Are you looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination in Japan that combines stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and mouthwatering food? Look no further than Miyazaki! This charming coastal city, located on the island of Kyushu, offers plenty of exciting activities for visitors of all ages and interests. Here are our top 10 picks:
Explore Miyazaki’s Natural Wonders
One of the biggest draws of Miyazaki is its breathtaking natural landscapes, which range from misty mountains to secluded beaches. Make sure to add the following sites to your itinerary:
Amano Iwato Shrine and Takachiho Gorge
Legend has it that the sun goddess Amaterasu hid in a cave in Amano Iwato Shrine, plunging the world into darkness. Visit this sacred site to see the cave for yourself and walk along the scenic Takachiho Gorge, a narrow canyon formed by the Gokase River.
As you walk along the Takachiho Gorge, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery and towering cliffs. The sound of the river rushing through the canyon is both calming and invigorating, and you may even spot some local wildlife, such as monkeys and deer.
Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park
If you’re a nature lover, you won’t want to miss Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park, a vast area of forests, hot springs, and volcanic craters. Hike to the top of Mount Kirishima, a dormant volcano that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
As you hike through the park, you’ll be surrounded by towering trees and the sweet scent of blooming flowers. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some of the park’s resident wildlife, such as black bears and wild boars.
Cape Toi and its Wild Horses
Animal lovers, rejoice! Cape Toi, located at the southernmost tip of Miyazaki, is home to a group of wild horses that roam freely on the beach. Take a stroll on the sand and observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
As you walk along the beach, you’ll feel the warm sand between your toes and the salty sea breeze on your face. The sight of the wild horses galloping along the shore is truly a sight to behold, and you’ll feel a sense of awe and wonder at the beauty of nature.
Overall, Miyazaki’s natural wonders are truly a sight to behold. From misty mountains to secluded beaches, this region of Japan offers something for every nature lover. So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to explore the stunning landscapes of Miyazaki.
Immerse Yourself in Japanese Culture
Miyazaki, located on the eastern coast of Kyushu Island, is a city that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural richness. Its pristine beaches, lush forests, and volcanic mountains make it a paradise for nature lovers. The city is also home to several historical sites that reflect its strong ties to Japan’s past.
Miyazaki Jingu Shrine
Miyazaki Jingu Shrine is a sprawling complex of Shinto shrines and gardens that is dedicated to Emperor Jimmu, the first emperor of Japan. The shrine’s architecture is a perfect blend of traditional Japanese wooden design and modern construction techniques. The intricate wooden carvings, brightly colored lanterns, and beautifully landscaped gardens make it a must-visit destination for tourists.
While at the shrine, make sure to participate in a traditional purification ritual. The ritual involves washing your hands and mouth with water from a sacred spring and bowing in front of the shrine. It is believed that the ritual will cleanse your body and soul, and bring good luck and prosperity.
Udo Jingu Shrine
Located in a cave overlooking the ocean, Udo Jingu Shrine is a unique destination that honors the goddess of fertility and childbirth. The cave is said to have been created by a dragon that was tamed by the goddess. The shrine’s architecture is simple yet elegant, and the sea view from the cave is breathtaking.
It is believed that drinking water from the shrine’s sacred spring will bring good luck and health. The spring water is said to have healing properties and is considered to be one of the purest sources of water in Japan.
Heiwadai Park and Peace Tower
If you’re looking for a tranquil escape from the bustling city, head to Heiwadai Park. The park is a serene green space dotted with cherry blossom trees, ponds, and walking trails. It is a popular spot for picnics, jogging, and bird watching.
At the center of the park stands the Peace Tower, a towering monument that commemorates the end of World War II. The tower is made of white marble and stands at a height of 37 meters. It is engraved with the names of the war victims and a message of peace. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower and enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
Overall, Miyazaki is a city that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, nature, or simply want to relax and unwind, Miyazaki is the perfect destination for you.
Enjoy Local Cuisine and Shopping
No trip to Miyazaki would be complete without trying its signature dishes and browsing its unique shopping districts. Here are some recommendations:
Miyazaki’s Famous Chicken Nanban
Chicken Nanban is a must-try dish in Miyazaki, featuring succulent fried chicken topped with a sweet and sour sauce. The dish originated in Miyazaki and has since become a staple in Japanese cuisine. The chicken is first marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar, then coated in flour and deep-fried to perfection. The result is a crispy exterior with tender, juicy meat inside. Head to one of the many local restaurants to savor this delectable treat.
One of the best places to try Chicken Nanban is at a restaurant called Obi. The restaurant has been serving the dish for over 60 years and is known for its generous portions and mouth-watering flavor. The dish is often served with a side of tartar sauce and a sprinkle of green onions.
Mango and Fruit Picking
Miyazaki is known for its high-quality fruits, including juicy mangoes and flavorful persimmons. Take a tour of a local fruit orchard and indulge in some fresh-picked produce. The fruit-picking season in Miyazaki starts in June and lasts until October. During this time, visitors can pick their own fruit and enjoy the sweet and juicy flavors straight from the tree.
One of the best places to go fruit picking is at the Aoshima Subtropical Botanical Garden. The garden has over 1,500 fruit trees, including mangoes, persimmons, and citrus fruits. Visitors can take a guided tour of the orchard and learn about the different types of fruit grown in Miyazaki. After the tour, visitors can enjoy a picnic under the shade of the fruit trees.
Tachibana Street Shopping District
For a truly unique shopping experience, check out Tachibana Street Shopping District, a vibrant alleyway lined with colorful storefronts selling everything from handmade pottery to vintage clothing. The district is located in the heart of Miyazaki City and is a popular spot for both locals and tourists.
One of the most popular stores in the district is a shop called “Kogeikan.” The shop sells traditional Japanese pottery and ceramics, including tea sets, vases, and plates. The pottery is made by local artisans and is known for its intricate designs and high quality. Visitors can watch the artisans at work and even try their hand at making their own pottery.
Another popular store in the district is a vintage clothing shop called “Rags.” The shop sells a variety of vintage clothing and accessories, including dresses, jackets, and hats. The clothing is sourced from all over the world and is carefully curated to ensure high quality and unique style.
Don’t forget to snag some souvenirs! The shopping district is filled with shops selling local crafts and goods, including Miyazaki’s famous “Shochu” liquor and “Aoshima” tea.
Relax at Beautiful Beaches and Hot Springs
Last but not least, unwind at Miyazaki’s pristine beaches and rejuvenating hot springs. Here are some of the best spots:
Aoshima Island and Beach
Hop on a ferry to Aoshima Island, a small paradise off Miyazaki’s coast that is home to stunning rock formations, a picturesque Shinto shrine, and a secluded beach perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
As you approach the island, you’ll be greeted by the sight of the famous Aoshima rock formations. These stunning natural structures, formed over millions of years, are a must-see for anyone visiting Miyazaki. After taking in the view, head to the Shinto shrine on the island. Dedicated to the goddess of the sea, the shrine is a peaceful and spiritual place that offers a glimpse into Japan’s rich cultural heritage.
Once you’ve explored the shrine, it’s time to hit the beach. With crystal-clear water and soft, white sand, Aoshima Beach is the perfect place to relax and soak up some sun. Take a dip in the refreshing water or rent a paddleboard and explore the coastline from a different perspective.
The Nichinan Coastline is a scenic drive that offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and windswept cliffs. Stop at one of the many lookout points along the way to snap some photos.
As you drive along the coastline, you’ll pass by charming fishing villages and traditional Japanese houses. Keep an eye out for the famous Udo Shrine, a Shinto shrine built into the side of a cliff. Legend has it that the water from the spring at the shrine has healing powers, so be sure to take a sip!
For a truly unique experience, book a boat tour along the coastline. You’ll get up-close-and-personal with the rugged cliffs and maybe even spot some dolphins or sea turtles in the water.
Seagaia Ocean Dome and Phoenix Seagaia Resort
Looking to kick back and relax? Head to Seagaia Ocean Dome, a massive indoor water park that boasts waves as high as six feet. With a retractable roof that allows natural sunlight to filter in, it feels like you’re at the beach even when you’re indoors.
If you’re in the mood for something more relaxing, treat yourself to a luxurious spa treatment at Phoenix Seagaia Resort, a five-star hotel with stunning ocean views. From massages to facials to body wraps, the spa offers a wide range of treatments that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
After your spa treatment, take a stroll through the hotel’s beautiful gardens and admire the stunning views of the ocean. If you’re feeling adventurous, book a round of golf at one of the resort’s two championship courses.
With so much to see and do in Miyazaki, you’ll never want to leave. Start planning your perfect trip today!