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KAGOSHIMA Prefecture

Area: 9.132 km2
Population: 1, 680 million
Region: Kyushu
Capital: Kagoshima

photo by Peter Enyeart

Kagoshima prefecture is located at the south end of Kyushu, which is the southernmost of the four main islands in Japan.
Here you can find the majestic cedar forests of Yakushima, active volcanoes such as Sakurajima, abundant hot springs, samurai history, and rich nature. The prefecture consists of two peninsulas, originally separate domains called the Satsuma, to the west, and Osumi, to the east, as well as the island chains stretching southward towards Okinawa. Its capital is the city of Kagoshima.

Kagoshima City is approximately 40 minutes from Kagoshima Airport, and features shopping districts and malls covering a large area.
The transportation system within the city consists of the Shinkansen (bullet train), local train, city trams, buses, and ferries to-and-from Sakurajima. Sakurajima is Kagoshima's temperamental (and active) volcano and can be reached by ferry in a matter of minutes.
Near a shopping district known as "Dolphin Port" and the Sakurajima Ferry Terminal is a large and modern aquarium called the Kagoshima City Aquarium, which was established in 1997.
One of the best places to view the city (and Sakurajima) is from the Amuran Ferris Wheel on top of Amu Plaza Kagoshima, the shopping center attached to the Kagoshima-Chūō Station.
Just outside of the city is the early-Edo Period Sengan-en Japanese Garden. The garden was originally a villa to the Shimadzu Family and is still maintained by descendants today. Outside the garden grounds is a Satsuma "kiriko" cut-glass factory where visitors are welcome to view the glass-blowing and glass-cutting process, and the Shoko Shūseikan Museum which was registered as a National Historic Site in 1959.
Yakushima is home to Kyushu’s highest mountain, Mt. Miyanoura. Known as the floating Alps, Yakushima became the first designated World Natural Heritage Site of Japan. Nearby is the Island of Tanegashima, which is home to what is said to be the world's most beautiful space centre. Visitors to the Space Exhibition Centre can take part in rocket launch simulations and other various activities.

Kirishima is an active volcanic mountain range. It is made up of mountains, highlands, volcanic lakes and hot springs and offers good hiking through beautiful mountainous surroundings. Kirishima Onsen and Ebino Kogen are Kirishima’s main attractions.

Satsuma Peninsula is home to Ibususki Onsen, a hot spring resort famous for sand bathing, the Chiran Samurai district which is very well preserved and Cape Nagasakibana, famous for its Nagasakibana Parking Garden, which displays a variety of tropical plants and animals, such as lemurs, flamingos, squirrels, monkeys, hibiscuses, cacti and mango trees. Nearby is the Flower Park Kagoshima with an even larger variety of plants and flowers.
By plane
Kagoshima's airport, about two hours by air from Tokyo, is well-connected to the rest of Japan and has links to Seoul and Shanghai. There are also direct flights to Amami Oshima from Tokyo-Haneda and Osaka-Itami.

By train
Kagoshima is the southern terminus of the Kyushu Shinkansen line.
In March 2011, a new bullet train service connecting Kagoshima with Shin-Osaka in 3 hours and 45 minutes launched. With this leg of the bullet train route opened, northernmost mainland Japan and the southernmost point of Kyushu are effectively connected.
Alternatively, the JR Nippō Main Line travels from Fukuoka to Kagoshima via Kyushu's eastern coast, passing through Oita and Miyazaki.
This prefecture has relatively mild or rather hot climate.
Sub-tropical Kagoshima is the rainiest part of Japan, experiencing not one but two rainy seasons that stretch nearly uninterrupted from May to July. August and September are quite hot and sometimes experience typhoons. Winter can be surprisingly cold, with average temperatures on the coast around 7° and snow in the mountains. The season that follows is one of the best times to visit, as is spring, with cherry blossoms flowering in late March.
During summer, you should be fine if you wear a short-sleeved shirt, t-shirt or a dress, however a long sleeved shirt is highly recommended if you choose to go near water or to the mountains.
In the winter, be sure to bring warm clothes such as winter coat or jacket, hat, scarf and gloves.
For the spring and autumn a light jacket or a sweater should keep you warm.
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