Everything To Know About Miyazaki Prefecture | CoolJapan


Horikiri-toge (Photo from: Miyazaki Prefecture)

Compelling characters, breathtaking action, and stunning animation are what comes to most people’s minds when they hear the name 'Miyazaki' because of Studio Ghibli's Hayao Miyazaki. On the southeastern coast of Kyushu, however, exists another Miyazaki — the capital of Miyazaki Prefecture. Its balmy climate makes it a welcoming destination all year round. Packed with natural highlights, its mouth-watering cuisine is also not to be missed.

Chicken Nanban Miyazaki Prefecture

Many may be familiar with the dish Chicken Nanban (a dish of deep-fried chicken served with rich tartar sauce) but did you know that it originated from Miyazaki? (Photo from: Miyazaki Prefecture)

Not to be confused with another famous island with the same name, Aoshima Island (which is just off the coast of Miyazaki City in the south), this place is a gem of its own. After a short 30-minute train ride on the JR Nichinan Line and a five-minute short walk from Aoshima Station, you will arrive at this unexpected vision of paradise.

Although it may not have the cats that made the other Aoshima Island famous, its pristine white beaches will more than make up for the lack of felines. A relaxing stroll around the island, studded with souvenir stands, is only 1.5 kilometres.

Connected to the mainland by a bridge, a tropical oasis is just 30 minutes away from Miyazaki City.

At the centre of the island is Aoshima Jinja shrine, a colourful shrine nestled in the thick of a verdant jungle. Popular with weddings, it's no surprise if you spot a bride and groom dressed in traditional Shinto attire during your visit. 

Many couples and women flock to this island shrine famed for answering prayers for marriage.

Miyazaki is also a good base to explore Takachiho, a town steeped in Japanese mythology. Amaterasu, the Shinto Sun Goddess, was said to have hidden in a cave to escape her brother’s pranks.

Be prepared for a mind-blowing vista of Takachiho Gorge, best viewed by rowing down the river. Rental boats are available at the south end of the gorge and it is a magical experience drifting between the cliffs so close to the waterfall.

Witness the spellbinding natural beauty of Takachiho Gorge up close.

Another option is to walk along the paved path skimming the edge of the gorge. The one-kilometre walk is bejewelled with photogenic scenes of the river below, leading you to the Takachiho Shrine. In summer, the already stunning gorge is illuminated until 10PM, making it even more enchanting.

According to legend, these seven Moai statues represent, from left to right, luck for work, well-being, relationships, dreams, marriage, finance, and education. ⠀ 

Keeping with the spirit of mythology and mysticism of Miyazaki, the Sun Messe Nichinan statues along the Nichinan coast are perhaps one of the most alluring spots of the region. Seven Moai statues — the only replicas allowed to be made in the world — stand on a hill above the Pacific Ocean. They are facing the same direction as their originals on Easter Island, with 14,000 kilometres of ocean between them. If South America is too far for you, the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean and the gentle rustling of the palm trees lined along the Nichinan coast will transport you to Easter Island itself. ⠀

By the dramatic shores of the Nichinan Coast also lies an intriguing shrine tucked into a cave. The picturesque Udo Jingu shrine is dedicated to Ugayafukiaezu, the father of Emperor Jimmu, the ancestral emperor of Japan. Associated with pregnancy and childbirth, the shrine sits facing the crashing waves.

You will be hard-pressed to find a shrine with a location more striking than Udo Jingu.

To reach Miyazaki, you can either fly from Tokyo or Osaka, take the Kirishima limited express train from Kagoshima or grab a seat on one of the hourly buses that run from Fukuoka. While the attractions in Miyazaki are quite spread out, trains and city buses are popular options besides self-driving.