Do you have a day or two in Kagoshima and wondering what to do?
After spending one full day in the city this is what I recommend for the best things to do in Kagoshima when you are there.
Kagoshima is a gateway city for getting the ferries for Japan’s southern islands and to explore the rest of Kyushu, but there are things to do in the surrounding area worth your time when there.
Kagoshima/Kyushu travel tip: Get a 3/5 Day JR All/North/South Kyushu Rail Pass (Japan Pick Up) for train travel all over Kyushu exclusive just for tourists!
Things To Do In Kagoshima In One Day
Without a doubt Sakurajima is the best thing you can do around Kagoshima.
It is still an active volcano and is in fact the most active in all of Japan.
It’s easiest to reach it by ferry from Kagoshima.
Heading across the sea to Sakurajima on the ferry from Kagoshima.
The inland part of Sakurajima is stunning.
There are a few hikes to do and highly recommended.
Entering the interior and getting closer to the volcano is the best place to get photos!
You can do short hikes to observation points to get the best views.
You can get around Sakurajima by local buses but they are somewhat irregular. The best option is to rent a car for the day in Kagoshima and take it across on the ferry, but if you can’t do that you can still see a decent amount of the area.
By the sea there are some quiet local onsen’s that you can find to relax in after hiking around.
You may even end up having one of the best onsen experiences in Japan if you end up in a small onsen by the sea all to yourself!
Quiet onsen by the sea on Sakurajima.
There’s not loads of things to do in Kagoshima city itself as far as I found.
But it was enjoyable just walking around for a few hours after coming back from Sakurajima and sampling some of the food.
There is a Japanese garden called Senganen Garden that you could visit if you don’t feel like going across to Sakurajima, although I didn’t visit myself as I spent most of the day on Sakurajima.
However I heard from other travellers it was a nice place to go.
Also if staying more around the city itself appeals to you and you’re interested in the local history then head to the Reimeikan Museum.
Maybe even combine the garden and the museum together.
Some Japanese sweet potatoes to try on the street.
There is a good park that’s located 100m up on a hill in Kagoshima with a great view across the city called Shiroyama Park (the cover photo was taken from there).
I went up there for sunset time and it was definitely worth it although you do have to pay to go in (weird for a park) which is around 2500 yen.
Still it’s the best view in the city and Sakurajima looms over everything in the distance.
View from Shiroyama Park at sunset.
After sunset just find a good spot for dinner. It’s best to figure out this yourself as there’s so many choices (as usual for a Japanese city).
I ended up in a big mall (where you can actually find some of the best food) and had some excellent sushi/sashimi.
Definitely try the sushi/sashima in Kagoshima if you like that sort of thing.
Japan travel tip: Take a Japan Rail Pass (get one with that link) to save money on train travel in Japan, especially on the fast Shinkansen.
That’s a rundown of what to do in Kagoshima if you have one day (or two days maybe if you’re going slow) which seems the average time for most visitors visiting from what I gathered from others.
Apart from Sakurajima it seems Kagoshima city itself is, like mentioned, at the beginning more of a gateway city to Kyushu and the islands south by ferry.
But it’s a nice place for 1-2 days if you have the time.
So yeah pretty much hit up Sakurajima and Shiroyama Park and grab a good dinner.
Looking for more places to go to in this part of Japan?
Then take a ferry from Kagoshima to Yakushima Island to go hiking in the forests where you can see some of the oldest trees on the planet, some dating back 7000 years.
Visit Kumamoto and learn about the last stand of the samurai.
Some of the best Onsen’s in Japan can be found on Kyushu.
Kagoshima travel tip: Get a 3/5 Day JR All/North/South Kyushu Rail Pass (Japan Pick Up) for train travel all over Kyushu exclusive just for tourists!
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