How you can explore Kagoshima and Yakushima Island

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How you can explore Kagoshima and Yakushima Island
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Tags: destinationskagoshimakyushu

Have you ever travelled to a far corner region of Japan? Kagoshima – the southernmost prefecture in the Kyushu region and Yakushima Island, located south of Kagoshima, are two locations not much explored by many foreign tourists. Whether you are interested in visiting these regions one day or interested to find out what you could do here, you have come to the right place! We have chosen a few locations that are worth exploring for casual travellers and adventurous travellers alike. It’s time to plan your next trip to Japan, so take note of these interesting places!


Firstly, let’s talk about the city. Instead of trains, the major transportation in Kagoshima City is electric trams. As a tourist, one of your bucket lists is to take the local public transport. Trams are not that common in Japan, so take this opportunity to board the tram while you are in this prefecture.

Taking trams can basically bring you to many places in the city. One of which is Tenmonkan, a shopping arcade in southern Kyushu. You could find many local cuisine restaurants, shop for souvenirs and boutiques here. Goods sold here have satisfactory quality and you could at least spend a few hours here going from shop to shop.

Tenmonkan shopping arcade.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Address: Higaishi SengokuchoKagoshima 892-0842, Kagoshima Prefecture

You could find many snacks here and if you are looking for a dessert on a hot day, I would recommend you to get some shaved ice from dessert shop MUJAKI. Drizzled with syrup, milk and fresh fruits, you are sure to love this if you have a sweet tooth!

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Tenmonkan MUJAKI
Address: 5-8 Sennichi-cho, Kagoshima-city, Kagoshima
Opening hours: 10 AM – 9 PM

A location which is absolutely beautiful and worth a visit is the Senganen – a UNESCO Heritage Site. You could view the gorgeous Sakurajima from this location. On top of that, Senganen consists of a Japanese landscape garden, a house once stayed by a powerful feudal lord (The House), restaurants, even a cat shrine!

Cat shrine.

One of the restaurants with a Sakurajima view.

Do take note that if you’re visiting the Ijinkan site here, you would need to pay a separate admission fee that is not included in the general admission fee to enter Senganen. Ijinkan is the residential area for foreign engineers who built a mill in the area.

Opening Hours: 8:30 AM – 17:30 PM
Entrance fee: ¥1000 (Adult), ¥500 (Child age 7-15)
Entrance fee & The House: ¥1300 (Adult),  ¥650 (Child age 7-15)
Address: 9700-1 Yoshino-cho, Kagoshima City, Japan 892-0871

With such a Sakurajima view in sight, why not pay a visit to Sakurajima itself? On the island, there is a hill of lava field that you could enter for free at the Arimura Lava Observatory. Sightseeing is amazing here as you could view the volcanic mountain up close. If you are lucky, you might get to see a volcanic eruption from Sakurajima.

A view from the lava field.
Image credit:  Mark Mrwizard on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Arimura Lava Observatory
Address: 952 Arimurachō Kagoshima-shi, Kagoshima-ken 891-1545
Entrance Fee: Free

Yakushima Island

Located further south in the East China Sea, Yakushima Island is a place with rich nature. To get here, you would need to take a ferry from Kagoshima. On the island itself, there is a Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley, where you could go for nature exploration and hiking. The forest reserve looks dense enough that it seems like a different world for city folks, but don’t be fooled – this island is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites! The tallest mountain in the southern region of Japan (Mt. Miyanora) is right here on this island.

Image credit:   Jill Lee on Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Anime fans, there’s a good news for you! If you have watched Princess Mononoke by Hayao Miyazaki, be thrilled to discover the real-life anime inspired setting at the Shiratani Ravine!

Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley
Address: Miyanoura
Kumage-gun Yakushima-cho 891-4200, Kagoshima Prefecture

Besides the forest on Yakushima Island, another place of attraction would be the seaside. However, the attraction here is not the beach but the sea cave instead. There is a huge cave here called Chikura-no-Iwaya Cave – it was formed by waves and is only accessible during low tide. Located at Hamada Beach, the name of this cave literally means 1,000 people could sit down and true enough, the size of the cave could really accommodate this amount of people. If you come here during low tide, enjoy walking on white sand and perhaps shallow waters inside the cave. Don’t forget to take the beautiful picture of the sea from inside the cave too!

Chikura-no-Iwaya Cave
Address: Hirayama HirotaKumage-gun Minamitane-cho 891-3702, Kagoshima Prefecture

In short, there are many adventures you could have in Kagoshima and Yakushima Island alone. You won’t get bored here even though it is the southernmost tip of Japan! Travelling here may pose a little bit of challenge and I would recommend you to come by bullet train or take a domestic flight to Kyushu and then take a train to Kagoshima. Despite the hours you would spend just to travel here, it will be worth it that you came.

A fun-loving group of editorial team on the mission to introduce Japanese culture and lifestyle to the masses.

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