Kagoshima Prefecture

Kagoshima Prefecture (鹿児島県, Kagoshima-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Kyushu and the Ryukyu Islands.[1] Kagoshima Prefecture has a population of 1,599,779 (1 January 2020) and has a geographic area of 9,187 km2 (3,547 sq mi). Kagoshima Prefecture borders Kumamoto Prefecture to the north and Miyazaki Prefecture to the northeast.

Kagoshima Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture and the active volcano Sakurajima
Anthem: Kagoshima kenmin no uta
Country Japan
SubdivisionsDistricts: 8, Municipalities: 43
  GovernorKōichi Shiota
  Total9,187.01 km2 (3,547.12 sq mi)
 (September 1, 2022)
  Density170/km2 (440/sq mi)
ISO 3166 codeJP-46
BirdLidth's jay (Garrulus lidthi)
FlowerMiyamakirishima (Rhododendron kiusianum)
TreeCamphor laurel
(Cinnamomum camphora)

Kagoshima is the capital and largest city of Kagoshima Prefecture, with other major cities including Kirishima, Kanoya, and Satsumasendai.[2] Kagoshima Prefecture is located at the southernmost point of Kyūshū and includes the Satsunan Islands group of the Ryukyu Islands. Kagoshima Prefecture's mainland territory extends from the Ariake Sea to Shibushi Bay on the Pacific Ocean coast, and is characterized by two large peninsulas created by Kagoshima Bay. Kagoshima Prefecture formed the core of the Satsuma Domain, ruled from Kagoshima Castle, one of the most important Japanese domains of the Edo period and the Meiji Restoration.


Kagoshima Prefecture corresponds to the ancient Japanese provinces Ōsumi and Satsuma, including the northern part of the Ryukyu Islands (Satsunan).[3] This region played a key role in the Meiji Restoration (Saigō Takamori), and the city of Kagoshima was an important naval base during Japan's 20th century wars and the home of admiral Tōgō Heihachirō. More recent incidents are the sinking of a North Korean spy ship (100 ton class) in 2001 by the Coast Guard, which was later salvaged and exhibited in Tokyo, and the abduction of an office clerk from a Kagoshima beach in 1978 by agents from the same country. This became known only recently under the Koizumi administration.


The two main ethnic groups of Kagoshima Prefecture are the Japanese and the Ryukyuans (Amami Islands).


Kagoshima Prefecture is located at the southwest tip of Kyushu on the Satsuma Peninsula and Ōsumi Peninsula. This prefecture also includes a chain of islands stretching further to the southwest of Kyushu for a few hundred kilometers. The most important group is the Amami Islands. Surrounded by the East China Sea to the west, Okinawa Prefecture in the south, Kumamoto Prefecture to the north, and Miyazaki Prefecture to the east, it has 2,632 km (1,635 mi) of coastline (including the 28 islands). It has a bay called Kagoshima Bay (Kinkowan), which is sandwiched by two peninsulas, Satsuma and Ōsumi. Its position made it a 'gateway' to Japan at various times in history. While Kyushu has about 13 million people, there are less than 2 million in this prefecture.

The prefecture boasts a chain of active and dormant volcanoes, including the great Sakurajima, which towers out of the Kagoshima bay opposite Kagoshima city. A steady trickle of smoke and ash emerges from the caldera, punctuated by louder mini-eruptions on an almost daily basis. On active days in Kagoshima city an umbrella is advisable to ward off the ash. Sakurajima is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. Major eruptions occurred in 1914, when the island mountain spilled enough material to become permanently connected to the mainland, and a lesser eruption in 1960. Volcanic materials in the soil make Sakurajima a source for record daikon radishes, roughly the size of a basketball. Many beaches around the Kagoshima Bay are littered with well-worn pumice stones. A crater lake in the southwestern tip of the prefecture, near the spa town of Ibusuki, is home to a rare species of giant eel.

As of 31 March 2019, 13% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Amami Guntō, Kirishima-Kinkowan, Unzen-Amakusa, and Yakushima National Parks; Koshikishima and Nichinan Kaigan Quasi-National Parks; and Akune, Bōnoma, Fukiagehama, Imutaike, Ōsumi Nanbu, Sendaigawa Ryūiki, Takakumayama, and Tokara Rettō Prefectural Natural Parks.[4][5]


Most of the economic sector is focused in Kagoshima City and the surrounding area, corresponding to the extent of the former Satsuma Province. The eastern part of the prefecture, the former Ōsumi Province, is mostly rural and shows a general population decline.

The prefecture has strong agricultural roots, which are reflected in its most well-known exports: green tea, sweet potato, radish, Pongee rice, Satsuma ware, Berkshire pork ("kurobuta") and local Black Wagyu beef. Kagoshima prefecture's production of bonito flakes is second only to that of Shizuoka. In addition, it produces Japan's largest volume of unagi eels. Kagoshima is also largest beef and pork producing prefecture in Japan.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has several facilities within the prefecture, including the country's main launch facility on Tanegashima and the Uchinoura Space Center.

The prefecture's gross domestic product is approximately 5,548.7 trillion yen, with a work force of about 791,000 people (2018)[6]


Map of Kagoshima Prefecture
     City      Town      Village

The following is a list of Kagoshima Prefecture's cities, and its administrative districts with their constituent towns and villages:


Kagoshima from space
Sakurajima and Kagoshima City
Amami City

Nineteen cities are located in Kagoshima Prefecture:

Name Area (km2) Population Map
Rōmaji Kanji
Aira 姶良市 231.32 75,665
Akune 阿久根市 134.3 23,887
Amami 奄美市 308.15 42,718
Hioki 日置市 253.06 51,819
Ibusuki 指宿市 149.01 43,931
Ichikikushikino いちき串木野市 112.04 30,551
Isa 伊佐市 392.36 30,070
Izumi 出水市 330.06 56,205
Kagoshima (capital) 鹿児島市 547.58 595,049
Kanoya 鹿屋市 448.33 104,148
Kirishima 霧島市 603.18 124,763
Makurazaki 枕崎市 74.88 21,960
Minamikyūshū 南九州市 357.85 39,738
Minamisatsuma 南さつま市 283.3 39,012
Nishinoomote 西之表市 205.75 16,418
Satsumasendai 薩摩川内市 683.5 96,411
Shibushi 志布志市 209.01 33,724
Soo 曽於市 390.39 37,038
Tarumizu 垂水市 161.86 14,847


These are the towns and villages in each district:

Name Area (km2) Population District

[subprefecture (if any)]

Type Map
Rōmaji Kanji
Amagi 天城町 80.35 6,350 Ōshima District

[Ōshima Subprefecture]

China 知名町 53.29 5,976 Ōshima District

[Ōshima Subprefecture]

Higashikushira 東串良町 27.69 7,122 Kimotsuki District Town
Isen 伊仙町 62.7 6,594 Ōshima District

[Ōshima Subprefecture]

Kikai 喜界町 56.94 7,657 Ōshima District

[Ōshima Subprefecture]

Kimotsuki 肝付町 308.12 15,169 Kimotsuki District Town
Kinkō 錦江町 163.15 9,328 Kimotsuki District Town
Minamiōsumi 南大隅町 213.59 7,646 Kimotsuki District Town
Minamitane 南種子町 110.4 5,925 Kumage District

[Kumage Subprefecture]

Mishima 三島村 31.36 383 Kagoshima District Village
Nagashima 長島町 116.13 10,124 Izumi District Town
Nakatane 中種子町 137.78 8,439 Kumage District

[Kumage Subprefecture]

Ōsaki 大崎町 100.82 13,488 Soo District Town
Satsuma さつま町 303.43 23,842 Satsuma District Town
Setouchi 瀬戸内町 239.92 9,379 Ōshima District

[Ōshima Subprefecture]

Tatsugō 龍郷町 82.08 5,992 Ōshima District

[Ōshima Subprefecture]

Tokunoshima 徳之島町 104.87 11,673 Ōshima District

[Ōshima Subprefecture]

Toshima 十島村 101.35 688 Kagoshima District Village
Uken 宇検村 103.07 1,843 Ōshima District

[Ōshima Subprefecture]

Wadomari 和泊町 40.37 6,929 Ōshima District

[Ōshima Subprefecture]

Yakushima 屋久島町 540.98 13,486 Kumage District

[Kumage Subprefecture]

Yamato 大和村 88.15 1,638 Ōshima District

[Ōshima Subprefecture]

Yoron 与論町 20.49 5,263 Ōshima District

[Ōshima Subprefecture]

Yūsui 湧水町 144.33 12,220 Aira District Town



Kagoshima Prefecture has a distinct and rich food culture. The warm weather and diverse environments allow for the agriculture and aquaculture of Kagoshima to thrive. Numerous restaurants around Kagoshima feature Satsuma Province local cuisine. Popular cuisine incorporating local agriculture include sweet potato, kibinago sashimi (silver-striped herring), buri amberjack, kampachi yellowtail, "Black Label Products" such as kuro-ushi Wagyu beef, kuro-buta Berkshire pork dishes, and kuro-Satsuma jidori chicken (sometimes served as raw, chicken sashimi); smoked eel, keihan, and miki (fermented rice milk consumed among residents of the Amami Islands).


Satsuma-age, or deep-fried fish cake, comes in great variety in Kagoshima. Though the deep-fried fishcake can be found throughout the country, the Satsuma Domain (modern-day Kagoshima Prefecture) is commonly believed to be the birthplace of the snack. It is said, though, the concept was introduced from the Ryūkyū Kingdom (modern-day Okinawa Prefecture) by Satsuma Lord, Nariakira Shimazu.


There are many types of sweets produced in Kagoshima Prefecture. Kagoshima-based Seika Foods Co., Ltd. (Seika shokuhin kabushiki-kaisha) has produced some of Japan's most popular and timeless sweets such as hyōroku mochi Bontan Ame (ボンタンアメ), Satsuma Imo Caramel (さつまいもキャラメル), and green tea-flavored Hyōroku mochi, Minami "shirokuma" shaved ice desserts, etc. Traditional treats outside of Seika Food Co., Ltd. products include karukan (sweet cakes made from steamed yams and rice flour), jambo-mochi, kokutō brown sugar from the Amami Islands, getanha brown sugar cake, etc.


In 1559, at Kōriyama Hachiman Shrine (郡山八幡神社) in Isa City (伊佐市) a carpenter wrote atop a wooden board "the Shintō Priest of this shrine is too stingy to offer me Shōchū (焼酎) showing an early love for the spirits. Kagoshima Prefecture is officially recognized (by the World Trade Organization) as the home to one of the most traditional beverages of Japan, shōchū. In Kagoshima there are 113+ distilleries, producing about 1,500 highly acclaimed brands, placing Kagoshima in the top for production quantity and shipment. While visiting Kagoshima, one may notice labels reading Honkaku-shōchū (本格焼酎). Honkaku-shōchū is a distilled beverage produced with traditional skills using ingredients such as natural spring water, sweet potatoes, locally grown sugar cane, and grains. Varieties of honkaku-shōchū include Imo-jōchū (芋焼酎), shōchū distilled from sweet potatoes, Mugi-jōchū (麦焼酎), distilled from barley, and Kome-jōchū (米焼酎) distilled from rice. Another type of shōchū is Kokutō-shōchū (黒糖焼酎), shōchū distilled with brown sugar). Shōchū has long gained international favor and has come to be comparable to Bordeaux for wine, Scotch for whiskey, and Cognac for brandy. Also, the Amami Islands of Kagoshima Prefecture are the only areas sanctioned to bear the label of kokutō-shōchū.

Kurozu (黒酢) or black vinegar is another item of the "Black Label Products" of Kagoshima, the other of which is Kokutō-shōchū. There are a number of kurozu farms around Kagoshima, most of which are located around the Kirishima area. Most kurozu farms produce kurozu bottled vinegar (fermented for a single year, 2+ years) along with other items such as salad dressing, powders, capsules, spices, candy, etc. Kurozu also comes in different flavors such as grape, orange, ume plum, etc. though the most popular flavor by far is apple. The farms are open to visitations and often offer tours.


Today, Kagoshima is home to a distinctive dialect of Japanese known as Satsugū dialect (薩隅方言, Satsugū Hōgen) or Kagoshima dialect (鹿児島弁, Kagoshima-ben, or Kagomma-ben), differing from the usual Kyushu dialects with its pronunciations of the yotsugana.

For the most part, Satsugū dialect is mutually unintelligible with Standard Japanese,[7] though most Satsugū speakers know both as a result of language standardization in Japan.

Sport and recreation

Shiranami Stadium.

Kagoshima Rebnise, a professional basketball team, was founded in 2003 and currently competes in the second division of the national B.League. Kagoshima United FC, a soccer team, was founded in 2014 and competes in the J3 League. Although no major professional baseball teams are based in the prefecture, a number of Kagoshima's ballparks have hosted the spring training camps of Nippon Professional Baseball teams:

The Kirishima-Yaku National Park is located in Kagoshima Prefecture.


Universities and colleges

  • Kagoshima University
  • National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya
  • The International University of Kagoshima
  • Kagoshima Immaculate Heart University
  • Daiichi Institute of Technology
  • Shigakukan University
  • Kagoshima Prefectural College
  • Kagoshima Immaculate Heart College
  • Kagoshima Women's Junior College
  • Daiichi Junior College of Infant Education

Science and technology facilities


  • Bansei Tokkō Peace Museum
  • Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots
  • Museum of the Meiji Restoration
  • Reimeikan, Kagoshima Prefectural Center for Historical Material
  • Uenohara site


Kagoshima-Chuo Station
Kagoshima City Tram



  • Kagoshima City Tram

Expressways and toll roads

National Highways



Notable people

Mythical creatures

Sister relations

See also


  1. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Kagoshima prefecture" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 447, p. 447, at Google Books.
  2. Nussbaum, "Kagoshima prefecture" at p. 447, p. 447, at Google Books.
  3. Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" at p. 780, p. 780, at Google Books.
  4. 自然公園都道府県別面積総括 [General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture] (PDF) (in Japanese). Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  5. 自然公園 [Natural Parks] (in Japanese). Kagoshima Prefecture. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  6. "Data | Investment Opportunities in Japan's Regions - Investing in Japan - Japan External Trade Organization".
  7. Okumura, Nao (July 26, 2016). "Japanese Dialect Ideology from Meiji to the Present". Portland State University. p. 9.


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