Nestled on the southeast coastline of Kyushu Island is the capital city of the Miyazaki Prefecture, called Miyazaki. Because of its location on the southernmost islands of Japan, it’s warm and beautiful. There are many places to see such as sports facilities, resorts, and beaches.
There are other nearby attractions that are worth noting as well. Some of which include places like Takachiho, Kirishima, Aoshima, and Udo Jingu, among a host of others.
All these places are excellent for enjoying nature while also visiting important sites integral to the legends of Japan’s genesis.
About the City of Miyazaki
Miyazaki City became official on April 1, 1924, but the prefecture was originally the Hyuga Province until 1870.
Once the nationwide railroad project was completed, many people began inhabiting the area. Today, there are almost 400,000 people living there.
Weather And Climate
Its location in the southeastern section of Kyushu means it has a subtropical climate with sticky humid summers and temperate winters.
At one time, Miyazaki was a top honeymoon destination and the number one spot for Japanese residents until the 1980s. But, from 2007 to 2011, the famous comedian Higashikokubaru Hideo was governor of the prefecture. His notoriety and popularity refreshed tourism to the area.
Today, the city is growing by leaps and bounds. As recently as January 2006, it merged with smaller towns like Tano, Sadowara, and Takaoka.
Then again in 2010, they absorbed Kiyotake. This has helped expand their economy, making it one of the more profitable prefectures in Japan.
Dell Corporation’s call centers are in Miyazaki along with the headquarters for Skynet Asia Airways and an Asiana Airlines sales office.
At the center of the city is the Miyazaki Jingu, there is a sacred shrine dedicated to Japan’s first emperor, Jimmu.
In 1940, Emperor Shōwa constructed Hakkō Ichiu pillars in honor of him. Called the “Peace Tower,” after World War II, it initially symbolized the belief in the Japanese royal task of unifying the world’s eight corners.
There are other fantastic things to see and do around the city too. The Misogi-ike, or Pond of Purification, is the assumed birthplace of Japan’s most beloved sun goddess, Amaterasu.
There are ancient burial mounds, great surfing opportunities, and hiking trails.
Plus, there are several botanical parks, nature preserves, and other heavily forested areas that are beautiful to experience. Miyazaki is also home to a world-famous variety of mango. Called a “Sun Egg,” it looks just like the rising sun and is a popular gift.
There is no shortage of entertainment in Miyazaki. But, the areas surrounding the city also offer impressive panoramic views of mountains, forests, jungles, coastlines and so much more.
Each of these areas has a deep and ancient mythological past coinciding with the area’s natural beauty.
Heiwadai Park is a wonder in and of itself. Not only is it the location of the Peace Tower, but the Haniwa Garden is also pretty impressive with an acoustic surprise.
If you face the Peace Tower at its base from the center of the lawn and clap as loud as possible, it will magnify and echo back to you.
Also, at the far end of the garden, there are more than 400 burial statue replicas, called haniwa. These depict dancers, warriors, animals, houses, and boats all arranged along a tree-lined pathway.
During Japan’s Kofun Period, these were set around burial mounds as tributes to the deceased.
Bordering Kagoshima and Miyazaki Prefectures is an active volcanic mountain range called Kirishima. Not only are there stunning mountains but also hot springs (onsen), volcanic lakes, and highlands. There are great hiking opportunities too.
But this mountain range also has an important role in Japanese mythology. It’s the spot where Ninigi no Mikoto, Amaterasu’s grandson, came down from the heavens to rule the earth and establish the bloodline of Japanese emperors.
The two most popular resort towns in Kirishima are Ebino Kogen and Kirishima Onsen. Ebino Kogen sits on the Miyazaki side and is a small village with a few hotels.
The site is gorgeous due to it being a highland area encompassed by volcanic lakes and mountains.
Kirishima Onsen is on the Kagoshima side and is a well-developed hot spring town.
Takachiho is the crowning jewel of Miyazaki and famously fabled as the mountain range from where all gods descended.
There is a shrine on the mountain that tells the story of the gods along with the privileged of watching traditional kagura dances. These special masked performances depict all the stories of the gods.
You can see this from on top of the cliffs, walking the trail, or in the water via a rowboat.
At the top of Takachiho is Ninigi no Mikoto’s spear sunk into the earth. The suggestion is this is his landing spot after traveling on the spear.
Aoshima is an island that sits between Miyazaki and Nichinan just off the coast with rings of white beaches amid a jungle-like atmosphere.
As you reach Aoshima, you’ll notice endless scenic vistas which seem as though they belong in a painting. It’s quaint yet beautiful and connected by a bridge from the mainland.
To illustrate how small it is, the whole circumference of the island totals one mile (1½ kilometers). This means you can walk the whole thing in just a few hours.
It makes an ideal place for long-distance and marathon runners to practice their sport.
There’s also the Aoshima Jinja, which is a colorful shrine where couples can receive marriage blessings and luck. It sits tucked away in the jungle off a short path from the shrine’s main building.
The tranquility experienced as you traverse the walkway is meditative and peaceful.
The Devil’s Washboard
Another interesting feature of Aoshima is the Devil’s Washboard, called Oni no Sentakuita. This is a natural geological phenomenon that displays basalt rock in rows, which are perfectly linear.
They look manmade, but they are not. You can find these all around the Miyazaki area.
Dedicated to the legendary emperor, Jimmu, and his father, Udo Jingu is a shrine that overlooks the ocean from a cliff. It’s just south of Miyazaki City and you can’t miss it due to its vibrant painted colors.
There are rock formations and cave shapes around which the Japanese have developed many legends and traditions. There are breast-shaped ones said to have nourished Emperor Jimmu upon his birth.
Also, you can try your luck by throwing a few undama stones, or lucky balls, at a target in the rocks resting below the shrine.
People believe the water dripping from the rocks has great benefits to all stages of pregnancy, which includes conception, childbirth, and nursing.
This is also a place special to newlyweds and couples, being fortunate for their unions.