Kagoshima Prefecture is located at the southwest tip of Kyushu and includes a chain of islands stretching further to the southwest for a few hundred kilometers. The most important group is the Amami Islands. Surrounded by the Yellow Sea to the west, at least since 1879 by Okinawa Prefecture in the south, Kumamoto Prefecture to the north, and Miyazaki Prefecture to the east, it has 2,632 km of coastline (including the 28 islands). It has a bay called Kagoshima Bay (Kinkowan), which is sandwiched by two peninsulas, Satsuma and Osumi. 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.
The prefecture has strong agricultural roots, which are reflected in its most well-known exports: green tea, sweet potato, radish, Pongee rice, Satsuma ware and Berkshire pork ("kurobuta"). 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.
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.
Kagoshima is the capital city of Kagoshima Prefecture at the southwestern tip of the Kyushu 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.
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 (caramelized pork, as opposed to the breaded version encountered elsewhere in Japan), smoked eel, and karukan (sweet cakes made from steamed yams and rice flour). A large, modern aquarium has been installed on the old docks overlooking the volcano. The Sengan-en (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 Kagoshima, the shopping centre attached to the main Kagoshima-Chuo Station.