Tategami (Standing God) Rock is a huge rock with a height of 42 m located about 300 in the offing of Makurazaki Port in Makurazaki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. It is a landmark of Makurazaki Coast. From its mysterious shape, it is thought to be the guardian god of the port who brings bumper catch and navigation safety.
There is an interesting legend about Tategami Rock and Mt. Akabo, which rises opposite the rock. Once upon a time, the gods living in Tategami Rock and Mt. Akabo had a fight with each other and the god of Mt. Akabo threw an ax at the god of Tategami Rock, who got raged and breathed fire; hereby the rock took such a sheer shape and the mountain took on burning red color. From this legend, Tategami Rock is also worshipped as the god of fire and Tategami became the place name. At present, both gods sit quietly in their places and guard the city of Makurazaki.
Mt. Uomidake (Fish-Seeing Mountain), 214.8 m above sea level, is a low mountain near the central part of Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. It is said that it was named so because fishermen watched the movements of fish schools from the top of the mountain.
The area around the mountain top is arranged into a natural park, to which you can go by car. Going up the stairs of the observatory deck, you can command a panoramic view of streets in Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Bay, and Chiringashima Island. On a fine day you can also see Mt. Kaimon, the Takakuma Mountain Range and Mt. Ontake in Sakurajima as well as Iojima Island in the distance.
Mt. Uomidake is a part of a volcano that existed in the ancient times. As the southern and eastern sides form sheer cliffs, the mountain is said to be like Diamond Head in Hawaii. About 10,000 cherry trees come into bloom in spring, when the mountain is alive with people who come to enjoy family hiking and driving.
Satsuma Tsugegushi or Satsuma Comb is a general term for the comb made from a Satsuma box tree.
Ibusuki region of Kagoshima Prefecture, having a climate with high temperatures and high humidity, is known to produce high quality box trees.
Satsuma box tree, which is extremely detailed and hard, produces a comb that is difficult to break. The tree also has a natural yellowish surface and beautiful gloss, and has been much valued.
The origin of the comb is said to date back to when samurai warriors from Satsuma clan first started making it when they came back from Edo (now Tokyo) after finishing the flood prevention works at Kiso River in the middle of Edo period.
Since that time, comb making became widespread as a side job for samurai warriors in the lower classes, and the comb became well-known nationally for its high quality.
In Ibusuki region, when a girl was born, a box tree was planted which grew up together with the girl. When she got married, a comb would be sent to take with her along with her other furniture.
As the comb is used to brush hair with camellia oil for a longer period of time and it ages, the light yellowish surface of the comb glosses further and more finely. In addition, it combs one’s hair very smoothly and feels soft and gentle to the scalp. Also, it doesn’t create static electricity. With these characteristics, Satsuma comb is a fine product that is still highly sought after.
Lake Ikeda is a caldera lake located in Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. With a surface area of 1091 ha and a shoreline length of 15km, it is the largest lake in the Kyushu region. It was formed by the eruption about 5,500 years ago during the Jomon period. The maximum depth amounts to 233 m and a volcanic cone rises at the bottom of the lake, which is one of the few examples in the world.
Lake Ikeda is known to harbour large eels, some 1.8 m in length, 60 cm in body circumference and 20 kg in weight.
Mt. Kaimon, or popularly known as Mt. Fuji of Satsuma, can be closely viewed from the lakeside. Visitors can enjoy boat riding or jogging and hiking around the lake. From January through the end of February, the lakeside is covered with rape blossoms.
Otaue Dance Festival takes place on April 29th annually at Okudari Minamikata Shrine in Kinpo-cho, Minami Satsuma City, Kagoshima Prefecture. The festival, a performing art particular to this region, has long been performed to pray for rich harvests for over 400 years.
Around 150 local men gather from the seventh and the eight divisions of Kinpo Town and perform as dancers. Their costumes, hachimaki headbands and style of dance vary slightly from division to division.
Starting at Okudari Minamikata Shrine, the procession of dancers consisting of various styles of dance such as Kama (Sickle) Dance, Naginata (Pole sword) Dance, Bou (Pole) Dance and Kinzan Dance parade through the town.
Senior residents sing traditional songs which have been passed down for years by word of mouth. With their songs and beats from banging poles on the ground by dancers in red sash, performers demonstrate strong and powerful dances, which enchant spectators and they enjoy the seasonal dance until dusk. The festival used to continue well into the night in the past.
Otaue Dace is a well preserved tradition and continues to captivate people in the region.
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.
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.
The Manose River is a Class B river flowing out in the western end of Kagoshima City and pouring into East China Sea via Kawanabe Town in Minamikyushu City and Kaseda and Kinpo Towns in Minamisatsuma City. It is 30 km in total length and is the longest river in Satsuma Peninsula.
The upstream area has several places of scenic interest such as the Kawazoe Waterfall and a group of riverbed pit holes. Kinpo Dam is built in the Hase River, a tributary of the Manose River. The area along the river has been known for traditional mechanical dolls operated by the power of water mill, which are called “Suisha-Karakuri.”
The estuary was displaced to the present place by a big flood in the Edo period (1603-1868). The area including the estuary and its adjacent beach, Fukiagehama Beach, which was formed by accumulation of sand brought by the river, is designated as one of 500 Important Wetlands in Japan. Fresh water and sea water flow together in this huge wetland and provide habitat for various species of coastal plants such as Hibiscus hamabo, tidal shore animals such as Uca lactea lactea and wild bird such as Black-faced Spoonbills.