Sogadon-no-Kasayaki
- Walk around Sengan-en
Each of the things listed above is what makes Kagoshima a must-visit place in Japan. I promise you that you will love visiting these places as they are all part of Japan’s rich history. Each place has its own uniqueness and will add fun to your whole trip. So, without wasting any time, I will jump right into the listed activities/places and explain why travelers love visiting each of these places and exploring the activities in Kagoshima.
Let’s get started.
#1 RYOKAN – Stay at a Local Inn
First things first, when you land in Kagoshima, do not stay in a hotel. I recommend that you go for a RYOKAN. You might be thinking ryokan…, what? Well, it is a traditional Japanese inn that will take you back in time.
These amazing buildings feature tatami-matted rooms, cozy futon beds, communal baths, and other public areas where you can wear the traditional Yukata. You will find ryokans conveniently located all over Kagoshima. Believe it or not, but this is the best way to begin your day in Kagoshima.
#2 Tour the Museum of the Meiji Restoration
Now that you have already started with the history of Kagoshima, you should head to the Museum of the Meiji Restoration. This is a place where you can learn everything you need to know about samurais.
The museum incredibly displays the history of samurais in Japan, from how they lived back in the days to how their swords were made and handled. It covers everything about the samurai education system and also puts a light on the Satsuma Rebellion that took place in Kagoshima.
#3 Cycle Around in Sakurajima
Sakurajima, also known as the ‘Cherry Blossom Island,’ is an active “stratovolcano” located in the Kagoshima Prefecture. It is a 39 km long stretch, and I recommend that you rent a bike. There is nothing better than cycling around a mountain.
The peaceful tracks will submerge you in the true beauty of Sakurajima. You can cycle around and enjoy the breezing cool winds of the island. You will not at all feel tired because of the beautiful and refreshing weather.
#4 Try the Local Snacks
If you happen to visit Kagoshima during summer months, then you are in for a treat because the delicious local desserts and snacks will make you crave for more. One of my favorites is a dessert called Kakigori, which is made from shaved ice topped with a mix of fruit juices, syrups, condensed milk, jellies, and sweets. This dessert is especially refreshing when the mercury is high.
#5 Visit the Kagoshima City Museum of Art
Kagoshima is richly known for its arts and crafts that are admired all across the globe. The best place to explore these arts and crafts is at the Kagoshima City Museum of Art. This is one of the best places to find works of art and craft dedicated to Japanese culture.
Here you will find a number of galleries put up by the local Kagoshima and Sakurajima artists, including some paintings and antiques dating back to the 16th century that include woodblocks and porcelain print pieces.
#6 Jaunt Kagoshima City Aquarium
Now, if you are with kids, they need some sort of entertainment. Worry not, Kagoshima has got that covered too! It might be a little pricey, but the Kagoshima City Aquarium is a must-visit if you have youngsters to entertain.
The place provides hands-on experience with marine life, and if you time it right, you can experience the feeding time in certain marine pools. The aquarium organizes interesting exhibits that showcase different species of marine animals, including fishes and mammals.
#7 Explore Reimeikan
Reimeikan is another place to visit in Kagoshima if you want to know more about the city’s historical background. The place significantly puts light on the history of the Satsuma Rebellion.
This place will also educate you about ancient Japanese crafts and arts, including the art of the Japanese sword making. It is a small museum located inside the Kagoshima Castle and is one of the most historical sites in town.
#8 Kayak to Sakurajima
If you are with friends and looking for an adventure, then you can sea kayak across the Cherry Blossom Island or Sakurajima. I have already told you that you can cycle to Sakurajima.
But if you want to explore the waters and want an interesting story to tell back at home with some thrilling pictures, then you should definitely go kayaking. However, you will need to have a reasonable level of mobility and fitness because as fun as it looks, kayaking is quite demanding. Else, you can take a ferry to Sakurajima.
#9 Experience Sakurajima Magma Hot Spring
If you are in Kagoshima, then you cannot fail to miss the opportunity to feel rejuvenated with the traditional hot springs. There is a higher concentration of traditional hot springs all across the city, where you can experience some breathtaking and rejuvenating bathing facilities.
One of my favorites is the Sakurajima Magma Hot Spring that has a stunning view as well as amazing fresh waters. Hot spring bath, also known as Onsen, is a must if you are in Kagoshima.
#10 Travel by Train
If you happen to be in Kyushu, then I suggest you to take a train journey because it is said to be Japan’s one of the most scenic places. Hisatsu Line is one of the most popular railways here, and you can travel to neighboring spots like Hitoyoshi and Yoshimatsu. A train journey will allow you to relax a bit and take some time to experience the beauty of Japan.
#11 Drink the Local Tipple
Now, this activity is for adults because it includes booze. Kagoshima is not only popular for its historical places, museums, and volcanoes, but liquor as well. The city is famous for its booze, which is pretty much similar to vodka. It is known as ‘shochu’ or ‘imo-jochu.’
This liquor is made using sweet potatoes and is usually consumed with hot water. Strange, right? Well, according to the locals, the warm water helps release the deep flavors of the liquor.
#12 Trek to Sakurajima
If you don’t love the idea of cycling or kayaking to Sakurajima, then you can pack your bags and trek to Sakurajima. It is one of the best ways to explore the smoldering volcanic mountain.
The trek might take at least two hours. There are several lookouts on the way that will give you a nice glimpse of the island and the mountain. But before you climb the mountain, ensure the latest status of the volcano since it is an active volcano.
#13 Visit Tsurumaru Castle
Tsurumaru Castle is considered an important monument not only in Kagoshima but in the whole of Japan. So, it is worth a look when you are in town. It also has a small museum that tells a lot about the place and the castle. While the majority of sections of Tsurumaru Castle are ruined, there is still a lot left to see.
#14 Explore Shoko Shuseikan
Shoko Shuseikan used to be the home of the first factory in Japan, which has now turned into a museum where artifacts related to the famous Shimazu family are kept and preserved.
It is a must-visit place in Kagoshima as it tells a lot about the nation. You will find over 10,000 different items on display, which include glassware, ceramics, and beautiful calligraphy pieces.
#15 Attend Sogadon-no-Kasayaki
Sogadon-no-Kasayaki is one of the premier attractions in Kagoshima, which happens to take place in July. It is a popular Japanese festival, or you can say, a ritual, which is based on a legend stating that two brothers used umbrellas as fire torches in the ancient times that turns out to be an engaging tale of deceit and rivalry.
This festival is celebrated with male residents gathering around the Kotsuki-gawa river where they set the umbrellas on fire.
#16 Walk around Sengan-en
Last but not least, your stay in Kagoshima is incomplete if you don’t visit Sengan-en. Sengan-en is a section of beautiful gardens that are said to date from the 17th century. It is one of the most visited places in Kagoshima. It is a beautiful work of landscaping and is a must-visit place, especially if you are on a romantic getaway or with children.
So, what do you guys think? Do you find Kagoshima a place worth visiting? I bet you do. Kagoshima is a place of wonder, and there are a lot of activities to do in this small town. Make sure you pack accordingly.