Shotengai (traditional shopping arcades) are the veins that run through the cities of Japan. Bastions of independent businesses and arteries of the communities they serve, shotengai play a crucial role in local areas around the country. In Kagoshima the main and most renowned shotengai is Tenmonkan which is named after an astronomical observatory (tenmon) which used to be located there in Edo times. There are a plethora of small, independent boutiques, chain stores, cafes, restaurants, and local specialty stores perfect for picking up some unique souvenirs.
Bustling, engaging, and atmospheric, Tenmonkan is a must-visit for guests looking for something local and to find products and experiences that you can't find in big cities. The area of Tenmonkan is also known for being a central location regarding accommodation with several hotel chains and independent operators based here.
The Ohara festival happens every year, on the 2nd & 3rd of November. Citizens of the whole city gather and just dance on the tramway. The festival started in 1949 after the war, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Kagoshima City. It is the biggest festival in southern Kyushu.
With such proximity to the sea, it comes as no surprise that Kagoshima has its own aquarium. Located near Sakurajima Ferry Terminal and the Dolphin Port complex in Kagoshima City this seven-floor aquarium has been welcoming locals and visitors alike since opening in 1997. With a focus on local marine life, Kagoshima City Aquarium is known for its legendary Kuroshio Tank, a massive and comprehensive display of sea creatures and sea life from the Kuroshio Current which passes by Kyushu and includes specimens such as rays and whale sharks. The aquarium’s distinctive architectural design and warm ambiance create a quirky and welcoming scene and it’s not a surprise, then, that it’s one of the city’s main tourist attractions. The space’s Dolphin Pool holds three dolphin shows each day and has become a huge hit over the years with tricks and fun aimed at families and couples who come to enjoy the spectacle.
One of Japan’s top cultural attractions, Nagashima Museum overlooks downtown Kagoshima and Kagoshima Bay area and reflects the country’s intrinsic relationship with both international and domestic art. With a multitude of gallery spaces, each devoted to a particular theme such as local art, western art, and collections from the New World, space is a bastion of culture on the island. Visitors flock from far and wide to peruse the vast array of world-class art on display including work by Rodin and Renoir. Opened in 1989 Nagashima Museum, a few points set it apart from other galleries in that some of the exhibits are shown in the museum grounds which are quite extensive. Subtropical trees and nature populate the outdoor spaces and can be a pleasant way of experiencing some air after spending hours in the indoor gallery spaces. The former name of Kagoshima was Satsuma with the island being known for its exquisite porcelain satsuma-ware ceramics. Gallery 5 is devoted to local ceramics and is a prime example of the stunning and idiosyncratic art which came from local areas of Japan in the Edo and Meiji eras. It’s a beautiful museum and the views are equally as stunning. It’s not often that art lovers can experience incredible views of a small island and witness awesome of the world’s best art exhibits at the same time.
Sengan-en (仙巌園) is Kagoshima's renowned Edo-era stroll garden, situated in the northern part of the city. Once the home of the ruling Shimazu family, the garden relies heavily on the surrounding landscape to create the effect of 'borrowed scenery".