A tropical destination in the heart of Japan
Located on the south eastern coast of Kyushu, Miyazaki has a warm, temperate climate and was once known as the premier honeymoon destination amongst the Japanese. Originally, the city was most associated with the first emperor of Japan, Jimmu, who lived in the 7th century BC and whose legendary palace once stood where present Miyazaki is today. Most recently, however, Miyazaki has been linked with a more contemporary figure – well-known Japanese celebrity and comedian Higashikokubaru Hideo was the governor of the Miyazaki Prefecture from 2007 to 2011.
Though a relatively small Japanese city, with a population of approximately 365,000, Miyazaki and surrounds include an array of popular tourist and natural attractions, including the Takachiho Gorge, Aoshima Island and its shrine, and many sandy beaches.
Things to do
The Miyazaki Shrine was reconstructed in 1907 and is dedicated to the ancient Emperor Jimmu, largely considered the first emperor of Japan. Steeped in ambience, the shrine is located in the Miyazaki Shrine Forest, and surrounded by beautiful oshirafuji (white wisteria) believed to be more than 600 years old. Nearby are the Gosho Inari and Gokoku Shrines, making it an ideal day trip.
Spread across more than 100km of the Miyazaki Prefecture, the Nichinan Coast is one of the premier driving and sightseeing roads in Japan. It encompasses multiple Miyazaki attractions, including the Udo-jingu Shrine and Aoshima Island, as well as sandy beaches and unique rock formations. Interestingly, it also includes an Easter Island-themed park with replicas of its famous moai statues.
The Udo-jingu Shrine is famous for its unique location; it is perched on a cliff face overlooking the ocean, located within a cave. Accessible via a 20-minute walk along curving pathways and tunnels, its distinctive vermillion-lacquered exterior is revealed to maximum effect. The shrine is also said to bring good luck to newlyweds and those praying for pregnancy or a successful childbirth.
Located approximately two hours from Miyazaki, the Takachiho Gorge occurs where the volcanic basalt has cleaved the Gosake River, creating a natural chasm. Known for its sheer cliff faces, abundance of vivid greenery and waterfall, the gorge can be viewed two ways; either via boat to get a closer perspective of the gorge and waterfall, or by walking the path that winds along the edge of the gorge for a birds-eye view.
Found off of the south coast of Miyazaki is Aoshima, an idyllic island ringed with white beaches. Relatively small, it is easy to traverse the island and take in its multiple attractions, including tori gates, a shrine and the devil’s washboard. Visible at low tide, the devil’s washboard consists of a number of perfectly straight rows of basalt that appear man-made but are a natural occurrence, and should not be missed.
Miyazaki Airport (KMI)
Travel time: About 18 minutes
Taxi: JPY ¥2600–3900
Train: JPY ¥85Back to top
When to go
Miyazaki is one of the warmest places on the main island of Japan, experiencing a warm, temperate climate most months of the year. While December is the coldest month with average daily temperatures around 15°C, it is also the driest month. Also bear in mind that June is the wettest month of the year, with an average rainfall of 40cm for the month.
July, August and September are the best months to visit Miyazaki. With average daily temperatures of 31°C and minimal rainfall, it’s an ideal time to experience Miyazaki’s multitude of natural attractions and beaches.Back to top
The easiest and most economical way to get around the Miyazaki prefecture is by taking advantage of its extensive bus network. Tourists can access the Miyazaki bus card, which allows unlimited use for only JPY ¥1000 per day and covers most well-known attractions in the Prefecture. Alternatively, Miyazaki’s train lines include the Nippou Main Line, which can take you as far as Nobeoka in the north.Back to top
Sushi, sake and surfing: Making waves in Miyazaki
Cool vibes, laid-back culture and great surfing – not the typical attributes you’d associate with Japan… unless you’re in Miyazaki.