Kagoshima prefecture is the southernmost prefecture on Kyushu Island and the climate there sure feels that way. In late December, rape blossoms start to bloom in a spattering of fields around the island. We start our ride from the city of Kagoshima, which has many historic sites relating to the heroes of the Meiji Restoration. We pedal south along the western peninsula of Satsuma, passing by the airfield in Chiran Town where many Japanese kamikaze planes took off during the war and none returned.
The route continues further south through taking you through a land filled with charms and attractions. You’ll discover the spectacle of meticulously groomed ridges of tea trees and the smell of fuming bonito in Makurazaki, a main source of katsuobushi, an indispensable ingredient for Japanese cooking.
After relaxing in the sand bath in Ibusuki hot springs, take an eastbound ferry to Osumi Peninsula and visit Cape Sata, the southernmost tip of Kyushu Island. We then return to Kagoshima City by way of the smoking Sakurajima volcano, completing the roughly 220-kilometer tour around the two peninsulas of Kagoshima.