Travel to Japan: 1-Day Itinerary for Kagoshima

  • 3 min read
Travel to Japan: 1-Day Itinerary for Kagoshima

Located in the very south of Japan lies Kagoshima Prefecture. Largely unknown by most, Kagoshima boasts an unending array of natural delights and delicacies waiting to be explored. If you only have one day in Kagoshima, here is a recommended itinerary to experience this incredible area:

Sunrise over Kinko Bay

The crown jewel of Kagoshima is Sakurajima, an active volcano located in the middle of Kinko Bay. Catching the sunrise over Sakurajima is a fantastic way to start the day and will be sure to give you the energy needed for a full day of adventuring. Head over to Waterfront Park or to the rooftop of your hotel to catch a glimpse of the sun rising over one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

Delight in locally caught fish for breakfast

With its proximity to the ocean, the freshness of Kagoshima’s sashimi is hard to beat. Located nearby downtown Kagoshima City, the menu at the Kagoshima Fish Market cafeteria boasts an array of sushi and sashimi dishes made with fresh-caught fish harvested each morning. Many of the local fishermen and market workers also eat there, making it a truly unique opportunity to both experience high-quality sashimi and meet some of the locals.

Travel to Japan: 1-Day Itinerary for Kagoshima

Explore the residence of a samurai family

The first sightseeing spot on your day in Kagoshima should be Sengan-en. Home to a traditional Japanese style landscape garden, Sengan-en is the former residence of the Shimadzu family, who ruled Kagoshima until the 19th century. Built in 1658, the garden and buildings were designed to match and enhance the surrounding landscape. Here you can find unobstructed views of Sakurajima, learn about the history of the Shimadzu family, and enjoy a fresh cup of locally grown green tea at the modern matcha cafe located in the gardens. If you’re feeling peckish, don’t miss out on tryingjambo mochi, a local delicacy of skewered sticky rice which has been flame grilled, then drizzled in a sweet, soy sauce glaze.

Get up close to an active volcano

Located just a short bus ride from Sengan-en is the Sakurajima Ferry Port, which will transport you over to Sakurajima in about 15 minutes. After getting on the ferry, head up to the top deck to take in the views of Kinko Bay, Kagoshima City, and Sakurajima. If eating on a boat sounds exciting, head to the ferry’s cafeteria and enjoy the ride over a freshly made bowl of udon noodles.

Once on Sakurajima, depending on time, you can take the Sakurajima loop bus, which will stop at a few locations around the island, giving you an opportunity to walk around and experience the different environments and views. The bus also takes you to Yunohira lookout, which is the observatory located closest to the active crater. Here you can truly understand the size and power of the volcano.

Alternatively, if you’re running short on time, head over to theashi-yu(foot onsen) located near the seaside. Pick up a drink from the convenience store along the way and enjoy soaking your feet in the naturally heated mineral water whilst taking in views of Sakurajima and watching ferries go to and fro from the city.

Travel to Japan: 1-Day Itinerary for Kagoshima

Explore the local food scene

No trip to Kagoshima would be complete without enjoying some of the regional food on offer. For dinner, go to Yatai-mura located opposite Kagoshima Chuo Station to explore Kagoshima’s regional food scene. At Yatai-mura, each of the shops specialises in one area of Kagoshima, allowing patrons to hop from shop to shop and try food from all over the prefecture.

No night in Kagoshima would be complete without trying shochu, a type of alcohol beloved by the locals of Kagoshima. Unlike sake, which is made from rice, shochu is made from distilled sweet potatoes, brown sugar, or barley, and is synonymous with Kagoshima. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations, as Kagoshima people are very friendly and always excited to share their culture with visitors.

Kagoshima is rich in nature, local craftsmanship and food, making it an ideal destination on your next trip to Japan. Largely unexplored by visitors to Japan, everywhere you go in Kagoshima feels like a truly unique and individual experience. One day, two days, or perhaps even three days in Kagoshima would be a fantastic addition to any trip in Japan.

About the author: 

Ailsa van Eeghen

Ailsa van Eeghen

Ailsa has been living in Japan since 2015 all the while enjoying the rich beauty of Kagoshima prefecture. She finds the most joy in exploring little villages, driving around the countryside and exploring the lesser known parts of Japan. Keenly interested in Japan’s regional diversity, you can often find her at michi-no-eki admiring all the local produce. You can find more of her travels and deep dives into Japanese culture on her Instagram @daysofailsa where she writes about her life in Japan.



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