Welcome to the TABITTO's blog "VISIT KAGOSHIMA". This article series will be dedicated to sharing the unique and abundant qualities of Kagoshima.
First, you may ask, what or where is Kagoshima? Kagoshima is the southernmost prefecture of mainland Japan. It is Japan’s 10th largest prefecture by land (9,187 km2, 3,500 mi2) and 24th largest by population (1.6 million). Kagoshima has so many great features that it is difficult to find a main characteristic to promote. It is very strong agriculturally (2nd largest in Japan) which can be seen in the influence gourmet has on the local culture. Historically, Kagoshima has been one of the strongest areas throughout Japan, especially during the Meiji Restoration and industrialization of Japan. The geography is also a key element creating many opportunities for outdoor activities. There are plenty more features of Kagoshima, but for our first issue, I would like to briefly introduce these three points.
Sakurajima Volcano, the symbol of Kagoshima, is an active volcano that towers over the city of Kagoshima and its 600,000 population. Being very volcanic, Kagoshima has many mountains such as the Kirishima Mountain Range and Mt Kaimon, known as the Satsuma Fuji. Kinko Bay (Kagoshima Bay), was also created when the large Aira Caldera erupted creating a sinkhole filled by sea water. Kagoshima is also home to some of the best onsen hot springs in Japan. Stretching 600km (370 miles) north to south, the climate is warm and various from subtropical to tropical.
Due to the volcanic activity in Kagoshima over thousands and thousands of years, the land has become very fertile. In addition to the warm climate, this has helped Kagoshima to become an agriculture powerhouse in Japan. Top products include green tea, sweet potatoes, meat, bonito fish flakes, citrus fruits, and a variety of vegetables. In quite an amazing feat, Kagoshima is the #1 producer of poultry and pork, while coming in at #2 for beef. In addition, highly valued wagyu cattle, such as Kobe Beef, are often bred in Kagoshima. The meat of Kagoshima is also very high quality. In fact, at the most recent Wagyu Olympics (Fall 2017), Kagoshima Beef was awarded the top ranking Wagyu beef in Japan.
The high production of agriculture, including rice, has helped the Satsuma Domain (Kagoshima) be very powerful throughout the last 800 years. The Shimadzu Family became rulers in the 13th century and continued to rule until the abandonment of the Han system in the late 1800s. Their progressive thinking is why Kagoshima was able to stay powerful for so long. Some of the unique systems utilized in Kagoshima included Tojousei (distributing power throughout the territory) and the Goju education system which formed the powerful bushi warrior spirit. From early on, Satsuma understood the importance of international trade and relations, even to the point of secretly trading while Japan was an isolated country by law, which led to Kagoshima playing a major role in the industrialization of Japan.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come in the VISIT KAGOSHIMA. Upcoming topics include autumn leaves, national parks, local gourmet, and more.
Author: Kagoshima Cameron