18/08/2021

Embracing Miyazaki Prefecture

Miyazaki Prefecture is a treasure trove of sights and adventures for tourists. Top honeymoon destinations are often sunny places like Hawaii and Okinawa. Guess what? Sunny Miyazaki is also a popular honeymoon spot. From shrines to sandy beaches, Miyazaki beef to juicy fruits, set your five senses alight at Miyazaki!


Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to Miyazaki Prefecture
  2. Prefectural Attractions
  3. Must Try Miyazaki Specialties
  4. Take a Trip to Kirishima Factory Garden
  5. Summary

Introduction to Miyazaki Prefecture

Geography and Climate

Miyazaki is located in the far south of Japan. It borders Kumamoto Prefecture, with Kagoshima to its south and Oita to its north. Miyazaki is a mountainous prefecture that faces the Pacific Ocean and the full brunt of the sun. So expect a warmer climate when visiting this part of Japan. With an average temperature of 17℃, it is the 3rd warmest prefecture in Japan. 

※ Miyazaki Prefecture Tourism Association, "About Miyazaki"

Economy

According to Britannica, Miyazaki Prefecture’s economy centres around agriculture. Hardly surprising considering its blessings from nature and colossal mountain lands. Their primary products include by-products from trees like charcoal, cedar pulp, and bamboo products. Aside from that, they are involved in manufacturing industries in the production of chemicals, fertilizers, and medicine. 

※ Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., "Miyazaki"

Prefectural Attractions

What makes Miyazaki unique is that there is a good contrast of nature and historic structures. Some of the prefectural highlights include the shrine of Japan's first emperor, scenic rivers, flower fields, and more.

Shrines of Miyazaki Prefecture

Miyazaki Shrine

Miyazaki Shrine (宮崎神宮) was built in honour of the first, legendary sovereign of Japan, Emperor Jimmu (神武天皇). Established over 2,600 years ago, it is undoubtedly the city’s oldest and most treasured shrine. Surrounded by lush tropical forests, the shrine evokes a feeling of calm and serenity. Even if you’re not interested in its history, the shrine’s beauty is worth a visit itself. 

A unique event at the shrine is the Shinji-Yabusame (神事流鏑馬) - an ancient Shinto ritual involving horseback archery. The event is held in April every year. Another unique event is the Jimmu-sama Festival (御神幸祭), a popular festival amongst the locals. Originally a festival dedicated to Emperor Jimmu, it has now become a celebration for the people. 

Location: Miyazaki City

Access: 15-mins walk from Miyazaki-Jingu Station

※ JNTO, “Miyazaki-jingu Shrine”
※ Miyazaki Shrine, “Shinji-Yabusame

Amanoiwato Shrine

Amanoiwato Shrine is dedicated to a prominent Shinto deity, the sun goddess Amaterasu. The shrine is located at the site of a famous Amanoiwato Myth:

Legend has it that an upset and angry Amaterasu, irritated by her mischievous brother’s antics, sought solace in a cave called Amanoiwato. Her absence sent the world into darkness. As the humans started to suffer from the lack of sunlight - crops could not grow and sickness became rampant, so the Gods gathered in Amano Yasukawara cave to discuss a solution. 

The Gods tried many things. In the end, it was the Gods laughter from a ridiculous dance that piqued Amaterasu’s curiosity and lured her out of her cave. The world became bright and sunny again, and everyone was happy.  

The shrine consists of 3 shrines; the East Main Shrine (Nishi-Hongu) dedicated to Amanoiwato, the West Main Shrine (Higashi-Hongu) dedicated to Amaterasu’s first abode upon leaving Amanoiwato, and Amano Yasukawara-gu dedicated to the cave where the gods gathered. 

Location: Takachiho Town

Access: 2-mins walk from Iwato Bus Station 

Takachiho Shrine

With Takachiho Town as the famous setting of Amaterasu’s legend, Takachiho Shrine is another shrine aside from Amanoiwato Shrine that pays homage to Amaterasu. In remembrance of the famous myth, Takachiho Shrine holds nightly performances of Kagura (神楽), a Shinto form of ceremonial dancing, to bring to life the famous legend.

 The Kagura is performed daily from 8 to 9pm, so keep your schedule open. 

Location: Takachiho Town

Performance Fee: 1,000 yen (Adult)

Access: 10-mins walk from Miyako Bus Centre 

※ JNTO, “Takachiho Shrine

Admire Nature

Takachiho Gorge

The highlight of Takachiho Town is Takachiho Gorge, the remnants of a powerful volcanic eruption from Mt. Aso. With the sparkling blue water of Gokase River bordered by rocky cliffs, a 17m tall splashing waterfall - Manai Waterfall, and 3 bridges to get an overlooking view of the gorge, Takachiho Gorge is truly a wonder of nature.

The gorge is best enjoyed with a boat ride. Feel the wafting coolness of the wind as it blows through the craggy rock walls, and enjoy the drops of water against your face as you come across the waterfalls. Don’t forget to look up, as the view of a bright blue sky with fluffy floating clouds bordered by greenery peeking from the top of the cliffs is an unforgettable sight. 

Location: Takachiho Town

Boat Fee: Rental 3,000 yen + Boarding 1,000 yen (Adult)

Access: 

  • 1-min walk from Oshioi Takachiho Parking Lot 

  • 16-mins walk from Koudono Bus Station

Ikoma Plateau

Set at the foot of Mt. Kirishima, Ikoma Plateau is a beautiful place where you can enjoy seasonal flowers: Poppies in April, Crape Myrtle and Hibiscus Mutabilis in July, and Cosmos in October. Aside from flower viewing, there are places you can visit and sights to see nearby including a wonderful seascape, Ebino Plateau 23-mins drive away with a free footbath and wonderful sights, Hinamori Auto Camping Ground 25-mins drive away for camping, and more. 

Location: Kobayashi City

Entrance Fee: 600 yen (Adult)

Access: By car

※ Ikoma Plateau, “Flower Calendar

Historical Sites and UNESCO World Heritage

Saitobaru Burial Mounds

An ancient burial ground encompassing hundreds of burial mounds atop a grassy hill. The grounds were recognized as a National Heritage in 1952 due to the many prominent Japanese figures like family leaders and warriors that are buried here. Although you may find it creepy to explore what is essentially a cemetary, do not be discouraged as aside from the burial mounds, as the plains around are covered with stunning flowers. 

From Sakura in Spring, to Sunflowers in Summer, and Cosmos in Autumn, the bobbing heads of dainty pretty flowers bring life and joy to the otherwise somber area. 

Location: Saito City

Access: By car

※ JNTO, "Saitobaru Burial Mounds"

Sun Messe Nichinan

An amusement park famous for its recreation of Easter Island’s moai statues. The park is also host to various other attractions like UNESCO World Heritage Sites exhibition, butterfly inscribed platform, a butterfly garden, and various facilities. The park is pretty huge and requires lots of walking, but thankfully for only 1,000 yen, you can rent a cart for 30-mins to drive around the park - driving license required. 

When you’re tired, visit the cafe for a coffee break. Done for the day? Take a relaxing soak in the onsen, or enjoy the sauna and hot rock bath. 

Location: Saito City

Entrance Fee: 800 yen (Adult)

Access: Sun Messe Nichinan Bus Station

※ Miyazaki City Tourism Association, "Sun Messe Nichinan"

Exciting Fun 

Phoenix Seagaia Resort

Not just a place to rest, Phoenix Seagaia Resort is the symbol of peak resort accommodations in Kyushu. The resort offers various forms of entertainment to its guests, for example:

  • 2 golf courses including globally recognized top 100 and Japan top 3 Phoenix Country Club

  • Outdoor activities like horseback riding, surfing, cruising, tennis, forest quiz rally, and more

  • Indoor activities like pottery making, gym, swimming pool, and tennis   

  • Summer events like daily fireworks show, pool parties, and garden BBQ

The resort also has its own onsen and spa facility, Shosenkyu, nestled within a pine forest grove. The facility is restricted to hotel guests only so stay overnight to avail yourself of this beautiful onsen. 

Location: Miyazaki City

Access: 

  • 2-mins walk from Kouendouro Iriguchi Bus Station

  • Hotel Shuttle Bus from Miyazaki Airport for 870 yen, and Miyazaki Station for 520 yen 

Must Try Miyazaki Specialties

A visit to any area in Japan is never complete without tasting some of the local specialties. Don’t miss out on the following menu items! 

Miyazaki Beef

Miyazaki beef is high grade beef from Miyazaki raised black cows that satisfy a high quality criteria. Tasting Miyazaki beef is considered one of the highlights when visiting the prefecture, it is also much more affordable to eat in Miyazaki where it is derived from. The beef is renowned for its taste and texture, even winning several National and International awards. 

There are many places that serve Miyazaki beef all over the prefecture including Miyachiku Steakhouse in Miyazaki City. 

Miyazakigyu
※ Miyazaki Pref. Travel Guide, “The best beef in Japan, Miyazaki Beef

Chicken Nanban

Chicken Nanban is a beloved homey dish in Japan, available in Teishoku-ya and Izakayas. But did you know that this dish originated from Miyazaki during the 1960s?

Chicken Nanban consists of Karaage soaked in Nanban Sauce, then served with tartar sauce. Nanban sauce is made from a boiled mixture containing vinegar as its key ingredient. 

For a taste of this dish, visit Family House Ogura  in Segashira, believed to be the first restaurant in Miyazaki Prefecture to introduce this chicken dish. 

Hama Udon

Coastal town Kawaminami has an abundance of mahi mahi, or dolphinfish (not to be mistaken for dolphin). The fish is grounded into fine powder and kneaded into regular udon noodles to create Hama Udon. A versatile ingredient, Hama Udon can be eaten like regular udon noodles with broth or even made into a pasta dish. The fish powder elevates the udon’s flavours and texture, making it even more scrumptious than it was.

Sturgeon Sushi Meal

Sturgeon sushi is a rarity even in sushi nation Japan. Sturgeon sushi and sturgeon sushi set meals are a specialty of Kobayashi City where sturgeon are farmed for their caviar. The fish is said to have a mild smell and a slightly sweet taste. Aside from eating it raw, sturgeon can also be grilled or cooked in a nabe dish. 

Fresh Fruits

For refreshment, dessert, or souvenir, partake in the deliciousness of Miyazaki’s fresh fruits. The prefecture is especially famous for it it’s mango and Miyazaki exclusive Hyuganatsu oranges. Miyazaki’s mangoes have a red hue, a physical sign of its sweetness. It is often called “Egg of the Sun” for its vibrant red skin. You may even mistake it for an oddly shaped red apple. 

Hyuganatsu orange on the other end resembles a lemon more than an orange with its yellow skin. The fruit’s name is a combination of Miyazaki Prefecture’s former name, Hyuga and the Japanese word for summer, Natsu. It is sweet and sour in taste, frequently eaten with sprinkled sugar and pith (the white covering on citrus fruits under the skin) unremoved.  

Take a Trip to Kirishima Factory Garden

Are you fond of Japanese Sake or Shochu? 

Kirishima Factory Garden offers a Shochu distillery tour experience for free. Learn how Shochu is made, explore the factory, do some taste-testing, and get some alcohol souvenirs. There is also a garden and restaurant to relax and unwind. 

Location: Miyakonojo City

Access: 10-mins drive from Miyakonojo Station

※ Kampai at Kyushu, “Kirishima Factory Garden

Summary

Miyazaki is the perfect travel destination when you are searching for something unique to visit in Japan. There is more to the prefecture than this article gives justice. Other examples you can go to while in this prefecture are the Obi Castle Town, Sekino Falls, museums, and many others! Whilst you’re here, make sure to get some of the popular souvenir, Cheese Manjyu!

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