Miyazaki Travel Guide
The summer months are easily the most uncomfortable time to visit Japan. Temperatures soar well above 30 degrees Celsius, along with the humidity.
Paired together, they make anywhere that isn’t air conditioned a miserable place to be.
However, some degree of exposure to these moist conditions is unavoidable. During this season, the Japanese seek relief by heading to the beach – the ones in Miyazaki Prefecture are hotly sought out, as their off-white sand, geological wonders, and cool shrines make it a getaway that has it all.
Come check out our Miyazaki visitor travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Miyazaki, Japan.
Although a trip to Miyazaki is typically associated with time on the beach, we advise setting aside time to see Aoshima Island first. Long ago, this isle, which was primarily focused on fishing, brought in cats to deal with a rodent infestation.
The problem was quickly dealt with, but then, the feline visitors began to reproduce – before long, they greatly outnumbered the human residents. In the modern age of the internet, word of this place got out, and soon, boat after boat of cat enthusiasts came to see them.
The locals take good care of the cats, as they are regularly fed cat food (and the occasional fish). Treat the cats with respect, and the small community where they live – by doing so, you’ll ensure this purr-fect attraction stays open for years to come.
There is a pair of Shinto holy places worth seeing in the Miyasaki area. Start with Miyazaki-jingu – located in the heart of Miyasaki Town, it is dedicated to Emperor Jimmu, who is said to have been the first Emperor of Japan, according to oral tradition.
Per local legend, this shrine could be more than 2,600 years old – setting debates about its age aside, the site today is situated in a stunning spot, surrounded by subtropical forest. If you are lucky, you may get a chance to take in a contest of yabusame – the ancient art of horseback archery, it is a remarkable display of athleticism you won’t want to miss.
Before enjoying a sun-soaked day at the beach, check out Aoshima Shrine. Situated on another Aoshima Island (not the cat one we just talked about) near the main beach area in Miyazaki, it is painted in a brilliant shade of red.
Encircled by jungle, this quiet spot is a place of repose in an area known for its tourist activity. After enjoying the main building, head on a path through the jungle to a smaller structure associated with the shrine. Here, you’ll get an opportunity to throw clay disks at an object – if you hit it, it is supposed to be an omen for good luck.
Elsewhere on Aoshima Island, there is a rock formation known as Onino-Sentakuita. Known in English as the ‘Devil’s Washboard’, this geological wonder was dubbed a Natural Treasure of Japan in 1934. What makes this attraction so unique is that the ridges formed by the hard rock are virtually parallel to each other. Stretching for eight kilometres along the coast, it is a remarkable sight that any avowed rock hound needs to see on their trip to Miyazaki.
To be clear, there’s no way in the world you would ever mistake Miyazaki for Easter Island. Yet, thousands of kilometres away from the Chilean island, you’ll find seven nearly identical replica statues of the Moai at a theme park called Sun Messe Nichinan.
It is the only place on Earth that has been given official permission from the Chilean government to produce replicas of the Moai. You may see local tourists praying in front of these statues – according to local lore, the Moai offer blessings for love, health, and money matters.
Those looking for some outstanding photographic opportunities in the Miyazaki area will want to rent a car and head up to Horikiri Pass. Take Route 220 and before long, you’ll ascend sixty metres above sea level – this will give you stunning views out over the blue Pacific, the parallel rock formations discussed earlier, and stands of stunning Phoenix palm trees.
After this, kick back and relax on the sands of Aoshima Beach. Popular among swimmers and sunbathers, it also gets a good enough swell on certain days to allow surfing as well. Crowded with domestic tourists in the humid months of July and August, it also hosts a pair of festivals (Sea Crossing and a beer festival) that makes dealing with throngs of people worth the bother.
Disappointed that torrential rain washed out your beach day? Head to Aeon Mall Miyazaki instead. In addition to a slew of stores popular in Japan and around the world, there are a variety of dining options and a multiplex theatre chain.