A little over a year ago, one of my good friends in Tokyo got a job teaching philosophy at a university in Kagoshima, the prefecture at the southernmost tip of the island of Kyushu. Being that he’s now a seven-hour series of train rides, or a two-and-a-half-hour flight, away, we don’t get together so often anymore, but on the plus side, now I have a reason to take a trip to Kagoshima.
Well, actually, I’ve got about a dozen reasons to take a trip there, if you add in all of the nature trails, hot springs, scenic coastline, and more shown in this video of some of Kagoshima’s most achingly beautiful travel destinations.
As part of its Energetic Japan promotional campaign, Kagoshima’s tourism association has put together an extremely convincing two-minute video of why the prefecture should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Japan.
Opening with the sun shining behind Sakurajima, the active volcano that regularly dusts Kagoshima City with ash, we quickly move outside the urban center and onto Yakushima, the misty green island which inspired the forests of Hayao Miyazaki’s critically acclaimed anime Princess Mononoke and is home to the 1,800-year-old Jomon Sugi cryptomeria tree.
▼ Yakushima’s Shiratani Usui Gorge
All of that hiking around Yakushima is likely to leave you tired out, but thankfully the island is also home to the Hirauchi Kaichu seaside hot springs, where you can soothe your aching muscles while gazing out at the Pacific.
Yakushima isn’t the only place worth seeing in Kagoshima, though. Although they’re decidedly newer than the Jumon Sugi, the preserved samurai residences of Chiran, a town in central Kagoshima, have been standing for more than two centuries, giving visitors a chance to step back in time as they enter the grounds and gardens.
Even the infrastructure can be culturally significant, such as Kareigawa Station, which was opened over a hundred years ago, and doesn’t look like it’s changed much since.
And of course, you can’t talk about regions of Japan without giving a shout-out to their signature dishes, such as Kagoshima’s kurobuta pork hotpot.
▼ Yes, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but it would taste a whole lot better if it was made out of pork.
One of the coolest aesthetic choices the video makes is to shoot almost everything from ground level. Sure, Japan looks awesome from a lofty perch , and we do see a few hillside vistas. For the most part, however, we see Kagoshima as though we were walking through it ourselves, ambling along the beach, picking our way around food stalls, or showing up for the summer Rokugatsudo lantern festival.
That’s also why not just the places of Kagoshima, but the people, too, play a big role in the video.
▼ It’s not hard to imagine this father walking down this same street with his own dad when he was a kid.
Just in case you want even more of a sneak peek of what the prefecture has to offer, the tourism association has videos taking a more in-depth look at all these locations, plus others, on its website here . And if you’re already sold and booked your ticket to Kagoshima, do me a favor and say hi to my friend if you see him.
Related: Kagoshima Tourism Association
Screenshots via YouTube