Kagoshima Prefecture, located in the southern part of the island of Kyushu, consists of 2 peninsulas and a group of isolated islands. Those islands make up about 28% of the total land area and including the World Heritage site of Yakushima and the beautiful Amami Islands with coral reefs and mangrove woods, they are basically natural environments that have not been touched by Man. Tourism centers around the Satsuma Peninsula on which the Satsuma clan changed the course of Japan’s history at the end of the Tokugawa Era and the Osumi Peninsula with a wide range of tourist attractions including nature and history. The Kirishima area which links the 2 peninsulas and Sakurajima Island, a symbol of the prefecture, also attracts a lot of tourists. Since Sakurajima is an active volcano, it is rich in onsen and has the 2nd-highest number of source springs following Oita Prefecture.
On Sakurajima which is a part of Kirishima-Kinkōwan National Park, there are many tourist sites such as scenic spots including Yunohira Observation Point and Arimura Yogan Observation Point, the roadside station Tarumizu, and the foot baths at Sakurajima Yogan Nagisa Park. The Museum of the Meiji Restoration where you can learn about the history behind the end of the Tokugawa Era, Kirishima-Jingu Shrine, Ibusuki Onsen with its sand baths and Kirishima Onsen Village are also popular. As for the group of islands, there are famous Jomon cedar trees and Shiratani-Unsui Gorge on Yakushima, a primeval mangrove forest on Amami-Oshima, and the Tanegashima Space Center on Tanegashima Island.
Kagoshima cuisine includes a lot of ingredients with the word “kuro” or “black” in them. The area is well known for its kuro buta (black pork), kuro gyu (black beef), kuro satsuma dori (black Satsuma chicken), kuro su (dark vinegar), and kuro zato (brown sugar). Also popular is eel for which Kagoshima boasts the largest production in the country, Satsuma age (deep-fried fish paste) and Kagoshima ramen. When it comes to liquor in the prefecture, there is imojochu (sweet potato shochu). There are also many brands of shochu which can only be drunk in Kagoshima so you have to try one of them at least once.
It’s common to take a plane from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to get to Kagoshima. Flights usually take about 2 hours. There are limousine buses from Kagoshima Airport which will take you everywhere in the prefecture including Kirishima and Kagoshima City. Rental cars are also common when moving about in the area. You can reach any of the islands by ferry.
There are plenty of accommodations around the major tourist areas of Kagoshima Station and the Sakurajima vicinity, along with the airport and onsen in Kirishima, and even on Yakushima and Amami-Oshima.