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Kagoshima Prefecture

Yakushima

Yakushima is a 500 km2subtropical island off the coast of Kagoshima in southern Kyushu. It is famous for its unspoiled ancient cedar forest, which is home to some of Japan’s oldest trees and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Locals fondly refer to trees over a 1,000 years old yakusugi, a combination of Yakushima and sugi, the Japanese word for cedar. The oldest tree is about 7,000 years old. Yakushima’s spawling cedar forest teems with natural beauty and enchantment.

How to Get There

By Ferry

High-speed jetfoil ferries run from Kagoshima Port to Yakushima, some ferries go directly to the island but most stop at neighboring Tanegashima. Depending on the stops made, it takes between two to three hours and cost 6500 yen one way. Round trip tickets go for 11,600 yen and have to be used within seven days after purchase. In all, there are eight ferries to the island per day.

By Airplane

Flights are available from Hakata to Yakushima. For more information check the websites of local airlines.

Ibusuki

Ibusuki town is a well-known resort area near to Kagoshima City. Courtesy of its subterranean geysers, the town offers a unique experience as a natural thermal spa, where visitors can enjoy steaming-hot sand baths all year long. This includes visitors lying on their backs and being buried up to their necks in sand. It is like bathing in an onsen but with sand instead of water, similarly it is said to be beneficial to our health. The Ibusuki Experimental Botanical Garden nearby is also worth visiting.

How to Get There

From Hakata Station take the JR Kagoshima Line (limited express) to Shin-Yatsushiro Station; which takes about 1hour and 36 minutes. At Shin-Yatsushiro Station take the JR Tsubame Shinkansen Line to Kagoshima Chuo (Central) Station, which takes 35 minutes .Finally, take the JR Ibusuki-Makurazaki Line (rapid train) to Ibusuki, which takes an hour.

Sakurajima

Located within Kirishima-Yaku National Park, (Mount) Sakurajima towers over Kagoshima Bay, dominating the landscape. It is a symbol of Kagoshima and one of the most active volcanoes in the world, despite its serene beauty. Sakurajima was once an island but became joined to the Osumi Peninsula after a great eruption in 1914. In addition to its magnificence and the ominous threat of spewing lava, the mountain is a source of delicious Sakurajima Radish, the largest variety in the world.

There are several interesting places to visit on the island. There is the Sakurajima Marine Park, with its display of the ocean floor and marine life. Visitors can view the history of eruptions of Sakurajima Sakurajima Visitors Center’s museum. Yunohira Observation Spot provides a great view of the surrounding area and is the closest you can get to Minamidake crater.

How to Get There

Take the JR Kagoshima Line (limited express) from Hakata Station to Shin-Yatsushiro, then from there take the JR Tsubame Shinkansen Line to Kagoshima Central Station.

Special Foods

Tsuke-age

This is dish is made with fish, salt, sugar and soy sauce, rolled into a ball and deep-fried. It can be eaten hot or cold, as a meal or a side dish and can be dipped in soy sauce, sake or sugar when being eaten.

Kibinago Sashimi

Kibinago are small fish around 5 cm to 10 cm long, are delicious and eaten in a number of ways. They are served as sashimi with soy sauce or a blend of miso and vinegar. Otherwise they are served as tempura, grilled, dried and in miso soup.