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Top > Talk of the Town > 2010年10月

Power Spot - Places That Brings Good Fortune Upon Visit


A "Power Spot" is a place which gives energy to rejuvenate our heart and body, and is very popular among women these days. There are several leading "Power Spots" in Kagoshima so let us introduce them!

 

1.【Kamafuta Shrine】~Bringing Good Luck and Good Fortune

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The Kamafuta Shrine is located on a cape where you can see the beautiful Mount Kaimon (also known as the Satsuma Fuji). A well-known "Power Spot", it is said that a visit to the shrine will bring good luck and lots of good fortune.

 

There have been recent rumours that Nakamura Shunsuke, Japan's ex-national soccer team player, and IKKO, a TV personality of the local show business, had gotten some good luck after visiting the shrine, and visitors to the shrine had since then increased tremendously.

 

After parking the car at the parking lots, one walks towards the sea and witnesses the great open sea, and also the mysterious red shrine building.

 

Closing in on the shrine, one will be able to witness an amusing scene of people walking slowly towards the shrine while trying to balance a kamafuta (pot cover) over their heads, taking care not to drop it. This is one of the ways of offering a prayer. It is said that if one can balance the kamafuta and walk a distance of 10m from the Torii Gate to the Shrine without dropping the kamafuta, the prayer will be answered. The most difficult part of the route is a three-step flight of stairs, where it is really difficult to keep balance. Upon failure (i.e. the kamafuta drops), one may attempt the feat again.

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There is another way of offering a prayer called the kamafuta-nage (pot cover toss). One attempts to toss a palm-sized, unglazed (bisque-fired) kamafuta (which costs 100 yen) into a pot fixed on a rocky plain about 3m below the shrine premises. If the small kamafuta lands within the pot, it is said that one can expect something good to happen (i.e. good luck).

 

After offering prayers, one enters the shrine and can purchase omamori (good luck charms) and ema (votive picture tablets). A picture of a dragon is painted on the ceiling of the shrine. One will get engrossed by staring at the painting, where the globe held by the dragon seems to emanate light. This shrine is originally dedicated to the worship of the god of war, and hence receives many visitors to pray for victory of all sorts. Besides that, there are also other good luck charms praying for the passing of examinations, a fruitful love relationship, traffic safety, and good business sales.

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Located on the right of the main shrine is a divine tree, which is apparently the greatest power spot. This is due to the solemn atmosphere around the divine tree. In the shrine, there are also visitors who came to offer their thanks after their prayers had been answered - which is the recovery from an illness.




There is a small path located on the cape at a corner of the shrine. The small path leads to a beautiful spot with a breathtaking view, known as the Kibou no Misaki (Cape of Hope). There is a bench in the shape of a pot cover. From there, one can take in the scenery of Mount Kaimon floating on the surface of the sea and the beautiful shoreline. The peacefulness of the place calms the mind and gives energetic powers.

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↓ They have many kinds of Charms ↓

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↑ For good-luck and wade off the evil spirits

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↑ Lucky Charms

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Left: Lucky Charm      Right: Road Safety Charm

 

 

Access to Kamafuta Shrine:

http://www.city.minamikyushu.lg.jp/cgi-bin/hpViewContent.cgi?pID=20100308153631&pLang=ja

 

 

 

2.【Banshobana Nature Park】~The Bell of Happiness

 

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The Banshobana Nature Park is about 5 minutes drive from Kamafuta Shrine. The former has recently become a very popular love power spot. Banshobana Nature Park is a large scale panorama scenic spot where one can see the flawless weaving of Mount Kaimon, the sea and the sky, all into one.

 

During the Edo period, Ino Tadataka, who walked throughout the whole of Japan to draw the very first map of the country, praised Banshobana for having a magnificent view which is unparalleled in its grandeur.

 

Named "Tatsu no Otoshigo (seahorses) ~ Kichigane", it is said that the Bell of Bansho, when sounded, brings good fortune.

 

The Tatsu no Otoshigo (seahorses) living in the nearby sea is a symbol of "Health, Luck, Children, Safe delivery (of a baby), Loving Husband and Wife, and Fruitful Love relationship". The offering of prayer is done by sounding the bell a corresponding number of times. The first sounding of the bell prays for good luck, the second for good health, the third for a fruitful love relationship and loving husband and wife, the fourth for children, and the fifth sounding of the bell prays for the safe delivery of a baby.

 

The Tatsu no Otoshigo (seahorses) is seen in the form of a rising dragon, which symbolizes good fortune. In a pair, they recognize each other as lifetime partners, and in a position to lay eggs, their stomach is in contact with each other, resembling a heart shape.

 

Why don't you ring the Bell of Happiness and make a wish too?

 

3.【Kirishima Shrine

The Very First Honeymoon Destination in Japan

  Ryoma and Oryo

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Speaking of the Power Spot of Kagoshima, one would first think of Kirishima Shrine. Backed by the Takachihomine peak, the Kirishima Shrine worships the Niniginomikoto, grandchild of the Amaterasu Goddess, in the ancient legend of Tenson Kourin (Descending of the Heavenly Grandchild). Built in the 6th century, this shrine has a very long history. The shrine has great beauty and dignity, and a mysterious atmosphere that awes all its visitors.

Walking past the pilgrimage path covered in lush greenery and aged cedar trees, the sophisticated vermilion structure of the shrine appears before you. Just by being there, one can feel his/her heart being cleansed.

 

4.【Yakushima】~World Natural Heritage - the Mystery of Nature

Yakushima island is the first Japanese site to be registered as a World Natural Heritage in 1993. With nature being retained in its original primitive state while human beings reside, Yakushima island receives good appraisal as a role model showcasing human and nature living in harmony. The circumference of the island is 132km. Located right in the middle of the island is Mount Miyanoura. Standing tall at 1,936m it is the highest peak in Kyushu and is also recognized as one of the "Hundred Famous Mountains of Japan".

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A well-known nature spot, Yakushima island receives many visitors from within and outside Japan daily, and it can be said that the whole island is in itself a power spot, with endless charms to offer.

 

We would like to recommend three power spots in Yakushima island.

First, the Shiradani Unsuikyo Ravine - this is the place where forest in which the Shishigami (name of a character) resides is modelled after, in the animated movie "Mononoke Hime". After walking about two hours, we arrive at a mysterious area covered by lush greenery, which is known as "The Forest of Mononoke Hime". The mysterious feel of the place cannot be described in words. The forest is fully covered in moss and surrounded by Yakusugi (thousand year old Japanese cedar trees), and one can enjoy seeing the different variety of Yakusugi. Stopping once a while to check out the moss, one will be fascinated by its beauty. Especially after rain, the beauty of Shiradani Unsuikyo Ravine is simply fascinating and will capture one's heart.

D-06.jpgSecond, it is none other than the Jomon Cedar. It takes 11 hours to travel to and fro the Jomon cedar, which is said to be of 7200 years old. It is a cedar tree worth a visit once a lifetime. Some people said that upon seeing the Jomon Cedar, one will change his perspective on life. Located in the midst of misty fog, the majestic Jomon Cedar commands a sense of presence. There is much to learn from this Jomon Cedar, which has protected and watched over the forest since ancient times. We recommend the Yakusugi Nature Museum to the fans of the Jomon Cedar, where you can see the "Branch of Life" - a branch which broke off after enduring the heavy weight of piled snow.

Yakusugi Shizenkan (Yakusugi Nature Museum) http://www5.ocn.ne.jp/~yakumuse/

2739-343, Awa, Yakushima-cho, Kumage-gun, Kagoshima-ken, 891-4311

TEL0997-46-3113  FAX0997-46-3168


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 The last recommendation is the Ogawa no Taki (Ogawa Falls). To be able to view the powerful waterfall and close proximity is simple wonderful. Standing just 50m away, one can feel the speed and flow of the fall through the water sprays. This is due to Yakushima island being blessed by abundant rainfall. Showered in rich negative ions, one can feel nature by stretching out on the rocky plain, enjoying the water spray and listening to the sound of the waterfall.

 

Yakushima Tourism Association http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~yakukan/

TEL:0997-49-4010  FAX:0997-49-4011

E-Mail:yakukan@coral.ocn.ne.jp

Study Field Trip to Makurazaki City !!!

Study Field Trip to a Shochu (Distilled Spirit) CellarMeiji Kura

[Meiji Kura] is a Shochu cellar of the Satsuma Brewery.

 

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Speaking of the Satsuma Brewery, long before the popularization of Shochu, Satsuma Brewery has already been producing and exporting the "Satsuma Shiranami", a famous Shochu distilled from sweet potatoes, nationwide. The origin of the name "Meiji Kura" stems from the Meiji era (1868~1912), the time where Shochu distillation was established. Why was the cellar simply named after the period where the distillation method was established? The answer can be found from within the cellar.

 

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The interior of the cellar is dimly lit and made of wood. Large pillars can be found everywhere within the cellar. The floor boards are made of dark coloured wood, and the whole building resembles Meiji period architecture. The staff of Meiji Kura explains the distillation process using easy-to-understand terminology. Besides, the display furniture in the cellar is also built according to Meiji period design.

 

 

Paper clay figurines depict the whole process of the Shochu distillation.

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 Each and every one of these figurines is simple but bears rich facial expressions, bringing a smile to anyone who looks at them. Apparently, these figurines are modelled after the Toji (spirit distillers / wine brewers).

 

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Next, we see pictures hung on the wall. These pictures do not depict the distillation process. Just like the paper clay figurines, people featured in these pictures have rich and warm facial expression. Through these pictures, we can see how these people give their best to distill the tastiest Shochu. Some of the photos show people with jovial smiles. With the Shochu being distilled by such cheerful people, we can expect the Shochu to be tasty.


 

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From selection to the cleaning and steaming of the sweet potatoes, and even the corridors passing through the various distillation processes is filled with retro reminiscence of the Meiji period. With the alcohol barrels stacked up high along the corridors and the metallic advertisements hanging from the ceiling, one can't help but imagine how our grandparents would probably have once walked along such corridors.

 

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The biggest surprise is the steamer and cooler made from wooden buckets. The staff explained, to our disbelief, that these items are still being used for production today.

 

Of course, the ones on display are merely replicas, but even until today, the distillation methods developed since the Meiji period are being followed earnestly, using larger versions of the display replica equipment.

 




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After learning much about the distillation, we proceed towards the souvenir gift shop. The speciality of this shop is that not only it allows the testing of the various Shochu, but the interior, with its wooden pillars and white walls, fits perfectly with the "wa (Japanese)" ambience of our study trip. The best thing here is the "Kurochoga", a black-coloured ceramic pottery for Shochu which is only available here in Meiji Kura. (*The "Kurochoga" belongs to the "Kuro Satsuma" family, and the "Kuro Satsuma" is one of the two branches of the "Satsuma-Yaki", which is essentially traditional ceramic pottery of Kagoshima) The "Kuro Satsuma" is "Satsuma-Yaki" ceramic pottery used in the past by the commoners of Kagoshima, and Shochu-drinking at suppertime can never be without the "Kurochoga". Although these days Shochu is diluted in a pot with hot water and drank using glass cups, do give the "Kurochoga" a try!




There is also a restaurant within the Meiji Kura. Called the "Hanawatarigawa Beer Hall", one can get to taste happoshu (low-malt beer), brewed using sweet potatoes. French cuisine is served in the restaurant, prepared by an overseas-trained chef. You can try great French cuisine at a reasonable price. The first floor of the restaurant is a sun-filled open garden, where garden weddings and other types of parties can be held.

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Another feature of this restaurant is its second floor, where one can see the whole of Meiji Kura. The scene from the second floor takes us back in time to the Meiji era, with white walls, grey tiled roofs, and cobblestone streets.

 

The "Meiji" term of the name "Meiji Kura" not only simply refers to the time period, but it also carries respect and pride for the people of the Satsuma Brewery, the well-kept distillation methods, the importance of the Meiji era, and also aims to emphasize to all visitors the significance of this important time period (in Japanese history). Touring the Meiji Kura is free-of-charge, so let's appreciate the wonders of the Meiji period while learning more about Shochu.



 

 

Makurazaki Fish Centre


Speaking of Makurazaki, we would refer to it as the street of Katsuo (Bonito). The local production of Bonito flakes ranks top in Japan. In the Fish Centre, besides Katsuo, many other processed fish products are on sale.

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The interior of the building is a cross-shape, lined with shops selling local products. Some shops are decorated with huge flags bearing pictures of fish, a bustling place indeed. Filled in abundance with seafood products from furikake (a dried seasoning sprinkled over rice) to frozen fish, this place attracts not only visitors but locals as well. With the products being sold cheaper than market price, we can easily dub this place as "the seafood kitchen of the Makurazaki residents". With children living nearby coming to play in the shop vicinity, we can feel the close relationship of the local residents.

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Although there is a large variety of fish on sales, the top seller is non-other than the Katsuo. One shop selling "Hana Katsuo (bonito flakes)" has staff shaving generous portions of Katsuo. The place is filled with the fragrance of bonito flakes, stopping shoppers in their steps. One can't help but start to imagine making "Chabushi" (a simple soup made by adding hot water to bonito flakes and fermented bean paste). With that thought, the throat thirsts for soup and the appetite grows.

 

Getting hungry, we proceed to the canteen on the second floor, which has a huge selection of seafood cuisine. One can choose to have a simple dish of Nizakana (stewed fish) or savour fresh slices of raw Katsuo (Bonito) and Kanpachi (Amberjack) sashimi. If one prefers Western style meals, there is fried fish and tempura (which essentially also means deep frying) as well. Despite the huge selection of seafood cuisine, the items are reasonably priced, just like the products on sales in the small shops on the first floor.

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After satisfying our hunger with the large variety of seafood cuisine, why not check out the terrace outside? You can see fishing boats and the vast blue sea of Makurazaki leading to the external sea (outside of the Japanese main islands). The openness of the place makes one wants to stretch his body and take a deep breath. There are also benches on the terrace, so for those who cannot move after a heavy meal, feel free to sit and rest, and perhaps drift off into a short nap. Makurazaki Fish Port is a place not only for shopping but also delicious food and enjoying peaceful environment. Do enjoy the scenery of the Makurazaki Fish Port too!

Exciting Event is coming !!!


Why don't you join our round-table talk???

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It's not really that serious session... It's more like "Let's talk about Kagoshima!!! " tea party.
We would like to hear your voice about tourism of Kagoshima through your eyes.
It's FREE to join us !!! 
All participants should be able to have a conversation in Japanese. 



Date: 7th November (Sun.)  2010
Place: Daie Chuo Station   7 F the 1st conference room
Entrance Fee: FREE


If you would like to join us, please e-mail us your information below...

1. Name
2.Address
3.TEL number
4.Nationality
5.Age
6.Sex

E-mail address : k.nakamura@kagoshima-kankou.com

Period of acceptance: 5th November (Fri.) 


We are looking forward to your entry!!!


Satsuma's Local Cuisine

Satsuma's Local Cuisine

Kagoshima, blessed with rich nature, is said to be the treasure trove for safe and safe and healthy food ingredients.  Speaking of Kagoshima's local cuisine, one would definitely recommend dishes such as the Kibinago sashimi (raw fish), Tonkotsu (pork cartilage), Keihan (chicken rice) [pronounced as kay-han], and Satsuma-age (fried fish cake) [pronounced as sa-tsu-mah-ah-gay].  Born from the rich culture and history of Kagoshima, let us now take a look at the "Slow Food of Satsuma" (slow food means healthy food prepared using the normal food preparation methods, as opposed to unhealthy fast-food).


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Kagoshima is a livestock producing region, and is famous for its [Kagoshima Black Berkshire Pork].  Soft and tender but highly flavourful, the Kagoshima Black Berkshire Pork is highly regarded throughout Japan.  


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 Kagoshima is also known as the land of Shochu (Japanese distilled alcoholic beverage).  Shochu is most commonly distilled from barley, sweet potatoes, or rice, but sweet potato is most commonly used in Kagoshima. There are countless brands and varieties to be found here, including those of light flavour which barely have the taste of sweet potato, to those of thick and heavy flavour.  Please enjoy the traditional taste of Kagoshima.  

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 First, let us take a look at the Kibinago shashimi (raw fish), which is usually consumed with the Su-Miso sauce. The Su-Miso sauce is made by adding vinegar (su) to fermented bean paste (miso).  The strong sour taste of the vinegar increases the cooling, refreshing feel reduces the fishy odour of the raw fish, and preps our appetite for the next dish.  

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 Next, we hage the Kagoshima Black Berkshire Pork cartilage, which is essentially stewed pork.  Somehow similar to the famous Dongpo's Pork of Hangzhou, China, the Kagoshima version use pork with cartilage and stew the meat slowly over three days with sweet Miso, sugar and rice wine instead of the usual sweet-salty soy sauce.  Throughout the three days, the flame from the stove is not constantly on, but crefully controlled in accordance to the condition of the meat.  By doing so brings out the full flavour of the meat and softens the cartilage further.  After much time and effort spent on stewing the pork cartilage, the meat becomes soft and is easily separated from the cartilage with chopsticks, and even the cartilage itself is softened to the extent where it can be easily broken up with chopsticks too. With strong flavour well-infused into the meat, one can enjoy the sweet taste of this Kagoshima traditional cuisine.  

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 Taking a short break from the heavy dishes, let us enjoy the "Ogojo Manjyu (Japanese bun)". Kagoshima is previously known as Satsuma, and speaking of Satsuma, one will link it to the Satsuma Imo (sweet potato), which is often synonymic to Kagoshima.  Made from Satsuma Imo, this bun is named after women, which are referred to as "Ogojo" in the local dialect.  Lightly fried Satsuma sweet potato filled with soft red bean paste and topped with sugar icing resembling hailstones, one would probably mistake this for a dessert cake.  However, once popped into the mouth, one would feel the light sweetness of the Satsuma sweet potato mixed with a sightly salty taste of the red bean paste.  This is definitely not the sweetness that is typical of desserts...a marvellous dish.  

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 Another dish that is named after Satsuma would be the Satsuma-age.  Surimi (shaved fish meat) and flour is mixed to make a compact oval-shaped pasted that is fried until it becomes crispy and turns light brown.  The Satsuma-age usually has young bamboo shoot or carrot fillings.  The bamboo shoots and the shaved fish are white while the carrot gives the orange tone, and the exterior of the Satsuma-age is light brown.  When one bites into the freshly fried Satsuma-age, one can taste the sweetness of the shaved fish blended perfectly with oil.  Nevertheless, fish cakes are small and are not too oily.    

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 Finally, we move on to the Roppaku Kurobuta Shabu-Shabu (Six Whites Black Berkshire Pork Hot Pot).  In order not to destroy the original flavour of the pork, it is best consumed by dipping in Ponzu (citrus-based sauce).  The name Roppaku (meaning Six Whites) comes from the colour of the Berkshire pig, which is fyully black with distinctive whites located on the wrists and the ankles the nose and the tail.  The meat, when dipped in hot water, does not produce much scum.  It does not have any meat odour, and the fatty areas are flavourful and sweet, which goes perfectly with the Ponzu citrus sauce.  The more we eat, the better our appetite becomes ~ that is the wonder of the Roppaku Kurobuta!

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 Last but not least, we have the Keihan (chicken rice).  Although we would usually associate the Keihan with the Amami Oshima Island (as the latter is the place of origin), the broth of the Keihan that we will introduce today is actually made from the Ingi chicken of Minamitane Town of Tanegashima Island, So we are actually introducing the Tanegashima Keihan.  The way it is being eaten is similar to that of the Amami Keihan, where chicken broth is added to rice topped with

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 chicken, omelette strips, muchrooms, ginger strips, shredded seaweeds and sesame seeds. The uniqueness of the Tanegashima Keihan lies in the Paitan (white coloured) soup, where the umami of the Ingi chicken mixes perfectly with the salt flavour of the soup, bringing out not only the salty taste but also a little sweetness. Of course, the traditional way to eat the Keihan is by topping the rice with all the ingredients (as mentioned above), but do also try the soup by itself!  Oh and of course, not forgetting the homemade pickles preserved using beer!




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6-29 Higashisengoku-cho, Kagoshima-shi 〒892-0842
TEL: 099-226-0525
FAX: 099-239-1139