Welcome to Kagoshima. > Profile of Kagoshima > Outline of Kagoshima

Update : January 23, 2019

Main content starts here.

Outline of Kagoshima

Kagoshima Prefecture has attractive tourism resources, numerous aspects that are ‘Japan’s number 1’, safe, reliable and abundant food products, a rich natural environment, and many other attractive qualities and strengths that give it great potential. The following is an introduction to some of these aspects.

1Attractive Tourism Resources

Across Kagoshima Prefecture’s wide expanse of land that stretches 600km from north to south, picturesque seasonal scenery, distinctive islands, locations with a deep sense of history, an abundance of excellent hot springs and other attractive tourism resources abound.

Kagoshima Prefecture also boasts a wealth of resources whose value has been recognized by the international community. When Amami Oshima Island and Tokunoshima Island are eventually registered as World Natural Heritage, Kagoshima Prefecture will have 3 sites of World Heritage, the highest number in Japan – Yakushima Island (natural heritage); Amami Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, the northern part of Okinawa Island and Iriomote Island (natural heritage); and Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution (cultural heritage).

2World Class Heritage Sites in Kagoshima

(Yakushima Island)
Recognized for its unique ecosystem and outstanding natural scenery, it was registered as Japan’s first World Natural Heritage Site in December 1993.

(Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution)
The three properties in Kagoshima Prefecture – the Former Shuseikan (Former Shuseikan Machinery Factory, Remains of Reverberatory Furnace, and Former Foreign Engineers’ Residence “Ijinkan”), Terayama Charcoal Kiln, and the Sekiyoshi Sluice Gate – are part of a series of industrial heritage sites (including currently operational industrial complexes) that bear testimony to Japan’s rapid industrialization in the heavy industries of iron and steel manufacture, shipbuilding and coal mining in the late Edo to Meiji Period. 23 component parts across 11 cities in 8 prefectures mainly located in the Kyushu-Yamaguchi region were registered as a World Cultural Heritage in July 2015.

(Amami Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, the northern part of Okinawa Island and Iriomote Island)
Amami Oshima Island and Tokunoshima Island are recognized as regions important to biodiversity conservation with their multitude of rare and endemic species such as the Amami rabbit and Japan’s largest subtropical laurel forest. Together with two Okinawan islands, they are aiming for registration as a World Natural Heritage.

縄文杉

Kagoshima’s Many ‘Japan’s Number 1’s

Kagoshima Prefecture is a treasure trove of safe and reliable delicacies, making the most of its fertile environment to produce Japan’s largest output of livestock like beef cattle and pig, agricultural products such as sweet potatoes and broad beans, as well as farmed yellowtail, amberjack, and unagi eel.

Furthermore, the numbers of migratory cranes and landing turtles are also the greatest in Japan, and Japan’s rocket launch sites can be found only in Kagoshima.

肉用牛

Japan’s Number 1: Livestock

Beef cattle (Japanese Black Wagyu breed), pigs, broiler chickens, champion of the 11th National Competitive Exhibition of Wagyu

Japan’s Number 1: Agricultural Products

Sweet potatoes, broad beans, peas, okra, scallions, Chinese citrons, Tankan oranges, passion fruits

Japan’s Number 1: Seafood Products

Farmed yellowtail, farmed amberjack, farmed unagi eel, dried bonito flakes

Japan’s Number 1: Forestry Products

Bamboo products, Japanese star anise branches, lumber shipment by port (Shibushi Port)

Others

Total land area and population of islands, number of migratory cranes, number of landing turtles, Sakurajima radish (largest in the world), Jomonsugi cedar in Yakushima Island, Kamo-no-Okusu camphor tree in Kamo Town, banyan tree in Okinoerabu Island, Ibusuki’s giant mottled eel, gold production, rocket launch sites, etc.

Geographical Proximity to Rapidly Developing Asian Countries

Kagoshima Prefecture is located at the southernmost tip of Japan, near the rest of Asia which accounts for 60% of the world’s economic growth.

Kagoshima has a developed transportation and logistics network that makes the most of such geographical advantage, with regular flights to major cities like Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei and Hong Kong, and regular international shipping routes established between its 3 international freight ports with customs, immigration and quarantine facilities – Kagoshima Port, Sendai Port and Shibushi Port – and ports in China, Taiwan, and South Korea.

In addition, Kagoshima has a long history of exchanges across diverse fields with mainly Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Jeollabuk-do in South Korea and Jiangsu Province in China.

Nature Flourishing across 600 Kilometers of Land from North to South

Kagoshima Prefecture is blessed with a rich natural environment, from active volcano Mt. Sakurajima floating in the middle of blue Kinko Bay to its long and varied coastline, an abundance of hot springs that are second most plentiful in the country, and the Kuroshio Current that endows Kagoshima with a mild climate and bountiful seas.

Moreover, it boasts nature found nowhere else in the world, such as Japan’s first national park Kirishima, Japan’s first World Natural Heritage Site Yakushima Island, and the Amami Islands on which rare flora and fauna like the Amami rabbit thrive.

Such flourishing nature forms the perfect foundation for agricultural, forestry and marine industries, producing a plethora of food including Kurobuta pork, Kagoshima Wagyu beef, brown sugar, kurozu vinegar, green tea and shochu liquor, and nurturing a rich gastronomic culture that promotes good health and longevity. This nature is also an attractive tourism resource in its own right.

Unique Histories and Diverse Cultures

As evidenced from the Uenohara Jomon archaeological site, humans have settled here since millennia ago. Kagoshima’s culture is influenced by the Kuroshio Current, which fostered an array of exchanges with its southern neighbors, and it has a long history of exchanges with other Asian countries.

Kagoshima first came into contact with distant European cultures through the arrival of firearms into Tanegashima Island and the spread of Christianity by Saint Francis Xavier in the 16th century. In the 19th century, Kagoshima began passionately adopting western cultures, building reverberatory furnaces and various factories, and dispatching students to the United Kingdom.

Also, at Japan’s first official participation in the second World Exposition in Paris, Satsuma Domain (present day Kagoshima Prefecture) presented a pavilion separate from the Tokugawa shogunate. There it actively marketed itself to the rest of the world through displaying specialty products such as Satsuma-yaki pottery and presenting high-ranking foreign officials with the “Satsuma-Ryukyu Medal”.

Through such advanced initiatives, Kagoshima became powerful enough to lead Japan and was the driving force in establishing a new country.

Furthermore, as a nexus between the Yamato and Ryukyuan cultures, Kagoshima is known as a treasure trove of folk culture due to the many unique events, festivals, and folk art and performances here, and a diverse array of local cultures and lifestyles found across its different regions.

In addition, Kagoshima has a distinctive traditional culture as seen in its craftwork, for example Oshima Tsumugi silk fabric, Kawanabe Buddhist altars, Satsuma-yaki pottery and Satsuma Kiriko cut glass. There also exist many sites of industrial heritage that were forerunners of Japan’s modernization including the Former Shuseikan, a component part of a World Cultural Heritage Site.

川辺仏壇

People with Attributes Cultivated by the Southern Climate

Kagoshima Prefecture has given birth to countless historical figures who had contributed greatly to the formation of modern Japan including Saigo Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi.

The learning environment that raised these young men who forged a future during the turmoil of the late Edo Period, and the traditional educative role of the community – wherein the entire community is involved in educating its children – still exist now.

Kagoshima has also produced many talented people in industry, economy and academic fields among others.

Its location open to the south and interactions with foreign cultures have brought up people with a carefree and enterprising spirit, and that along with their tropically open and cheerful attitudes are Kagoshima’s strengths when it comes to promoting exchanges with the rest of the country and the world.

Warm, Caring Communities

The proportion of people involved in voluntary work for the young and elderly in Kagoshima Prefecture is among the highest in the country, and there remains a system of mutual assistance in communities here. In addition, the number of non-profit organizations established independently by locals to tackle social issues like regional revitalization is also exceptional; ranked 4th highest per capita in Japan.

Through services like providing platforms for young parents to interact with one another and childcare consultations, operating after-school childcare centers, revitalizing regions with declining and aging populations through urban-rural exchanges, maintaining rivers and roads, and supporting people with disabilities, many organizations in various parts of the prefecture work towards solving various local issues.

Unique Enterprises that Utilize Local Resources

Kagoshima Prefecture has one of the largest primary sectors in Japan. New industries that utilize local resources are being created in Kagoshima. They make use of Kagoshima’s excellent and abundant agricultural, forestry and marine products to develop and merchandize various processed foods such as those with health uses or functional claims, and specialty products. Tourist products are also being developed in hilly and mountainous areas to take advantage of the regions’ unique resources.

Furthermore, research and development and commercialization of Kagoshima companies’ distinctive skills and technology are being conducted in various fields, such as developing new products and finding practical uses for shirasu volcanic ash, and creating new textile designs with a particular feel and sheen that make the most of the mud-dyeing technique of Oshima Tsumugi silk production.

大島紬

A Wealth of “Wellness” Resources (Good Health, Healing, Longevity)

Kagoshima Prefecture is blessed with a variety of resources beneficial to one’s good health, healing and longevity. They include abundant hot springs, a mild climate, rich nature such as a World Natural Heritage Site, safe and reliable agricultural, forestry and marine products, and environments suited for activities that promote good health such as trekking and marine sports.

Such excellent resources improve the good health, healing and longevity of Kagoshima’s citizens. At the same time, with the current worldwide trend towards the health-conscious, by promoting these resources to other parts of Japan and beyond they have the potential to improve Kagoshima’s reputation and also encourage various exchanges.