Kyushu Part 1: Kagoshima Prefecture

We recently visited the southernmost of the four main Japanese islands – the island of Kyushu. The kanji characters for “Kyushu” mean “Nine Provinces” (九州), although currently there are seven prefectures. On this trip we first visited Kagoshima Prefecture.

Kagoshima Prefecture is well-known for its prominent, and very active volcanic island, “Sakurajima” (桜島, Cherry Island). The volcano’s eruption warning level had just been raised to level 4 while we were there. Fortunately, there was no major eruption, but many tourist facilities on the island were closed as a result.

We also visited the caves where historical figure Saigo Takamori spent his last few days. Shiroyama Park is close by, and offers splendid views of the city and Sakurajima.


prominent: 目立つ、突き出した   active volcanic island: 活火山島

eruption warning level: 噴火警戒レベル    tourist facilities: 観光施設

historical figure: 歴史的人物    splendid views: 素晴らしい眺め

Kagoshima SakurajimaMt. Sakurajima as seen from Shiroyama Park.

Kagoshima was historically controlled by the Shimazu Clan, and the historical remnants of this era can be found at Senganen Gardens (仙巌園), and the accompanying Tsurumine Shrine (鶴嶺神社).


historical remnants: 歴史的な残り物  accompanying: 隣接、付属

Priests Tsurumine JinjaShinto priest at Tsurumine Shrine, located next to Senganen Gardens.

About an hour south of Kagoshima City is the town of Ibusuki (指宿). Ibusuki is a popular destination because of its famous “sand baths“. Geothermal energy heats the sand, which is shoveled onto customers by the staff. We spend about 15 minutes “bathing” in the sand.


destination: 目的地    sand bath: 砂風呂

geothermal energy: 地熱エネルギー   shoveled: ショベルで盛る

Ibusuki Sand Bath 1People enjoying the “sand baths” of Ibusuki.

Ibusuki Sand Bath 2Visitors to the “sand baths” wearing yukata.

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