Welcome to Kagoshima, Japan!
Nicknamed the “Naples of Japan,” Kagoshima is a beautiful and interesting city in Japan. Although smaller in comparison to cities like Tokyo or Osaka, it packs a huge punch in terms of culture and history, as well as natural beauty. It is also the capital of Kagoshima Prefecture, making it important to the government as well.
The moniker “Naples of Japan” perhaps comes from the temperate climate and palm-lined streets, but it is most likely because of the massive active volcano that looms over the city. Kagoshima should be a stop on any traveler’s itinerary if they are going through Japan. A worldwide local knows that making stops at smaller cities is always a good idea. Use this guide while in the area to check out these things around Kagoshima.
Worldwide Local Tip: Kagoshima is a lot smaller than bigger cities in Japan like Tokyo, so getting around will be a lot easier, as the bus and tram system is easy to figure out, and are a convenient way to get from Kagoshima Airport to the town. Public transportation in Japan is not costly and is always effective, so make use of the tram system and buses to get around town. The only downside is that English is not offered on public transportation signs, which will require some translation.
Visit an Active Volcano
A worldwide local knows that when you’re somewhere special, sometimes you have to drop normal sensibilities and step outside of your comfort zone. That’s why all visitors need to check out Sakurajima, Kagoshima’s massive looming volcano. The volcano is active and has over 850 eruptions a year, so chances are when you visit it, it will be erupting. Obviously, we wouldn’t tell you to visit a volcano if it was dangerous, so the “active” part of the active volcano is just little spurts of ash into the air. There are a couple of lookout points that offer amazing views of the city and the harbor surrounding it. Sakurajima is a landmark of the city and is culturally important, so make sure to make the trip up the mountain, enjoying the Kagoshima weather and the spectacular views.
Worldwide Local Tip: The area is very ashy, so do not wear white clothes unless you want to come back down looking like a pile of ash. As there is ash constantly in the air, it can irritate the eyes, so make sure you’re not wearing contact lenses.
Eat Like a Local in Kagoshima
Although Japan is not the biggest country in the world, the variation of food differs so much from area to area. If you’re a meat eater, try Kagoshima wagyu, famous the world over. The city also has its variation on one of Japan’s most popular dishes, that everyone should definitely eat... ramen! Kagoshima is located on the southern edge of Kyushu and is a seaside city, so you can expect a lot of seafood delicacies. Kagoshima ramen typically features chewy noodles, pork bone broth, chicken stock, dried sardines, kelp, mushrooms, and assorted veggies. It’s filling, delicious, and very emblematic of Kagoshima.
Worldwide Local Tip: Some of the best ramen in Kagoshima can be found at Noboruya’s. This local favorite has been around since 1947, and although they relocated to the Kinsei Building, the recipe hasn’t changed and the warm welcomes are still there.
Dive into the City’s History
Kagoshima is a historically important part of Japan. A worldwide local knows that exploring local history is important to understand the culture. There are a ton of spots around the city that are important, but perhaps one of the most interesting is Shiroyama Park. As the legend goes, the park is the final site of a battle during the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877, and the local hero Saigo Takamori made his last stand at the cave in the park. It’s definitely a cool place that locals and visitors love.
Worldwide Local Tip: Tsurumaru Castle is another great spot that is culturally and historically important. Although not much of it is left, it was once governed by the Satsuma domain, until the Meiji restoration. The only parts remaining today are the moat and the walls, but it should still be on your list of places to check out. Ask the manager at your Kagoshima hotel to help you plan your visit.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Kagoshima might be skipped by a lot of tourists in Japan, but it should be next on your list! The city might be smaller than others, but as a worldwide local, you’ll know that is not a problem, because there’s so much history and beauty packed into this amazing city.