Majestic Nature, Samurai Culture
and Japan's Best Wagyu Beef

Do you know a place where you can fully enjoy the charm of majestic nature and Samurai culture?
This time, I’m introducing the charms of Kagoshima City, adorned with gourmet food and rich history.

Kagoshima City is a wonderful tourist destination filled with Japan's rich nature, culture, and delicious food. In this article, we will introduce the charms of Kagoshima City and its surroundings.

Table of Contents

Active Volcano Sakurajima and Kinko Bay

Sakurajima is an active volcano that continues to be active to this day, providing a healing and inspiring sight along with Kinko Bay. It is accessible by a short 15-minute ferry ride from Kagoshima City, where you can enjoy activities such as kayaking and hot spring digging, utilizing the blessings of Sakurajima.

Samurai Culture and History

Kagoshima is the hometown of heroes who contributed to the Meiji Restoration. Experience the rich Samurai culture in beautiful Japanese gardens through authentic armor experiences and kimono experiences, which provide valuable opportunities to feel the history and tradition.
A must-see is the Sengan-en. This beautiful garden was created in 1658 by Shimazu Mitsuhisa, the 19th lord of the Satsuma domain. Not only is it renowned for its beauty as a Japanese garden, but it also has a rich historical background. Here, you can participate in a program that allows you to wear armor and feel like a Samurai.

Additionally, Sengan-en offers traditional kimono experiences regularly. Visitors can get dressed in a dedicated dressing room and stroll through the beautiful garden, providing an opportunity to experience the culture and lifestyle of the Edo period.

In addition to Sengan-en, Kagoshima City has many spots where you can feel the history. For example, the Kagoshima City Historical Museum displays valuable materials related to the history of the Satsuma domain and the Meiji Restoration, offering insights into the historical background.

Moreover, the Statue of Saigo Takamori in Kagoshima City is a popular spot for tourists. Saigo Takamori, a Samurai from the Satsuma domain, is known for his significant contributions to the establishment of the Meiji government.

Through these historical experiences and tourist spots, visitors can deeply understand the Samurai culture and historical background of Kagoshima.

Gourmet Kagoshima

Kagoshima is a treasure trove of fresh and delicious ingredients, blessed by its rich nature and warm climate. It is a gourmet paradise where you can enjoy local specialties and traditional dishes.
Kurobuta (Black Pork) is a representative specialty of Kagoshima. Kagoshima Kurobuta is known for its tenderness and rich flavor, commonly enjoyed as shabu-shabu or tonkatsu. Many local restaurants specialize in Kurobuta dishes, making it very popular among tourists.

Another famous dish from Kagoshima is Satsuma-age. This slightly sweet, chewy fish cake is a local favorite. Satsuma-age assortments are sold at local markets and souvenir shops, allowing you to enjoy its taste even at home.

Don't miss Kagoshima Wagyu either. Raised in Kagoshima's rich natural environment, Kagoshima Wagyu is highly acclaimed nationwide for its excellent meat quality, often enjoyed as steak or yakiniku. Local specialty restaurants prepare Kagoshima Wagyu to maximize its flavor, making it a must-try.

Kagoshima also offers unique desserts. Shirokuma is a shaved ice dessert topped with fruits and condensed milk, perfect for hot summer days. Served in local cafes and tea houses, its cute appearance and refreshing taste are popular among tourists.

Thus, Kagoshima is a gourmet city where you can enjoy a variety of ingredients and dishes. Each visit offers new discoveries and the joy of food.


Traditional Event "Nagosidon" in Kimotsuki Town

"Nagosidon," a traditional event held in the Kira district of Kimotsuki Town, located in southeastern Kagoshima Prefecture, is a divine ritual that marks the arrival of summer. Although this event is held at shrines and temples across Japan, the "Nagosidon" in Kimotsuki Town is unique.

Flow and Highlights of the Ritual

Held against the backdrop of the beautiful emerald green sea and the shining white sandy beach, this divine ritual is characterized by its visual beauty and solemn atmosphere.

Move from Hirata Shrine to Kira Beach

The ritual begins at 'Hirata Shrine.' The three deities are enshrined in the divine mask and moved to Kira Beach. Walking while playing flutes and drums, the sight is a scene from Japan's past that has continued for over 600 years.

'Shiogake' at Kira Beach

Upon arrival at Kira Beach, the 'Shiogake' ritual is performed, enshrining the sea god in the divine mask. This important process incorporates the blessings and power of the sea, praying for the prosperity and safety of the region.

Main Ritual 'Shinmai'

Next is the main ritual 'Shinmai,' a highlight of the event.

'Urayasu-no-Mai' to Pray for Peace

This dance is performed to pray for peace and stability, characterized by its calm and graceful movements.

'Yamanokami-Mai,' Shooting Arrows in Four Directions to Call for Victory

This dance involves shooting arrows in four directions to dispel evil spirits and invite victory.

'Naginata-Mai,' Swinging Naginata to Repel Evil

A powerful dance that uses naginata (long-handled swords) to swing widely and dispel evil spirits.

'Juni Nin Ken-Mai,' A Magnificent Sword Dance by Twelve Performers

A dance where twelve performers use swords in a synchronized movement, symbolizing the unity and strength of the community.

'Chinowa Kuguri' for the Audience to Participate

'Chinowa Kuguri,' where the audience can participate, involves passing under a rope woven from grass to cleanse impurities and pray for good health afterward. This ritual allows participants to purify themselves and start afresh.
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Passing on the Tradition and Recruiting "Tsuna-gite"

Efforts are currently underway to preserve this Nagosidon for future generations. Since 2016, the town has been recruiting "tsuna-gite" from within and outside the town. This initiative aims to allow people from all over the country, not just locals, to experience the culture of Kira. Each year, many applicants gather to participate in Nagosidon as operators and dancers.

Traditional Event "Yabusame" in Kimotsuki Town: An Autumn Spectacle of History and Bravery

In Kimotsuki Town, located in southeastern Kagoshima Prefecture, the traditional event "Yabusame" is held on the third Sunday of October. Against the backdrop of an autumn field where a cold wind occasionally blows, a historical spectacle with a history of 900 years unfolds before the public.

Traditional Attire and Brave Archers

On the day, archers dressed in colorful conical hats and hunting costumes reminiscent of the feudal era appear on streets lined with remnants of hedges and stone walls. They ride divine horses and shoot arrows with prayers for abundant harvests and the dispelling of epidemics.

The Archers are Junior High School Students

Uniquely, the archers in Kimotsuki Town's Yabusame are junior high school students. After about a month of training, they learn to shoot arrows while riding a horse for the first time. The brave sight of these young archers captivates many spectators.

Ritual and Flow of Yabusame

On the day of the event, it begins with a 'Warrior Parade' along streets retaining the appearance of samurai residences. This is followed by the sacred 'Yumiuke Ceremony,' where the young archer receives divine blessings, leading to the start of Yabusame.

The Field is About 330 Meters Long

The archer shoots three arrows in one run, repeating this three times. It is believed that hitting the target successfully will ward off evil for the year and ensure peace. When an arrow hits the target, it is met with cheers from the audience.

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Yasaka Shrine in Izumi: Visiting Japan's Largest Jizo Statue

Izumi City in Kagoshima Prefecture boasts several popular tourist spots with national titles, such as the "Crane Migration," "Giant Bell," and "Hydrangea Gorge." Among these, Yasaka Shrine, home to Japan's largest Jizo statue, is particularly noteworthy.

Access to Yasaka Shrine

About a two-hour drive from Kagoshima City. At the entrance of the shrine, a large signboard welcomes you with "Japan's Largest Jizo Statue." There is a large parking lot available, and parking is free.

Worship Flow

Near the entrance is the "Mizukake Jizo." Although it is easy to mistake, this is not the Jizo statue you are looking for. First, worship at the "Mizukake Jizo," then climb the stairs toward the torii gate.

Jizo Statues in Front of the Torii Gate

Five Jizo statues welcome you in front of the torii gate. Be sure to worship these Jizo statues as well.

About Japan's Largest Jizo Statue

The "Japan's Largest Jizo Statue" stands beside the main shrine of Yasaka Shrine. This Jizo statue, made from a single block of stone, is the largest of its kind in Japan, reaching a height of 4.15 meters, including the pedestal. It was established in 1925 by the Buddhist monk Hanme Butsushi and five assistants, following the strict esoteric Buddhist ritual known as "One Cut, Three Bows."

Hokko-Oh Jizo

This Jizo statue, called "Hokko-Oh Jizo," is revered as the protector of the human realm, including the Long Life Jizo, Child Rearing Jizo, Wisdom Jizo, Disaster Protection Jizo, and Evil Prevention Jizo. It attracts many worshippers as a highly sacred and beneficial deity.

Current Appearance

Although half of its face is peeled off due to past fires, it remains in its original form, overlooking the city of Izumi from a high vantage point, continually watching over the safety and well-being of its people. There are many other attractions nearby, such as samurai residences. Be sure to visit Yasaka Shrine and its surroundings when you visit Izumi.

Access Information

Address: 2-33 Fumoto-cho, Izumi City, Kagoshima Prefecture 899-0204
Access: 5 minutes by car from JR Izumi Station

Parking: Free parking available (closed at 9 PM)

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Summary

Kagoshima City is a wonderful tourist destination where rich nature, history, and gourmet food blend harmoniously. The natural beauty of Sakurajima and Kinko Bay, the depth of Samurai culture, and the array of gourmet food provide new discoveries and inspiration for both first-time visitors and those considering a repeat visit.
If you are planning a trip to Kagoshima City, check the official travel guide for the latest information and enjoy a fantastic experience!

Official Travel Guide: Kagoshima City Official Travel Guide

Kagoshima City Official PR Video: Kagoshima City