Sakurajima is an active stratovolcano and its activity still continues,
dropping large amounts of volcanic ash on the surroundings.
Kagoshima (鹿児島) is well-known for hot springs and its vicinity to an active volcano. It is the capital city of Kagoshima Prefecture (also known as the Satsuma Domain) at the south western tip of the island of Kyushu in Japan. It is always dubbed as “Naples of the Orient” due to bay location, hot climate and impressive volcano, Sakurajima. The said volcano is an active stratovolcano and its activity still continues, dropping large amounts of volcanic ash on the surroundings . Last year, I did also visit Naples of Italy but frankly speaking I could not see any resemblance of the two cities. There is no active volcano in Naples. The current population of Kagoshima is 1.6 million.
Unlike most places of Japan, historically Kagoshima has been influenced by China, Korea and South East Asia countries. It plays an important role in Japan’s history. Kagoshima was the birthplace and scene of the last stand of Saigō Takamori, a legendary figure in Meiji Era Japan in 1877 at the end of the Satsuma Rebellion.Saigo Takamori (1828-1877), Kido Takayoshi (1833-1877),and Oubo Toshimichi (1830-1878 )were the 3 major key figures in the Meiji Restoration.
Japan's industrial revolution is said to have started here, stimulated by the young students' train station. Seventeen young men of Satsuma broke the Tokugawa ban on foreign travel, traveling first to England and then the United States before returning to share the benefits of the best of Western science and technology. A statue was erected outside of the train station as a tribute to them.
We visited the following places in Kagoshima.
This is a Japanese style landscape garden along the coast of downtown Kagoshima. It is also known as Isoteian. The garden, built in the early Edo period(1603–1867),was originally a villa to the Shimadzu Family and is still maintained by descendants today. Outside the garden grounds is a Satsuma "kiriko" cut-glass factory where visitors are welcome to view the glass-blowing and glass-cutting process, and the Shoko Shuseikan Museum which was built in 1865 and registered as a National Historic Site in 1959. The former “Shuseikan” industrial complex and the former machine factory were submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage as part of a group list titled, “Modern Industrial Heritage Sites in Kyushu and Yamaguchi Prefecture”. One of the garden ‘s most striking feature is its use of Sakurajima and Kagoshima bay as borrowed scenery. Cherry blossom could be seen every corner of the garden. They were very beautiful and enchanted. My wife and I took quite a lot of the pictures under the cherry blossom tree. The garden also includes views over small ponds,streams,shrines and a bamboo grove.
Shiroyama Park, Kagoshima, Japan.
The Shiroyama Observatory is located within the Shiroyama Park. We took about 10 minutes walking tour to reach there. It was merely a place with spectacular views over the downtown of Kagoshima, Kagoshima Bay and the famous composite volcano, Sakurajima. In actual fact, we had seen such a beautiful scenery while visiting Sengan-en. We only took some pictures from the different angles of the entire scenery.
Terukuni Shrine, Kagoshima, Japan.
This is considered as the most important shrine in Kagoshima. Most of our friends did not want to go there. My wife and I were among a few visitors to visit the shrine. We were told that Terukuni Shrine was rebuilt in the final battle of the Satsuma Rebellion, “Saigo’s Last Stand”, but the existing buildings date back to the post World War II reconstruction following the US Air Raid damage. I think the most distinctive feature of the shrine is the huge tree pruned into the shape of a bird with outstretched wings. Unlike most of the old Japanese shrines, Terukuni Shrine is quite a modern one because it houses the statue of the 28th Lord of Satsuma, Shimazu Nariakira(1809-1858), and he lived until 1858.
Tenmonkan and Aeon Mall
Tenmonkan and Aeon Mall
Tenmonkan is one of Kagoshima’s main shopping, entertainment and accommodation districts. There are retail stores,boutiques, restaurants seling traditional Kagoshima food,café,and so on lining up along the Tenmonkan arcade. Aeon Mall is a supersize commercial establishment, with a floor area of 50,000 sqm and consists of 170 shops including fashion boutiques,sundry shops and restaurants.