Miyazaki is a blend of Hawaii and California in Japan. It is the place for all island lovers, especially if surfing is your thing. Miyazaki is home to some of the best surf spots in Japan and some of the best beef you will ever taste in your life! You often hear about Kobe beef overseas but damn, Miyazaki beef is SO underrated and you HAVE to try it at some point. It is also really peaceful on this side of Japan. Any prefecture on the Kyushu seems to be big on slow living.
A week and a half is a good amount of time to explore Miyazaki at your own pace. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself rushing through it like I did. There is so much to see if you love the outdoors. I spent a long weekend (3 days) in Miyazaki and solo explored it. I even got to hit some waves with FirstTrip Surf & Vintage (it was ¥6000 for an hour and a half).
They are awesome Surf instructors and Miyazaki guides! They answered all my questions prior to meeting them and took me around Miyazaki after our surf session.
Miyazakians are super friendly! I learned that the prefecture has quite a big farming industry just by being on its roads too (and of course correlating that observation with Google research) Here is a round up of what to do in Miyazaki:
I headed to Miyazaki city via bus + train and took a bus towards Aoshima Island. On route, I dropped off my luggage at Aoshima’s Fisherman’s Beachside Hostel & Spa. It was exceptionally clean! Only one member of staff (he is from the U.S.) could speak English but we managed to communicate with my minimal Japanese and the stay was very comfortable. Then, I headed to Udo-Jingu before Sun Messe Nichinan.
The Sun Messe statues are the only replicas allowed to be made of the originals on Easter Island in Eastern Polynesia in the entire world. When I arrived I learned that it was also an amusement park and that the entrance fee was ¥700. Its opening hours were 9.30 – 17.00, I was cutting it close after travelling from Kirishima to Miyazaki, eating, dropping off my luggage, … so know that and have that in mind.
It was definitely a cool thing to see once and you get a great view of the Nichinan coast.
Since it was such a short weekend, I only really had time for a day and a bit at Kirishima and I wish I had more. I managed to visit the Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park but did not have the opportunity to soak in its onsens/complete other hike trails so that’s what I’ll be up to next time. This National Park is stretched across two prefectures (Kagoshima and Miyazaki).
Highly recommended for those who love hiking and being near the mountains. I was pretty determined to see Shinmoedake volcano so I had to go. Not many people know of this volcanic mountain range too, so it’s a great escape. The views reminded me of the Lake District & the Scottish highlands! The volcanic craters were really blue too, and reminded me of Banff + Indonesia. I preferred this over the statues.
From Kagoshima, take either a local (1 hr for ¥840) or limited express train (50 mins for ¥1500) to Kirishima Jingu Station and take buses heading towards Kirishima National Park.
From Miyazaki, take a local (2.5 hrs for ¥1470) or limited express train (1.5 hrs for ¥3000) to Kirishima Jingu Station, and hop on to buses towards Kirishima National Park.
(Source: Japan-guide linked!)
Udo-jingū is also located on the Nichinan coast and was on the bus route. I actually visited Udo before the Sun Messe statues and probably should have done it the other way round with the time I had on hand. Udo is a Shinto shrine and is the mythical birthplace of Emperor Jimmu’s father Ugayafukiaezu.
It was absolutely breathtaking and I preferred this over the Sun Messe statues. I would come back to see this again instead of the Sun Messe so it’s ranked higher. Best part is it’s free!
After that little adventure along the Nichinan coast, I returned to Aoshima where I stayed the night. I explored the tiny island a little before my surf session the next morning. There is the Aoshima shrine that you could visit, and the Devil’s Washboard on the way to the Shrine.
Sunset at Devil’s Washboard
The next day I surfed at 宮崎市木崎浜 (Kisakihama Surf Point). It was a good spot to brush up surfing. The waves weren’t too big! Maki and Takeda from FirstTrip Surf picked me up.
Before leaving to Miyazaki, I grabbed hearty bowls of udon with Maki and Takeda too at Chutaro Teahouse 忠太郎茶屋. It’s their favourite udon spot after surfing. I concur! I also really like the Inari. They also recommended tons of izakaya which I’m sure I’ll hit up next time.
The last thing on this list is the Takachiho Gorge and I loved it the most! You can take a bus from Miyazaki city to Takachicho. The nearer you get to Takachiho, the more rural it will get, and the lower the frequency of buses. The bus stations look more and more sketchy too, but I came out okay.
Accommodation was such a hassle to find. If I had to do it again, I probably wouldn’t stay overnight. I would just wake up early have do a day trip. There is a lot to see but you could probably squeeze them all in because it is a relatively small place.
The gorge is a must-see! You can rent a boat for ¥2000 for 30 minutes (3 people max per boat) and they are open from 8.30 – 16.30 (untill 18.00 in the summer) daily. Here is more information.
Other things that you could do is do a small hike to the Amanoiwato Shrine. The Shrine is in a cave! The Takachiho Shrine and Amanoiwato Shrine Nishihongu are also a pretty big one. Mount Sabo is a beautiful hike in the morning, you can see the mountain top curtained by clouds in the morning from the base of the mountain. (All of these attractions can be found on Google, and visit the tourist information centre, they have maps + the staff are fluent in English). Everything is easier if you had a car though, public transport services are pretty limited and some command of Japanese would be useful in this small town. Overall, pretty worth it though!
I flew to Kagoshima from Osaka via Peach Air and from there I used buses and JR trains to travel from Kagoshima to Miyazaki and throughout Miyazaki. It was quite easy to get around although I had a little trouble finding accomodation and communicating with the hosts near Takachiho (you would need to have some command of the Japanese language to speak to the hosts there). Other than that, I had a pretty smooth journey and I genuinely loved Miyazaki. I loved the food, the people, being near the ocean, soaking up the sun… it was Okinawa 2.0 for me. Although I could’ve planned it better, I am grateful that the trip happened the way it did because it was still pretty rad.