Sunny Kagoshima lives in the shadow of Sakurajima, an active volcano that last erupted in 2016. Kagoshima balances an air of mystery with a seaside approachability thanks to its location in Southern Japan along the coast and proximity to Sakurajima. In addition to being the capital of the Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan, the city is home to ancient castles and traditional Japanese Gardens that delight locals and visitors alike.
Vacationers on an Asia cruise to Kagoshima, Japan can relax at Ibusuki Onsen, the local hot springs, while adventurous travelers will be awed by the volcano’s peaks after a hike to one of the many observation points. There are plenty of experiences for foodies in Kagoshima, too, like taking a tour of Shochu Brewery for sake tastings or enjoying a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
Walk these tranquil gardens for a glimpse of what life was like in 17th century Japan. Cherry blossoms bloom in the spring, though the interior of the estate built here is equally interesting since it was influenced by both Western and Eastern architecture. Check their calendar to see if there are events or classes held at the garden while you’re there.
This stunning volcano is the backdrop that most of Kagoshima is set against. It’s a perfect excursion for thrill seekers and hikers looking to experience the most active volcano in all of Japan. Take a ferry to go climbing or hiking to see Sakurajima up close and personal, or simply watch smoke billow from across the bay.
Explore the ruins of a castle on a hill while you discover a piece of Kagoshima history. Nearby the walls and preserved parts of the castle, you can check out the Reimeikan Museum, which contains fascinating collections of ancient swords and artifacts of the entire Kagoshima prefecture.
Perfect for kids and families of all ages, the Kagoshima Aquarium is right near the cruise port. It’s especially convenient for those who don’t want to venture too far from the ship while on a cruise to Kagoshima, Japan. Check out the daily dolphin performances and feedings where you can see dolphins and other marine life up close.
Shoppers on a Kagoshima, Japan cruise should make a beeline for the Tenmonkan Dori district for souvenirs, boutiques, handmade goods, jewelry, and more. This is one of the definitive places to shop in Kagoshima, plus there are restaurants and cafes throughout for when you need a break between shops.
Ibusuki Onsen is a short drive or bullet train away from Kagoshima, but it’s well worth the hour-long trip to get there. If you’re craving relaxation, Ibusuki Onsen is the place to be. After all, it’s one of Japan’s top-rated hot springs, plus it’s famous for its restorative sand baths. During a sand bath, you’ll be covered head-to-toe in sand for ten to twenty minutes, after which you’ll wash off and head into the hot springs for the ultimate pampering experience.
When you head into the center of Kagoshima, you’ll find the Shiroyama Lookout Point, which overlooks the entire city and the Sakurajima volcano. You’ll be welcomed by fresh air and spectacular views of Kagoshima below, which make for a perfect photo op no matter what time of day.
Shochu, a spirit distilled from sweet potato, wheat, and more, was created in Kagoshima. It has since exploded in national popularity throughout Japan. In Kagoshima, there are many varieties of shochu for you to sip and discover your favorite during your vacation. Shochu distillery tours are a must-do activity for foodies who are curious about the production process. Don’t miss trying katsuo-no-tataki, or seared bonito sashimi, pork broth ramen, sticky rice cakes, and more. For the adventurous, torisashi, or chicken sashimi, is a popular menu item, featuring the freshest local chicken available. The food here is rooted in the traditional dishes of Japan, but has its own spin on many dishes.
As the capital of the Kagoshima Prefecture, the city of Kagoshima has played a special role in the growth and success of the region since the city was founded in 1889. Kagoshima was said to have ushered Japan into an industrial revolution that put the city onto the international travel map. The city suffered damage during World War II, but quickly transformed into the peaceful coastal town it is today.
The marine port also acts as the spot where cruise ships dock in Kagoshima and has minimal amenities. There isn’t a currency exchange here at the port. Local banks and post offices are a safe bet for getting your money exchanged if you don’t have any Japanese yen when you arrive. There’s also a help desk for travelers to ask questions and get directions to sightseeing destinations.
When your cruise to Kagoshima, Japan docks in port, the tram is one of the easiest ways to get around Kagoshima from there. The tram includes two main routes through the city and offers scenic views of the seaside as you ride. Ferries frequently arrive in Kagoshima and can take you to neighboring towns, too. For those who want to take the wheel, cars, motorcycles, and bikes are available to rent.
You’ll find the best shopping in Kagoshima at Tenmonkan Dori, about 20 minutes from the cruise port. This shopping district specializes in handmade goods, boutiques, cafes, and eateries. Find a souvenir before heading back to the ship.
You’ll use the yen while traveling in Japan, and it’s best to carry cash with you to avoid any potential mishaps. Though credit cards have gained popularity in recent years, it’s not common in smaller shops and local restaurants for credit cards to be accepted. Tipping is also not required in Japan; in fact, it can be viewed as impolite for you to hand over a tip unless you first ask if it’s all right to do so, and keeping change in an envelope to give as a tip could be helpful as you travel. Be sure to politely thank your waitstaff or taxi driver for their help.