Kagoshima (which is still often referred to by its old name, Satsuma) is the capital city of Kagoshima Prefecture. It is located at the southwest tip of the Kyushu island of Japan and is the largest city in the prefecture. Kagoshima is a city of palm trees, wide avenues and warm, mild-tempered weather. For these reasons it is often compared to its Italian sister city, Naples. One of the best places to see the city is from the Ferris wheel on top of Amu Plaza – the new shopping centre attached to Kagoshima Central Train Station.Find Cruises Sailing to This Port
Dominating the skyline of Kagoshima, Sakurajima is one of Japan's most active volcanoes and the symbol of the city. It smokes constantly, and minor eruptions take place frequently (thousands of small explosions each year). Sakurajima's most recent major eruption occurred in 1960. Dust-fall can bring out umbrellas in Kagoshima the way rainfall does in other parts of the world.
For those here for a quick visit, Nagisa Park, a coastal park with volcanic stones, is a short walk from the ferry terminal. But if you have more time, you can take a bus tour to see Sakurajima's more distant and more spectacular lava fields created by past eruptions. There are several good lookout points to experience this wonder in all its glory.
While in Kagoshima, don't forget to try its local dishes, known as Satsuma cooking. This style of cooking supposedly has its origins in food cooked on battlefields centuries ago. Popular Satsuma specialities include tonkotsu (pork ribs seasoned with miso, black sugar and boiled to the point of falling apart), Satsuma-jiru (miso soup with chicken and locally grown vegetables) and Satsuma-age (a fried fish sausage). Kibinago is a small fish caught in the waters around Kagoshima. It's often eaten raw and arranged on a dish to resemble a chrysanthemum.
The most famous cake of Kagoshima is karukan, a delicious spongy white cake made from rice, with Chinese and Korean origins. Japanese tourists never leave for home without some.
Satsuma specialities include the ningyo (a Japanese doll), cards printed with ink made with volcanic ash and Satsuma kiriki, which is fine-cut glass. Other local products include beautiful silk made into clothing, handbags and wallets. But probably Kagoshima's most famous product is its Satsuma pottery. This pottery has been produced in the Kagoshima area for more than 380 years and comes in two styles: black and white. White Satsuma pottery is more elegant and was used by the upper class, the black pottery was used by the townspeople in everyday life.
The currency in Japan is the yen, symbolised by ¥. Coins come in denominations of ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50, ¥100 and ¥500. Banknotes come in denominations of ¥1,000, ¥2,000, ¥5,000 and ¥10,000.
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Learn more about this port city with these tourist information guides.