Advertisement
Our editorial team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the products and deals we love. If you love them too and decide to purchase through the links below, we may receive a commission. Prices were correct at the time of publication.

Japan travel: 8 things to do in Kagoshima

Kagoshima is characterised by the looming presence of the active stratovolcano Sakurajima.

landscape
Kagoshima landscaope (Photo: Gettyimages)

Located on the southern tip of Japan’s third largest island, Kyushu, Kagoshima is a picturesque city known for its stunning landscapes, historical significance, and unique cultural attractions.

For those who are tired of Tokyo Disney Resort and Universal Studios Japan, and want to explore Japan outside of Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hokkaido, Kagoshima will be a good place to begin.

Kagoshima offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some things to do in Kagoshima to get you inspired.

1. Be awed by Sakurajima

Kagoshima is characterised by the looming presence of Sakurajima, an active stratovolcano located in the bay. It is one of Kagoshima’s most iconic features and has a significant impact on the city’s geography and climate. While we’ve mostly heard of Sakurajima from our Geography textbooks, wouldn’t it be amazing to see the majestic landscape in person?

Sakurajima, often referred to as the “Cherry Blossom Island,” is an active volcano that was originally an island but became connected to the Osumi Peninsula following a major eruption in 1914. Despite its potentially dangerous nature, Sakurajima attracts visitors who are drawn to its unique landscape, hot springs, and the opportunity to witness volcanic activity from a safe distance.

Sakurajima is just a short ferry ride from Kagoshima City. You can enjoy a scenic cruise around the island, witnessing the volcanic landscape and hot springs. There are also hiking trails for those who want to get closer to the volcano.

Charter Private Cruise of Kinkowan Bay Overlooking Sakurajima

From S$296.85

Charter Private Cruise of Kinkowan Bay Overlooking Sakurajima. (Photo: KKday SG)
Charter Private Cruise of Kinkowan Bay Overlooking Sakurajima. (Photo: KKday SG)

Daytime Sightseeing “Sakurajima Course” Reservation (Kagoshima Kirishima Charter)

From S$403.71

Daytime Sightseeing “Sakurajima Course” Reservation (Kagoshima Kirishima Charter). (Photo: KKday SG)
Daytime Sightseeing “Sakurajima Course” Reservation (Kagoshima Kirishima Charter). (Photo: KKday SG)

2. Relax in an onsen

Given that Kagoshima has an active volcano, it only makes sense that the city is also abundant in onsen (hot springs). You can try the Ibusuki Onsen, known for its unique sand baths, or Yunohira Onsen, which offers picturesque views of Sakurajima while you soak.

Better still, stay in a hotel or ryokan that has onsen facilities! To name a few, Hotel Shiroyama Kagoshima has an on-site onsen that offers panoramic views of Kagoshima City and Sakurajima; Onsensui Pool & Fufu Rotenburo no Hanareyado Yurian’s luxurious villa lets you indulge in an open-air hot spring bath and a private pool; and Kirishima Seiryuso is equipped with Japanese-style rooms with a mountainous backdrop and open-air hot spring bath.

Hotel Shiroyama Kagoshima. (Photo: Booking.com)
Hotel Shiroyama Kagoshima. (Photo: Booking.com)

3. Learn about Kagoshima’s history

Kagoshima has a rich history, and it played a crucial role in Japan’s feudal era. The city is known for the Satsuma Domain, a powerful and influential feudal domain during the Edo period (1603-1868). Notable figures from Kagoshima include Saigo Takamori, a key player in the Meiji Restoration and the last stand of the samurai. The history of Kagoshima is preserved in various historical sites and museums throughout the city.

Consider paying a visit to the statue of Saigo Takamori, located at the top of Shiroyama Park. Or you can also check out the Tsurumaru Castle. Although the original castle no longer stands, Tsurumaru Castle’s ruins can give you a glimpse into Kagoshima’s feudal past.

Bronze statue of Saigo Takamori. (Photo: kagoshima-yokanavi.jp)
Bronze statue of Saigo Takamori. (Photo: kagoshima-yokanavi.jp)

4. Take a stroll through Sengan-en Garden

Sengan-en is a traditional Japanese garden that belonged to the Shimazu clan, the ruling samurai family of the Satsuma Domain. The garden features traditional tea houses, ponds, and scenic views of Sakurajima, allowing you to experience the lifestyle of the samurai elite during the Edo period.

Sengan-en Special Tour in Kagoshima, Kyushu

S$44.95

Sengan-en Special Tour in Kagoshima, Kyushu. (Photo: Klook SG)
Sengan-en Special Tour in Kagoshima, Kyushu. (Photo: Klook SG)

5. Witness Kagoshima’s intriguing craft culture

Kagoshima is also where you can find unique craft-making techniques such as Satsuma pottery, a distinctive form of earthenware renowned for its cream-coloured glaze, intricate hand-painted designs, moriage (raised enamel) technique, and gold leaf embellishments. Also, check out Kiriko glassware, known for its intricate cut glass designs, featuring delicate patterns and geometric shapes cut into glass that create stunning visual effects.

Kiriko glassware. (Photo: Gettyimages)
Kiriko glassware. (Photo: Gettyimages)

6. Appreciate Kagoshima’s art scene

Featuring rotating exhibits, including works by local and national artists, Kagoshima City Museum of Art is where you can explore contemporary and traditional Japanese art. Alternatively, you can hop over to Kirishima Open-Air Museum, located in the Kirishima Mountains. This unique outdoor museum showcases modern art installations against the backdrop of nature.

One-day Chartered Tour from Kyushu Prefecture, Japan

From S$494.74

7. Explore ancient forests at Yakushima Island

Renowned for its ancient cedar forests, Yakushima Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with 1,900 plant species unique to the region. Home to some of the world’s oldest trees, including the Jomon Sugi, and diverse wildlife, Yakushima Island is a nature lover’s paradise.

Governed by strict local regulations, the island’s subtropical evergreen forests are well protected to ensure human intervention hasn't negatively affected its fascinating biodiversity. The island’s lush landscapes, hiking trails, and “mist-ical” atmosphere make it an enchanting experience that you probably can’t find elsewhere in Japan.

Yakushima 1-day Shiratani Unsuikyo Walking with English-Speaking Guide

From S$206.69

Yakushima 1-day Shiratani Unsuikyo Walking with English-Speaking Guide. (Photo: Klook SG)
Yakushima 1-day Shiratani Unsuikyo Walking with English-Speaking Guide. (Photo: Klook SG)

Snorkelling Experience in Yakushima

From S$53.95

Snorkelling Experience in Yakushima. (Photo: Klook SG)
Snorkelling Experience in Yakushima. (Photo: Klook SG)

7. Have a fun day at Kagoshima Aquarium

The aquarium is the place to go if you want to discover and know more about the marine life of Kagoshima. One of the largest aquariums in Kyushu, the facility showcases a variety of sea creatures, including the beautiful corals, the beloved dolphins and the massive whale sharks.

Kagoshima City Aquarium Ticket in Kyushu

S$13.49

Kagoshima City Aquarium Ticket in Kyushu. (Photo: Klook SG)
Kagoshima City Aquarium Ticket in Kyushu. (Photo: Klook SG)

8. Indulge in the local cuisine

Kagoshima is renowned for its kurobuta (literally black pig in Japanese) pork, a high-quality breed of black Berkshire pig, a speciality in the region. You can also enjoy dishes like tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen, kurobuta shabu-shabu (hot pot) and various grilled pork dishes.

Kagoshima Chartered Car Tour

From S$494.74

Grilling raw sliced kurobuta pork over hot charcoal stove. (Photo: Gettyimages)
Grilling raw sliced kurobuta pork over hot charcoal stove. (Photo: Gettyimages)

Check airfare here: Skyscanner | Trip.com | Expedia
Book accommodations and activities here: Agoda | Booking.com | Klook | KKday | HotelsCombined | LuxuryEscapes
Save big, get the all-inclusive pass & explore your destination in-depth: GoCity
General info here: Tripadvisor
Affordable data plans here
And while you are at it, get your travel insurance with Alliance Assistance | Income | Prudential!

Yahoo Shopping Southeast Asia
Yahoo Shopping Southeast Asia