Things to Do in Miyazaki: Top Attractions & Activities

Miyazaki Prefecture, nestled on the sun-kissed eastern coast of Kyushu Island, is an enchanting blend of scenic beauty and deep historical significance. Its warm climate and picturesque beaches are a haven for domestic travelers who revel in a landscape steeped in mythology and tradition. The heart of the prefecture, Miyazaki City, stands as a testament to this unique amalgamation, offering visitors an array of sites where history meets modernity.

The city is home to landmarks such as the Miyazaki Shrine with its roots tracing back to the 3rd century, reaffirming the cultural heritage that permeates the region. For those yearning to explore further, Miyazaki Prefecture unfolds a tapestry of experiences from the enchanting Nichinan Coast to the lush parks and meticulously curated gardens. Each locale narrates a fragment of the prefecture’s rich narrative, while local cuisine and cultural activities afford a deeper connection with this vibrant destination.

Landforms and Weather Patterns

Coastal City of Miyazaki

Miyazaki City, poised on Kyushu Island’s southeastern coastline, claims the status as the capital of Miyazaki Prefecture. Reachable landscapes span from coastal terrains to mountainous backdrops, attracting a congregation of nature enthusiasts. Home to over 400,000 residents, this central urban area also acts as the largest city within the prefecture.

Within its borders lies the cultural heritage site, the Miyazaki Shrine, nestled in a serene grove and venerating Amaterasu, the deity of the sun. A testament to the locale’s rich mythology, it presents an inviting setting for tranquil ambles amidst historical presence.

The city enjoys a warm, temperate climate with a yearly temperature range witnessing a low average of 12.3°C during the cooler months and peaking around 27.4°C when summer is in full swing. These conditions favor a plethora of outdoor activities, significantly swimming and sunbathing along the city’s appealing beaches.

However, it’s noteworthy that the city, along with the broader area of Miyazaki Prefecture, is susceptible to typhoons. The typhoon season extends from July through October, bringing about heavy rains and vigorous winds. Travelers are thus advised to stay informed about the forecast and plan their visits with a careful eye on seasonal changes.

Historical Importance of Miyazaki

Miyazaki Prefecture is steeped in history, tracing back to the very origins of the Japanese empire. It is recognized for its connection to Emperor Jimmu, the mythological founder and first ruler of Japan, whose rise to power is said to have occurred here.

Things to Do in Miyazaki: Top Attractions & Activities

Key Historical Landmarks:

  • Miyazaki Shrine: Honors Emperor Jimmu and serves as a cultural beacon, drawing those interested in the Japan of antiquity.
  • Obi Castle Ruins: These remnants speak of the 16th-century lifestyle and governance by the Obi Clan and are open for exploration and educational tours.

Miyazaki’s significance extends beyond ancient history into more recent times:

  • World War II Influence: It served as a location for multiple military installments, playing a vital part in Japan’s wartime efforts.
  • Miyazaki Peace Memorial Museum: Provides insights into the events of World War II and its impact on the region.

In sum, Miyazaki Prefecture holds a pivotal place in both Japan’s mythological past with its connection to Takachiho — an area steeped in legends — and tangible history, offering a multifaceted look into the nation’s cultural and military past.

Religious Sites

Sanctuary of Emperor Jinmu

Nestled within the region, the sanctuary honoring Emperor Jinmu is greatly revered. This site, known for its peaceful environment and traditional architectural elegance, welcomes those seeking a moment of reflection or to offer their prayers.

Things to Do in Miyazaki: Top Attractions & Activities

Maritime Deity’s Island Sanctuary

The Maritime Deity’s Island Sanctuary is set on an exquisite islet, accessible via a scenic bridge from Miyazaki’s coast. It pays homage to the sea goddess. This locale captivates with its natural beauty, inviting visitors to undergo a purifying sea ritual.

Fertility Deity’s Cave Sanctuary

The Fertility Deity’s Cave Sanctuary rests within Nichinan and is etched into a cavern, offering blessings for matrimonial happiness and fruitfulness. Couples frequent this destination, engaging in purification ceremonies in hopes of receiving a divine favor for their unions.

Sun Goddess’s Takachiho Sanctuary

Within the picturesque town of Takachiho, this sanctuary boasts ties to the lore of the Shinto deities. Dedicated to Amaterasu, the esteemed Sun Goddess of the Shinto tradition, it sits near the cave where she is believed to have concealed herself. This site not only provides purification rituals but also allows visitors to bask in the area’s extraordinary natural vistas.

Nature’s Wonders

Coastal Jewel: Aoshima

Things to Do in Miyazaki: Top Attractions & Activities

  • Island Exploration: Just a short distance from Miyazaki City, Aoshima enchants visitors with its peculiar geological feature, known locally as the Devil’s Washboard. These hexagonal basalt columns create a staircase-like pattern, best observed at low tide along the coast.
  • Scenic Highlights: Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the island captivates with its circular shape and the shrine at its center, adding a spiritual dimension to its natural allure.

Takachiho Gorge: A Spectacular Ravine

Things to Do in Miyazaki: Top Attractions & Activities

  • Geological Marvel: In the northern stretches of Miyazaki Prefecture lies Takachiho Gorge, a testament to the transformative power of nature where volcanic activity followed by erosion has sculpted a dramatic landscape.
  • Experiential Visits: A voyage by boat offers an intimate look at the gorge’s crystalline waters and precipitous rock faces. For those who prefer the vistas from above, trekking along the trails yields panoramic scenes of the area’s raw beauty.
  • Cultural Landmarks: Not to be missed is the spiritual site near the gorge, intertwining the region’s natural splendor with its cultural significance.

Coastal Sights in Nichinan

Volcanic Peaks of the Kirishima Range

Within Miyazaki Prefecture’s northern expanse lie the Kirishima Mountains, famed for their verdant forestry and steaming geothermal activity. Here, the sprawling landscape offers a mix of outdoor pleasures, from trekking routes that navigate through dense greenery to rejuvenating hot springs that bubble forth from the earth’s heat. A not-to-be-missed site is Mount Takachiho’s base, where the renowned Kirishima Shrine nestles among picturesque gardens.

Things to Do in Miyazaki: Top Attractions & Activities

  • Must-see: Kirishima Shrine’s well-manicured gardens
  • Activities: Hiking, hot springs exploration
  • Landscape: Lush forests surrounding volcanic terrain

Highlands of Ebino

Elevated within the Kirishima Mountains is Ebino Plateau, a fantastic vantage point providing expansive views of the volcanic peaks that shape the region’s skyline. The plateau is a haven for hikers and nature lovers, with trails winding through highland scenery and leading to calming natural springs. The pristine Oyodo River adds to the allure, offering visitors an untouched slice of nature’s beauty.

Things to Do in Miyazaki: Top Attractions & Activities

  • Attractions: Hiking trails, thermal springs
  • Natural Feature: Oyodo River with its clear waters
  • Viewpoints: Panoramic mountain vistas

The Nichinan coast is graced with rugged cliffs and sandy shores along the southeastern edge of Miyazaki Prefecture. It’s a haven for those seeking the tranquility of ocean vistas and the thrill of cultural landmarks. Notable for its seascape views is the Udo Shrine, majestically perched on a cliffside, and the unique Aoshima Shrine, positioned on an offshore islet.

  • Cultural Sites: Udo Shrine with its coastal view, Aoshima Shrine on an islet
  • Coastal Features: Cliffs, beaches, and clear waters
  • Unique: Easter Island Moai replicas

The melding of mountainous landscapes with the serenity of the coastal expanse gives the Nichinan Coast and its surroundings an undeniable allure for explorers and serenity seekers alike.

Greenspaces and Gardens in Miyazaki

Harmonious Peace Park

Known as a tranquil landmark in Miyazaki, Harmonious Peace Park beckons both sightseers and residents with its vast green expanses ideal for laid-back picnics. The park is also a hub for various trails and manicured landscapes. A noticeable edifice within the park is the Peace Tower, from which visitors can enjoy panoramic vistas of the city.

  • Features: Expansive picnic areas, scenic walking paths.
  • Highlight: The towering Peace Tower.

Terracotta Garden

Within Nichinan lies the unique Terracotta Garden, which displays an interesting array of Haniwa terracotta figures, echoing the rich historical era of the Kofun period. The garden not only offers a glimpse into past cultures but also includes beautifully curated landscapes for leisurely strolls.

  • Specialty: Historical Haniwa displays.
  • Experience: Educational walks amidst verdant gardens.

Plant Haven

The Plant Haven of Miyazaki beams as a treasure trove for botany enthusiasts, brimming with a diverse collection of global flora. Enthusiasts can traverse through several climate-specific conservatories, including ones that replicate tropical and arid conditions, contributing to a rounded, enriching botanical expedition.

  • Diversity: Global plant selection, multiple environmental greenhouses.
  • Fascination: Encapsulating different ecosystems under one roof.

Cultural Experiences

  • Festivities: Engage with centuries-old traditions at vibrant local festivals.
  • Onsen & Hot Springs: Immerse in relaxation at the many thermal baths.
  • Architectural Wonders:
    • Miyazaki Science Center: Discover scientific marvels.
    • Miyazaki Prefectural Museum: Explore natural and historical exhibits.
    • Obi Castle Town: Stroll through historic streets.

Local Cuisine

Miyazaki Prefecture offers a bounty of distinctive tastes that delight the palate. At the heart of its culinary scene is Miyazaki beef, celebrated for its exquisite marbling, succulence, and rich taste. Diners can savor this premium beef in various dishes like stately steaks, sumptuous sukiyaki, and delicate shabu-shabu.

Things to Do in Miyazaki: Top Attractions & Activities

  • Charcoal-Grilled Chicken: A signature item, Miyazaki’s yakitori charms with its smoky infusion and tender meat, thanks to the traditional charcoal-grilling method.
  • Chicken Nanban: A regional must-eat, this luscious deep-fried chicken comes dressed in tangy vinegar and creamy tartar sauce.

Additionally, shochu, a robust Japanese spirit, enhances Miyazaki’s diverse food experience. Sourced locally, this alcoholic beverage pairs superbly with the region’s culinary offerings. Whether at cozy restaurants or vibrant street stalls, visitors can immerse themselves in the flavors of authentic Japanese cuisine right here in Miyazaki.

Holiday Havens and Lodgings

Coastal Jewel of the Pacific

Nestled on Miyazaki’s coastal edge, the Seagaia complex emerges as a distinguished destination mingling leisure and opulence. This comprehensive oceanside haven boasts not only panoramic vistas but also invites guests to indulge in recreational pursuits like golfing beside the glistening sea, rejuvenating in natural hot springs, and embarking on marine adventures like kayaking. Further enhancing the allure, a marine aquarium and equestrian opportunities round out the resort’s extensive offertory.

Things to Do in Miyazaki: Top Attractions & Activities

Metropolitan Comfort by the Station

For those seeking comfort amidst the city’s heartbeat, Hotel Miyazaki by JR Kyushu presents a contemporary urban sanctuary. Its proximity to the Miyazaki Station positions it ideally for city exploration. Guests can retreat to a variety of rooms catering to individual or group stays, from solo arrangements to family suites, each tailored to ensure relaxation and convenience during their travels.

Things to Do in Miyazaki: Top Attractions & Activities

Engaging in Nature’s Playground

Catching Waves

Miyazaki is a renowned destination for wave chasers, thanks to its array of surf-friendly locations. Aoshima Beach, in particular, is a highlight, offering ideal conditions that cater to both novices and seasoned surfers. From September through November, the ocean comes alive with robust waves, providing the ultimate surf experience.

  • Popular Spots: Aoshima Beach, Kisakihama Beach, Shirahama Beach
  • Best Season: September to November

Teeing Off Amidst Scenery

Golf enthusiasts find a haven in the serene, picture-perfect golf links of Miyazaki. The region’s gentle climate serves as an invitation to play year-round. Courses like Phoenix Country Club stand out, not just for their manicured greens but also for the immersive experience they afford golfers, with views that may just distract from the game.

  • Outstanding Courses: Phoenix Country Club, Miyazaki Country Club
  • Scenic Backdrop: Enjoy lush mountain vistas and coastal views as you lift your game to new heights

Shopping and Souvenirs

Miyazaki Prefecture offers an array of distinctive goods perfect for gifts or mementos. A sought-after item is merchandise inspired by mangoes, reflective of the region’s produce. Particularly irresistible is the Miyazaki Mango Langue-de-chat, a confection where a delectable mango-filled chocolate is cradled by thin, crisp cookie layers. This sweet combines the lusciousness of mango with the satisfying snap of langue-de-chat, capturing the essence of Miyazaki in every bite.

Rail Services

Miyazaki’s rail network operates from the centrally located Miyazaki Station, offering connections to numerous locales within the region. The region boasts specialty scenic routes, such as the Umisachi Yamasachi train, providing a unique travel experience.

  • Main Hub: Miyazaki Station
  • Special Route: Umisachi Yamasachi scenic ride

Public Road Transportation

For those traversing by road, buses present a convenient option, with the Miyazaki Bus Pass enhancing the travel experience by offering economical fares.

  • Ticketing: Miyazaki Bus Pass for economical travel

Aerial Transit

Miyazaki Airport stands as the primary air gateway, accommodating both international and domestic flights. It offers seamless travel options with an on-site train station that links to the JR Kyushu line and bus services for onward journeys.

  • Location: Miyazaki City
  • Facilities:
    • Train station connecting to JR Kyushu network
    • Bus and taxi services to the city and beyond

Essential Preparations

  • Craft a thorough itinerary to encompass Miyazaki’s diverse landscapes and cultural sites.
  • Include time to savor local gastronomy, ensuring a full experience.
  • Remember, the journey is as significant as the destination.

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