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Kagoshima

Kyushu Island's southernmost city, the picturesque Kagoshima draws comparisons to Naples. Hot, sunny and in possession of its own towering stratovolcano - Sakurajima - this sparkling coastal destination boasts lush national parks, scenic mountains, hot springs, and a handful of intriguing historic sites. Kagoshima is also home to "Satsuma Cuisine" (Satsuma was the former name of the prefecture), distinct in its diversity and quality of ingredients. Kurobuta pork, sashimi (raw) chicken and Wagyu beef are just some of its indigenous culinary delights. Kagoshima's central attraction is the imposing Sakurajima, which periodically erupts fine ash over the region. Volcanic activity aside, travelers can experience stunning Kirishima-Yaku National Park; with its lakes, onsens, waterfalls and yakusugi (ancient Japanese cedars). The city also has some cultural and historic diversions of note: the 18th-century Kirishima-jingu shrine, Kagoshima Castle, the bucolic Kirishima Open Air Museum, and Senganen Garden - whose shrines, ponds and manicured lawns date back to the Edo period.

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