NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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揖宿神社 Ibusuki-jinja Ibusuki Shrine

Jp En

Ibusuki Shrine is located in Higashikata, Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. The enshrined deity is OOhirumemuchi-no-mikoto.
According to the shrine’s record, the shrine’s history dates back to 706 when a shrine was built to honor the visit of Emperor Tenchi and was named Katsuragi Palace.
In 874, due to the great eruption of Mt. Kaimondake, the spirit of the shrine was transferred to Hirasaki Shrine and was renamed Montake-shinguu or Montake New Palace. It was after the Meiji Restoration that the palace received its current name, Ibusuki Shrine.
The shrine has been worshiped as the general shrine deity of Yabusuki area, primary deity of local reclamation and guardian deity of sailing and business prosperity.
The main building seen today was built by Shimazu Narioki in 1847.
In the precinct stand eight gigantic camphor trees which are estimated to be over 700 years old. The whole area is known as Ibusuki’ god forest and designated as a natural monument by Kagoshima Prefecture.
Ibusuki Shrine is the historical shrine that had been deeply venerated by the successive heads of the Satsuma Clan.
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知林ヶ島・小島 Chirin-ga-shima Ko-jima Chiringashima and Kojima

Jp En

Chiringashima and Kojima are uninhabited islands floating in the cobalt blue ocean of Kagoshima Bay, to the north of Cape Tara in Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. They are a part of Kirishima-Yaku National Park.

Chiringashima is a small island with a circumference of 3 km. During low tide, you can walk to the island via sand bridge. There used to be a dense forest of Japanese black pine trees along the coastline of the island, most of which were damaged by pine wood nematode. It is said that as the pine needles blown in the sea breeze sounded CLINK, CLINK, which is translated as CHIRIN, CHIRIN in Japanese, the island was named Chirin-ga-shima.

Kojima is far smaller island, 320 m away from Chiringashima. Here, a fine black pine forest remains. The sea around the island is a popular fishing spot.
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指宿の鏡池 Ibusuki-no-Kagami-ike Kagamiike Pond in Ibusuki

Jp En

Kagamiike Pond is an 8 ha “maar” located in Kaimon Senta in Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. A maar is a volcanic crater that is caused by a phreatomagmatic eruption, an explosion caused by groundwater coming into contact with magma. The maar typically fills with water to form a relatively shallow crater lake.The name comes from a German dialect, which is derived from Latin mare (sea).

Though large trees around the pond were cut down and the water is not very clear at present, Kagamiike Pond used to be a mirror-like clear pond until the early Showa period (1926-1989). It is said that the view of Mt. Kaimon, or popularly called Satsuma Fuji, reflected on the surface of the pond was really beautiful. Even today, when the conditions are met, you may be able to see the reflected image of Mt. Kaimon.

Not so popular as Lake Ikeda or Unagiike (Eel Pond), Kagamiike Pond is a hidden scenic spot in Ibusuki City.
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縄状玄武岩 Nawa-jou-genbu-gan Ropy Pahoehoe

Jp En

Pahoehoe is basaltic lava that has a smooth, undulating, or ropy surface. As basalt contains relatively less silicon dioxide, basaltic lava behaves more like a plastic substance than a liquid substance. As lava continues to flow underneath this plastic skin, the surface can bunch up or wrinkle into a form that resembles coiled rope. Such a surface is called ropy pahoehoe.

There is a belt of dark gray ropy pahoehoe cropping out along the coast from Hanaze to Tazaki Beach in Kaimon Town in Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. It is one of the few examples of ropy pahoehoe found in Japan. This lave belt was formed when Mt. Kaimon erupted in about 500 B.C. The trace of lava that erupted out of the crater of Mt. Kaimon and flew toward the offing can be clearly seen. As the precious natural phenomenon, from which we can learn about volcanic and geological activities of the earth, it is prefecturally designated as a natural monument.
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開聞岳 Kaimon-dake Mt. Kaimondake

Jp En

Mt. Kaimondake (924 m) is located in Ibusuki City in the southernmost part of Kagoshima Prefecture. It is counted as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Mountains. From its fine conical shape, it is called Satsuma Fuji.

Mt. Kaimondake erupted in 874 and 885, by which the lava dome was formed in the crater and it became a two-staged complex volcano. The walking trail winds up to the mountain top.

At the top of the mountain is Mitake Shrine, the back shrine of Hirasaki Shrine at the foot. Mt. Kaimondake itself is the sacred body of this shrine. From the mountain top, you can command a magnificent view from the Kirishima mountain range in the north to Yakushima Island in the south including major sightseeing spots in the prefecture.

In the areas at the foot of the mountain, rape flowers bloom in spring, leaves of the evergreen forest cover the whole mountain in early summer and Chinese tallow trees (Sapium sebiferum) turn red in fall.

Subtropical and tropical plants can be seen in the botanical garden in Kaimon Submontane Natural Park located around the 2nd station of the mountain. At the foot of the mountain area many hot spring towns.
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