The capital of Kagoshima Prefecture is Kagoshima, a seaside city on Japan’s Kyushu Island. Sakurajima, an active volcano that overlooks Kinko Bay, is its most well-known natural feature.
Kagoshima City is the most southern city of mainland Japan and is a great place to visit given that it is often compared to the very popular tourist destination Naples in Italy.
In this article we will explore the best things to see and do in Kagoshima City, covering some of the most obvious tourist attractions as well as a few lesser-known attractions for people who want to get away from the crowds.
About Kagoshima City
Kagoshima City is a southern Japanese city that is often chosen as a destination due to its warm climate, streets lined with palm trees, and amazing attractions.
All of these different aspects make the city seem like a sibling of the incredibly popular Italian location of Naples.
Although perhaps lesser-known than Naples, Kagoshima City has just as much to offer and is a great place to getaway. So, here we will explore the cities best things to see and do in Kagoshima City.
What are the top attractions in Kagoshima City?
No trip to Kagoshima City could be complete without paying a visit to the Sakurajima volcano. Just like Naples, this Japanese city also has its own active volcano, attracting people from around the world.
This volcano is still very active and is located off of Kagoshima bay. In fact, the Sakurajima volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in all of Japan.
This makes for a great photo opportunity as the volcano is almost always smoking and there are minor eruptions almost every day.
It is hard to miss the volcano as it stands at 3664 feet tall and its circumference is approximately 31 miles.
Thanks to an eruption in 1914 the once stand-alone volcano has since been connected to the city via the cooled lava, forming a natural bridge.
However, there are ferries that run daily to and from the volcano and this is still the most popular way to reach the volcano.
The volcano has three peaks and it is forbidden to get any closer than 1.24 miles from the active craters. However, there are several viewpoints on the volcano that are at a safe distance away from the danger zone.
If you are looking for something a little bit quieter to fill your time in Kagoshima City then head to the Kagoshima aquarium which is located in the port. In fact, you will find it just beside the ferry to Sakurajima volcano.
First opened in 1997, the Kagoshima aquarium consists of seven floors, each of which houses its own attractions.
The general aim of the aquarium is to showcase the marine life local to Kagoshima as well as the islands that are in the Kagoshima Prefecture.
The aquarium’s crown jewel is the Kuroshio tank, which is an incredibly large tank that houses a variety of different species. In this tank, you will be able to see everything from tiny schools of fish to stingrays and even a whale shark.
In addition to this tank, you will also find other exhibits about sea otters, coral reefs, crabs, mangroves, and electric eels. There is something for everyone and you can take your time moving from exhibit to exhibit.
There is even a dolphin show that is performed three times per day. Here you can see them perform a variety of tricks and the shows are sure to be a hit with both adults and children.
Occasionally you will also see the dolphins swimming freely around in the outdoor canals around the aquarium. You may also catch a glimpse of them performing tricks here too.
The Kagoshima aquarium is open daily between 9:00 and 6 pm and the admission price is 1500 yen.
Sennganen garden is a Japanese landscape garden that is located in downtown Kagoshima on the north coast. The garden offers stunning views of both the bay and the volcano, giving a picturesque backdrop to the park.
Throughout the park, you will see a number of small ponds, shrines, streams, and even a bamboo grove.
Created in 1658 by the Shimazu clan, Senganen gardens is the ground for the Ido residence. However, although the park grounds date back to 1658 the residence itself does not and is actually a reconstruction of the original building that was built in the 1880s.
At the close of the feudal age the residence building was used as the primary home of the Shimazu family and the rooms have been preserved as they would have looked at this time.
There is an additional fee if you wish to explore the interior of the residence.
Entrance to both the park and the museum costs 1000 yen and if you would also like to visit inside of the residence then the total fee will be 1500 yen. The gardens are open from 9:00 to 5 pm daily.
Located in downtown Kagoshima, Shiroyama park is an excellent vantage point for great views of the city, including the volcano over the bay. The elevation of the park is 557 feet and is located on Mount Shiroyama.
This mountain was originally used as a castle fortification. In fact, “Shiroyama” literally translates to “castle mountain”.
The park offers fantastic views both in the day and at night when, on a clear moonlit night, you can see the volcano lit up from across the bay. However, note that on a cloudy night this view will not be possible.
There is also an onsen open to the public that is located in the nearby hotel Castle Park Hotel. From here you will be able to enjoy the view while relaxing in the hot springs.
The park also holds historical significance as it was the site of the Satsuma Rebellion’s final battle in 1877.
Entrance to the hot springs costs 2680 yen and is permitted between 5:30 until 12 am.
This museum serves to help people explore the local culture and history, focusing on Kagoshima’s history from ancient times to the modern-day.
One point of interest is the diorama of the city at the start of the Showa period as well as a model of the city from the middle ages. These will help you to appreciate how the city has developed over the years and turned into the city you see today.
The grounds of the museum are also of interest as the museum was built on the site of a castle, Kagoshima castle, and is enclosed in the castle’s stone walls and moat.
Just a short walk from the museum you can also find points of interest such as the statue of Saigo Takamori, a local hero who is said to have died in battle on Mount Shiroyama.
The museum is open daily from 9:00 to 6 pm and you are permitted to enter until 5:30 pm. The museum is closed on Mondays, on the 25th day of each month (unless this is on a weekend), and over the holiday period from the 31st of December until the 2nd of January.
The price of admission is 400 yen. If you do not speak English then it is advised to bring someone who understands Japanese as the museum has minimal amounts of information available in English.