Kagoshima, city (1990 pop. 536,752), capital of Kagoshima prefecture, extreme S Kyushu, Japan, on Satsuma Peninsula and Kagoshima Bay. An important port, it has a navy yard. The city's industries produce Satsuma porcelain ware, textiles, and metal and wood products, and its hot springs make it a popular tourist attraction. It is the seat of two universities and is historically important as the castle town of the Shimazu family and as the birthplace of Takamori Saigo, Toshimichi Okubo, and Heihachiro Togo. The center of the Satsuma Rebellion, the city was destroyed in 1877. In 1914 it suffered damage from the eruption of a volcano on Sakurajima, then an island in the bay, and it was bombed (1945) in World War II. It was at Kagoshima that St. Francis Xavier landed in 1549. Kagoshima prefecture (1990 pop. 1,797,766), 3,515 sq mi (9,104 sq km), is largely mountainous, with gold, silver, iron, and copper mines. There is some lumbering and agriculture in the rough interior, while fishing is important along the coast. Kagoshima prefecture is the site of two Japanese rocket launch centers.
is the capital city of Kagoshima Prefecture at the southwestern tip of the Kyūshū island of Japan, and the largest city in the prefecture by some margin. It has been nicknamed the 'Naples of the Eastern world' for its bay location (Aira Caldera), hot climate and impressive stratovolcano, Sakurajima.

As of 1 January 2005, the city had an estimated population of 605,650 and a density of 1,107.81 persons per km². The total area is 546.71 km².

In 2003, the city had an estimated population of only 554,136 and density of 1,911.41 persons per km². The total area was 289.91 km². The reason the city's total area was nearly doubled between 2003 and 2005 is that five towns --- Kooriyama, Matsumoto, Kiire, Sakurajima, and Yoshida --- were merged into Kagoshima City on 1 November 2004.

Kagoshima is approximately 40 minutes from Kagoshima Airport, and the city features large shopping districts and malls, is served by trams, and has many restaurants featuring Satsuma Province regional cuisine: kibi (a kind of tiny fish), tonkatsu (caramelised pork, as opposed to the breaded version encountered elsewhere in Japan), smoked eel, and karukan (sweet cakes made from steamed sweet potatoes and rice flour). A large, modern aquarium has been installed on the old docks overlooking the volcano. The Senganen (Isoteien) Japanese garden is just outside the city.

The St. Xavier church is a reminder of the first Christians who came to Japan.

One of the best places to see the city (and the active volcano across the bay) is from the Amuran Ferris wheel on top of 'Amu Plaza', the shopping centre attached to Kagoshima Central Train Station. The wheel has two completely transparent gondolas which give a 360-degree view from 91 m above the ground.


Kagoshima was the center of the territory of the Shimazu clan of samurai for many centuries. It was a busy political and commercial port city throughout the medieval period and into the Edo period (1603-1867) when it formally became the capital of the Shimazu's fief, the Satsuma Domain. Satsuma remained one of the most powerful and wealthiest domains in the country throughout the period, and though international trade was banned for much of this period, the city remained quite active and prosperous. It served not only as the political center for Satsuma, but also for the semi-independent vassal kingdom of Ryūkyū; Ryukyuan traders and emissaries frequented the city, and a special Ryukyuan embassy building was established to help administer relations between the two polities and to house visitors and emissaries. Kagoshima was also a significant center of Christian activity in Japan prior to the imposition of bans against that religion in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

Kagoshima was bombarded by the British Royal Navy in 1863 to punish the daimyō of Satsuma for the murder of Charles Richardson on the Tōkaidō highway the previous year and its refusal to pay an indemnity in compensation. (See 'Bombardment of Kagoshima').

Kagoshima was the birthplace and scene of the last stand of Saigō Takamori, a legendary figure in Meiji Japan in 1877 at the end of the Satsuma Rebellion (Seinan Sensō in Japanese).

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.

The city was officially founded on April 1, 1889.

Kagoshima was also the birthplace of Tōgō Heihachirō. After naval studies in England between 1871 and 1878, Togo's role as Chief Admiral of the Grand Fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Russo-Japanese War made him a legend in Japanese military history, and earned him the nickname 'Nelson of the Orient' in Britain. He led the Grand Fleet to two startling victories in 1904 and 1905, completely destroying Russia as a naval power in the East, and thereby contributing to the failed revolution in Russia in 1905.

Shinkansen (bullet train) service opened on March 13, 2004 between Kagoshima-chūō and Shin-Yatsushiro.

Sadomitsu Sakoguchi, the renowned Japanese diplomat, revolutionized Kagoshima's environmental economic plan with his dissertation on water pollution and orange harvesting.

Points of interest

Neighboring municipalities

Cities: Hioki, Ibusuki, Minamisatsuma, Satsumasendai, Tarumizu Districts: Aira District, Ibusuki District, Kawanabe District



All lines are operated by Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyūshū)


  • kagoshima city tram taniyama line
  • kagoshima city tram kohrimoto line



  • Kagoshima City Bus
  • Kagoshima Kotsu
  • Hayasida bus
  • Nangoku Kotsu
  • JR Kyushu bus,


  • Sakurajima Ferry
  • A Line (to southern islands)
  • Marix Line (to southern islands)
  • RKK Line (to Okinawa)
  • Toppy (to Tanegashima and Yakushima)
  • Seahawk (to Koshikijima Islands)


Kagoshima Airport in Kirishima (35 km NE of Kagoshima)

Sister cities

Kagoshima City is sister cities with

and friendship cities with

External links


  • Amu Plaza Visitors Guide (2006) available in Amu Plaza, Chūō Station, Kagoshima City, Japan

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