By Plane -- You can reach Kagoshima Airport (KOJ; www.koj-ab.co.jp) from Tokyo (flight time: 1 hr. 45 min.), Osaka (1 hr. 10 min.), and Sapporo (2 hr. 35 min.) in addition to several other cities in Japan. JAL one-way fares range from ¥14,600 for a 28-day advance purchase to ¥39,000 for a regular ticket. Skynet Asia Airways (toll-free tel. 0120/737-283; www.skynetasia.co.jp), offers four flights daily from Tokyo's Haneda Airport for ¥31,600 one-way (and as low as ¥12,600 for an advance-purchase ticket for certain flights). The airport is linked to Kagoshima Chuo Station in 1 hour by limousine bus, which departs every 10 to 15 minutes and costs ¥1,200.
By JR Train -- Thanks to the Kyushu Shinkansen Tsubame, which presently links Kagoshima with Shin-Yatsushiro but will stretch the entire length between Kagoshima and Fukuoka by 2011, travel time is approximately 8 1/2 hours from Tokyo (if you have a Rail Pass, travel time will be slower because you can't take the Nozomi), 5 hours from Osaka, 2 hours and 12 minutes from Fukuoka, and 1 hour from Kumamoto. Tickets from Tokyo cost ¥26,980 for an unreserved seat, ¥8,920 from Fukuoka, and ¥5,850 from Kumamoto. All trains travel to Kagoshima Chuo (Central) Station.
By Bus -- Buses connect Kyushu's cities more cheaply than the train. From Fukuoka's Tenjin Station, 24 buses depart daily and cost ¥5,300 one-way for the 4-hour trip.
Stop by the Tourist Information Centers in Tokyo or Narita or Kansai international airports to pick up the leaflet called "Kagoshima and Vicinity," which includes information on Ibusuki and Chiran, or download it from JNTO's website at www.jnto.go.jp by looking under "Browse by Destinations."
In Kagoshima, there's a Tourist Information Center at Kagoshima Chuo Station (tel. 099/253-2500; daily 8:30am-7pm) near the East Exit, as well as at the airport (tel. 0995/58-4686; daily 7am-9:15pm). They have good English-language maps and a hefty guide that covers everything from public transportation to recommended sightseeing itineraries.
The Kagoshima Prefectural Visitors Bureau is located on the first floor of the Sangyo Kaikan Building, 9-1 Meizan-cho (tel. 099/223-5771; Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:15pm), where you can obtain information on the city as well as the prefecture, including Ibusuki and Chiran. To find the office, take the streetcar to the Asahi-Dori stop and then walk southeast (toward the bay); the Sangyo Kaikan Building is on your left in the second block. More information is available at www.kagoshima-kankou.com/for.
Internet Access -- Comic Buster, 3-1 Chuo-cho (tel. 099/250-6369), is about a 1-minute walk to the left after exiting from Kagoshima Chuo Station's east exit, on the fourth floor next to Sunkus convenience store. Open 24 hours, it charges ¥120 for 30 minutes.
Mail & ATMs -- Kagoshima's main post office (tel. 099/252-4188), where you can send letters and packages and obtain cash through ATMs, is located just north of Kagoshima Chuo Station, past the Amu Plaza. Its ATMs are open Monday to Friday 7am to 11pm, Saturday 9am to 9pm, and Sunday 9am to 7pm.
Orientation & Getting Around
Downtown Kagoshima lies between Kagoshima Chuo Station with its adjacent Amu Plaza (a shopping, restaurant, and recreation complex -- you'll see the Ferris wheel on top) and Kinko Bay, northeast of the station, with Tenmonkan-Dori (a covered shopping street) serving as the heart of the city.
You can walk from the station to downtown in about 20 minutes, but the city is also easy to get around by streetcar and bus. There are two streetcar lines (fare: ¥160), as well as two types of buses -- City View buses and Kagoshima City buses. The Kagoshima City buses are regular buses used as commuter transportation by the people living here, while the City View buses are geared toward tourists. Running every 30 minutes from 9am to 5pm daily (to 5:30pm daily mid-July through Aug), City View buses look like old-time streetcars, have English-language announcements, and travel a 14km (9-mile) circuit through the city, beginning at Kagoshima Chuo Station (with departures on the hour and half-hour). They stop at all tourist sights, including Sengan-en, Sakurajima Ferry Terminal and Kagoshima Aquarium, and Tenmonkan covered shopping street. The fare is ¥180, half fare for children, and you pay when you get off. There is also a Night City View bus that operates to popular viewing spots around the city.
If you think you'll be doing a lot of traveling by streetcar and bus (including City View buses), invest in a 1-day pass for ¥600, half fare for children, allowing unlimited travel on Kagoshima's streetcars and on City View and Kagoshima City buses, plus slight discounts to the top attractions, including the ferry to Sakurajima and Sengan-en. Passes can be purchased at the Tourist Information Center in Kagoshima Chuo Station and aboard buses and streetcars.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.