9 THEMES & 27 SPOTS of KIMOTSUKI in ENGLISH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2. Shijukusyo Shrine 四十九所神社

This shrine was founded in 984 (rebuilt in 2021) by Kaneyuki Ban, the founder of the Kimotsuki clan. The 900-year-old traditional horseback archery event Koyama Yabusame(designated a prefectural cultural asset) takes place every year on the third Sunday in October here. The archer is always a 14-year-old boy from the town.

3. Nikaido House 二階堂家住宅

The Nikaido House served as a Goshi (country samurai) residence after its construction around 1810. It is characterized by a two-winged structure and its goose-crossed hipped roof style, a feature prevalent in southern Kyushu architecture of the period. The “omote” wing was for receiving guests, and the “nakae” was for daily living. It is also the birthplace of politician Susumu Nikaido.

Entry fee: ¥300(Adult) ¥150(Child)
Closed: Mondays (except on holidays)

4. Townscape of the Samurai Era 麓・野町の町並み

   
The townscape and buildings from the time when the Satsuma clan ruled the area still remain here and there. “Fumoto” is the residential area of the samurai, and “Nomachi” is the residential area of the merchants. Because many of these places are still used as private residences, visitors are not allowed to see the inside of the buildings, but feel free to quietly enjoy the magnificent stone walls, samurai gates, Hokora (small, wayside shrines), and Shinto shrines along this street.

2. Shijukusyo Shrine 四十九所神社

This shrine was founded in 984 (rebuilt in 2021) by Kaneyuki Ban, the founder of the Kimotsuki clan. The 900-year-old traditional horseback archery event Koyama Yabusame(designated a prefectural cultural asset) takes place every year on the third Sunday in October here. The archer is always a 14-year-old boy from the town.

5. Jokoji Temple Ruins 盛光寺跡

The Jokoji Temple was founded in 1272 by Kaneishi Kimotsuki (the 5th generation) as the family grave temple of Kanekazu Kimotsuki (the 4th generation). It is the resting place of 12 generations Koyama Castle lords whose rule spanned 250 years: from Kaneshige (the 8th generation) to Yoshikane (the 17th generation). Three castle lords are missing. None of the original temple structure remains.

6. Koyama Castle Ruins 高山城跡

An impregnable mountain castle built in 1036, the Koyama Castle was the base of the Kimotsuki clan until they were forcibly relocated to Ata (present Minamisatsuma City) by the Shimazu clan. None of the original structures remain. It is designated as a National Historic Site.

7. Doryuji Temple Ruins 道隆寺跡

Founded in 1246 by the Zen Master Rankei Doryu under Kimotsuki Kanekazu (the 4th generation). Although the original structure no longer remains, it is a beautiful spot for viewing autumn leaves. Rankei Doryu later founded Kenchoji Temple, one of the most famous Zen temples in Kamakura.

 

9. Kimotsuki Museum of History and Folklore 肝付町立歴史民俗資料館

A museum where visitors can learn about the history and folklore of Kimotsuki Town. Artifacts excavated from the Tsukazaki burial mounds and old folk tools are on display.

Closed: Mondays, holidays, and Dec. 28- Jan. 4

11. Giant Camphor Tree in Tsukazaki 塚崎の大楠

This National Natural Monument is one of the largest camphor trees in the prefecture. With its roots down above the Tsukazaki Tomb No. 1, it is the sacred tree of the Tsukazaki Ōkusu Shrine. Looking at the trunk of the tree you can see a hole shaped like a heart! The tree is estimated to be over 1,300 years old. It is approximately 25 m tall with a trunk circumference of approximately 14 m.

10. Tsukazaki Kofun Cluster 塚崎古墳群


The Tsukazaki Kofun Cluster is a group of tumuli built in the 4th~5th century, the early Kofun period. It consists of 5 keyhole-shaped mounds and 54 circular mounds (39 still existing). Of these, burial mound No. 11 is the oldest burial mound in Osumi (a keyhole-shaped mound), and burial mound No. 51 is the southernmost keyhole-shaped mound in Japan. Most of the burial mounds are buried in a field, so earthenware and human bones are sometimes discovered during farming. It is thought that there may be an ancient king buried in one of the graves in that field. Stone pillars mark each burial mound. Designated as a National Historic Site.

16. Takaya Shrine 高屋神社

Takaya Shrine was established by Emperor Keiko, enshrining the deity from the tomb of Mt. Kunimi. Though this shrine has burned down twice, it has been beautifully rebuilt.

 

17. Tenshiyama 天子山

Tenshiyama marks the place where Emperor Keiko’s “Takayamiya” (the ruins of where the emperor was living) stood for 6 years. At the end of a mossy path surrounded by trees, the historic ruins still remain.

 

19. Kanodake Shrine 叶嶽神社

Kanodake Shrine is the site at which Emperor Keiko made his wish to conquer the Kumaso (the ancient people that resided in southern Kyushu at the time). After praying at this site, his conquest was successful. Located at the top of Mt. Kano, one can see a full view of Uchinoura from this shrine. You can buy the Itemaru Ema at the Kimotsuki Tourism Association.

21. Camphor Tree in Koda 小田の楠

This large tree that said to have taken root and grown from a walking stick forgotten by Emperor Keiko after an overnight stay in the village of Koda. The circumference of the truck is about 15.5mm, and the height is about 25m.

 

 

1. Epsilon Rocket Monument イプシロンロケットモニュメント

A 1:2.5 scale model installed at the town’s entrance in Kasanohara. Because it was donated by IHI Aerospace Corporation, also responsible for the design and manufacturing of the airframe system, itʼs super elaborate!

18. Mt. Kano Park 叶岳ふれあいの森

There are many places with rocket motifs all over Uchinoura, and this is one of them. Visitors can take commemorative photos with the observatoryʼs model rocket and a parabolic antenna in the distance. Thereʼs even a face cut-out where you can take photos as an astronaut.

22. JAXA Uchinoura Space Center JAXA 内之浦宇宙空間観測所


This rocket launch site is thought to be the “most loved launch site in the world” by the local community. It was constructed based on an idea from Dr. Hideo Itokawa, the father of Japanese space development. Uniquely, the entire facility is built to emphasize the surrounding mountain landscape. Since its establishment in 1962, more than 400 rockets of various sizes have taken off, including Japan’s first artificial satellite “OHSUMI” launched in 1970, the Epsilon rocket currently in operation, and scientific observation rockets.

22. JAXA Uchinoura Space Center JAXA 内之浦宇宙空間観測所

This rocket launch site was constructed by cutting through mountains to build plateaus and roads. The Hoshigaoka Observatoryʼs entire facility faces the Pacific Ocean, so, if weather conditions are favorable, you can see Tanegashima and Yakushima.

 

24. Kishira Beach 岸良海岸

White sand stretches across the coast. From May to June, sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. In August, this beach is the setting for the traditional Nagoshidon event (a Shinto traditional dance for the gods). Bathroom and shower facilities are available.

 

25. Kishira Observatory 岸良展望所

This observatory overlooks Kishira Beachʼs lapping waves with Mt. Kitadake towering in the background. The changing colors of the sea can be clearly seen depending on the weather and time of day.

 

27. The 10th Funama Bridge 第 10 船間橋

A bridge with a great view, hung high above the Funama village. As you drive down the hill, you feel as if you are about to be sucked into the Pacific Ocean.

 

 


3. Nikaido House 二階堂家住宅

The Nikaido House served as a Goshi (country samurai) residence after its construction around 1810. It is characterized by a two-winged structure and its goose-crossed hipped roof style, a feature prevalent in southern Kyushu architecture of the period. The “omote” wing was for receiving guests, and the “nakae” was for daily living. It is also the birthplace of politician Susumu Nikaido.

Entry fee: ¥300(Adult) ¥150(Child)
Closed: Mondays (except on holidays)

8. Kawakami Junior High School 川上中学校

This wooden school building was built in 1949 and closed in March 2020. The atmosphere of Kawakami, a mountain village with beautiful clear streams and rice paddies, makes one feel nostalgic. Visitors are free to view the outside of the school, but they are not allowed to enter the building. It is a registered tangible cultural property of Japan.

15. Kaizo Park 貝蔵ふれあいパーク

Located in a parking lot on Route 448, a model of OHSUMI, Japan’s first manmade satellite developed in Uchinoura, and the original automatic tracking antenna that first received radio waves from OHSUMI are on display.

 

22. JAXA Uchinoura Space Center JAXA 内之浦宇宙空間観測所

The Epsilon launch vehicle assembly room, with its exterior walls decorated with “Miura folds,” and the Space Science Museum, selected as one of the “145 DOCOMOMOMO in Japan,” were designed by architect Kiyoshi Ikebe.

 

2. Shijukusyo Shrine 四十九所神社

This shrine was rebuilt in May 2021. As the name implies, 49 gods are enshrined (in Japanese “shijuku” is 49). As it is the stage for Koyama Yabusame (horseback archery event), it may bring good fortune and success to those who come here to pray for their goals. The god of childbirth is also enshrined next to the front shrine.

11. Giant Camphor Tree in Tsukazaki 塚崎の大楠

A large 1300-year-old gigantic tree. It is rooted solidly above the Tsukazaki Tomb No. 1, and its branches and leaves are growing spiritedly. If you place your hand on the cool trunk and close your eyes, you will feel as if you are enveloped by its life force.

 

20. Kanae Bell 叶えの鐘

The bell hangs at the observation point overlooking Shibushi Bay at the Mt. Kano Park. The bell was installed in reference to the legend that Emperor Keiko made a prayer here then his request was granted.

26. Hetsuka Beach 辺塚海岸

The narrow, winding road leads to the secluded sandy beach, a magnificent ocean, and clear streams flowing from the towering mountains. At night, the sky is covered with stars! Let the power of nature refresh your body and soul at Hetsuka Beach.

 

12. Todoro Falls 轟の滝

At the end of narrow road that weaves through an area dense with homes is Todoro Falls. Among the trees, you can get a close-up view of the clear Arase River cascading over three tiers of monolithic rocks. Be sure to go downstream to the riverside for swimming!
There is a parking lot next to the falls, but the road leading to it is very narrow, so be careful!

13. Mt. Gongen 権現山

Towering behind Todoro Falls is the 320-meter-high Mt. Gongen. From National Route 448, you can take the winding mountain road and go up about 3 km to the entrance of Mure Shrine. Visitors can walk along the path through the forest to the mountain summit, but the trees cover most of the view at the top.

14. Kaizo Fortress Remains 海蔵砲台跡

Kaizo Fortress is one of the battle site remains located in Uchinoura. About 1km down a narrow dirt road from Route 448, this is the site of a double tochka (machine gun emplacement) that was constructed to intercept the Allied landing operations (Operation Olympic) in the early stages of the Pacific War. The war ended before it was used.

 

23. Nagatsubo Shelter 長坪シェルター

The building was a facility for evacuating residents for rocket launches. Designed by architect Kiyoshi Ikebe, it is based on the “Rouleau tetrahedron,” a combination of rounded triangles. The building is located at the end of a steep, narrow slope with a series of curves. Interior viewing is not permitted.