From its rich history to its smorgasbord of good food, the bustling city of Kagoshima, located on the southwestern tip of Kyushu, offers visitors plenty of reasons to keep coming back. Here are four compelling reasons to add this underrated city to your list of destinations to visit. Plus, know what to do, where to go, and where to eat in this beautiful seaside city.
Unique gastronomic adventure
Also known as "Satsuma cuisine" after the old name of Kagoshima Prefecture, the food here is quite different from elsewhere in Japan but is no less delicious. Noteworthy dishes include torisashi (chicken sashimi), where fresh chicken is served with minced ginger and sweet shoyu, and satsumaage (where fish such as bonito or mackerel is mashed into a paste and deep-fried into a fish cake). Other must-try items include Satsuma beef, known for its intense marbling and melt-in-your-mouth texture, and the prized Kurobuta and Kuroushi pork. Get a taste of these mouthwatering delights at Kagomma Furusato Yataimura, a cluster of casual dining establishments serving the best of Satsuma cuisine.
Historic gardens and storied homes
The Sengan-en Gardens were built in 1658 as a villa for the Shimadzu family. The Shimadzu clan ruled over the Satsuma Domain since the 1600s, and the visionary Lord Nariakira Shimadzu is largely credited for paving the way for the industrialisation of Japan. In this spot, you will be greeted with immaculately manicured grounds with sweeping views of Mt. Sakurajima and Kagoshima Bay. You can also avail of a guided tour of the Shimadzu family’s beautifully preserved residence to learn more about its history.