A special nature spot where visitors can feel the seasonal change of Kagoshima, its history and culture-1

A special nature spot where visitors can feel the seasonal change of Kagoshima, its history and culture

Kagoshima City is a very rare example in the world in that the urban area where about 600,000 people live is located close to an active volcano. Visitors will find many different sorts of establishments in and around Tenmonkan shopping arcade, which is probably the most bustling street in southern Kyushu. There are lots of restaurants and a direct sales store selling the local products from everywhere in Kagoshima Prefecture including the remote islands. Development projects are making progress in the area around Kagoshima Chuo Station, which is the terminal station of Kyushu Shinkansen, providing visitors a wider selection of restaurants and stores.

About a 20-minute ride on the JR from Kagoshima Chuo Station to the south and about a 10-minute walk will bring visitors to an entirely different landscape. Jigenji Park is a place of recreation and relaxation for the locals especially because the landscape changes greatly from season to season.

The Jigenji temple was destroyed more than 150 years ago, but its history extends back more than 1,300 years in time. The stone Buddha statue remaining undestroyed on the grounds helps us imagine what the temple looked like in the past when it was standing grandly.

Another attraction here is local cuisine Somen-nagashi noodles which has been patronized by the locals for more than 50 years. This style of noodle is served from around March to October. Customers gather around a large Somen-nagashi noodles machine, catch with chopsticks the noodles chilled by underground water, dip the noodles in the special dipping sauce containing rich bonito/kelp broth. It is said that this is the kind of experience of Japanese cuisine enjoyable for ages starting from the very young to the elderly, all of whom may enjoy the festive atmosphere even though they are not good at using chopsticks. Also served are rice balls and hot dishes such as Koi Carp Miso Soup, salt-grilled trout, charcoal grilled chicken and “jambo mochi”.

Please listen to the murmur of a brook, feel the fresh breeze blowing, once in a while, and enjoy the dishes which please all your five senses.

Go back one station from Jigenji Station in the direction of the urban area and walk a little more than 10 minutes, and you will find Amami no Sato, a theme park where visitors can feel the spirit of the local nature, culture and life style of Amamioshima Island, one of the remote islands of Kagoshima.

Visitors are welcome to take a look at mud dyeing, a dyeing method unique to Amami, and genuine Oshima silk pongee, a traditional craft which requires high levels of weaving technique. You can also wear a kimono and enjoy a photo session in a beautiful Japanese garden. It is also recommended to try vegetable dyeing, weaving or braid-making and bring home the work you make as a travel souvenir. Various goods are also available at reasonable prices.

Various goods are also available at reasonable prices. Next to the garden are a restaurant, tropical terrace and lounge where you can enjoy Amami’s local cuisine such as “chicken rice”, a bowl of rice with a variety of ingredients placed on top of it and on which slowly cooked chicken soup is poured. Coffee and alcoholic beverages are also served, so you can relax into the night.

If you are a morning person, it is recommended to stay near Tenmonkan and wake up early the next morning to take a stroll to Shiroyama Observatory. See the grand vista of the sun rising from behind Sakurajima and join the locals and mimic the traditional body movements in the radio gymnastic exercise starting at 6:20 every morning. It will become the kind of memory you will treasure for a long time.

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