Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park spreads across Kagoshima Prefecture and Miyazaki Prefecture, encompassing three volcanic belts. Plumes of smoke rise over an expansive lava field. With its combination of mountains, water, and lush green vegetation, the park boasts diverse scenery and abundant hot springs. All of this awaits visitors in the center of Kagoshima Prefecture’s volcanic region Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park. Visitors can reach the area by bullet train from Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka to JR Kagoshima-chuo station. There are also regular flights to Kagoshima Airport.
Even among Japan’s largest national parks, none encompasses the more than 20 volcanoes, shimmering crater lakes, valleys, waterfalls, and diverse seasonal vegetation for a volcanic landscape that the Kirishima region does. Kirishima’s diverse hot springs offer treatment for anemia, poor blood circulation, and liver trouble. All of this and more is located within proximity of Kagoshima Airport.
The tallest peak among the more than 20 volcanoes in the region is Mount Karakuni. At an altitude of 1,700 m, visitors can get a panoramic view of Kirishima’s mountainous terrain and Onami Pond Crater Lake. There’s also a trekking course through the Ebino Kogen highlands offering views of three more crater lakes. The changing flowers, vegetation and snowscapes add distinct beauty to each season.
Within the Kirishima mountain terrain, the Takachiho-no-mine peak holds a special place in Japanese mythology as the location where the deity Ninigi, grandson of sun goddess Amaterasu, descended to earth from Heaven and established the imperial bloodline. Ninigi is enshrined in the crimson Kirishima Shrine, near the foot of the mountain. It only takes 15 minutes to Kirishima Shrine by public bus from Maruo.
Another major area of the Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park is the Kinko Bay district. The bay itself was formed by a huge volcanic eruption some 29,000 years ago. Even today, the active volcanic peak of Sakurajima continues to spew smoke as thousands of local residents go about their daily lives in its shadow, lending the city a uniquely dynamic atmosphere.
Yet another absolute visit is the Arimura Lava Observatory. This landscape is unlike anything you will see in all of Japan. At nearby Arimura coast, one can find natural hot spring waters bubbling forth through the sands.