Beautiful landscape with flowers and trees in Sengan-en, Kagoshima, Japan.
Step back in time at Sengan-en, a sprawling samurai estate originally built in the 17th century that offers breathtaking garden views of the bay and Sakurajima puffing in the distance. The villa here was built out of Yakushima cedar trees over 1,000 years old; it's perfect place to try traditional Japanese green tea and chocolate sweets.
Head to Shiroyama Lookout, a hillside park overlooking the city. Heads up, history buffs: This was the site of the final battle of the Satsuma Rebellion, in which the last samurai, Saigo Takamori, met his end. Cruise to Kagoshima and check out Reimeikan Museum at the foot of the hill, based on the remains of a fort that once stood here.
Cuisine in Kagoshima centers around kurobuta, or "black pork" — it comes from a black-haired breed of heritage pig that produces meat with a delicate, sweet flavor. Try the good stuff shabu-shabu hot pot style, wash it down with a cup of shochu, a distilled liquor from southern Japan that's often made with sweet potato, barley, sugar cane and buckwheat.
Head over to the Tenmonkan district for unique Kagoshima goods, including handmade Satsumakiriko cut glass, Satsumayaki porcelain vases and bowls, Oshima tsumugi textiles and other handicrafts from Kagoshima and the Ryukyu Islands to the south. Tenmonkan shops also offer different varieties of shochu.
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