Local Kagoshima products include oshima tsumugi, beautiful silk made into such items as clothing, handbags, and wallets; shochu, an alcoholic drink made from such ingredients as sweet potatoes and drunk on the rocks or mixed with hot or cold water; furniture, statues, and chests made from yaku cedar; and Satsuma pottery -- probably Kagoshima's most famous product. It has been produced in the Kagoshima area for more than 380 years. Satsuma pottery comes in two styles: black and white. White Satsuma pottery is more elegant, thus it was used by former lords; the black pottery was used by the townspeople in everyday life.
A good place to shop for local items is the Kagoshima Brands Shop, downtown in the Sangyo Kaikan Building (the same building housing the Kagoshima Prefectural Visitors Bureau) at 9-1 Meizan-cho (tel. 099/225-6120; daily 9am-6pm, closed the first and third Sun of the month). This one-room shop offers tinware, handmade knives, Satsuma pottery, glassware, oshima tsumugi, yaku cedar, shochu, and other locally made items. To reach it, take the streetcar to the Asahi-Dori stop, from which the shop is a 1-minute walk away toward the bay.
The most famous cake of Kagoshima (the one all Japanese tourists must buy before returning home) is karukan, a delicious spongy white cake made from rice, with Chinese and Korean origins. The most famous maker of karukan today is Akashiya, 4-16 Kinseicho (tel. 099/226-0431; daily 9am-7pm), which began selling the cakes 160 years ago. It has the solemnity of a first-rate jewelry store and is just as refined. It's located on the side street to the right of Yamakataya department store, a 1-minute walk from the Asahi-Dori streetcar stop. Although cakes are now available made with an anko (sweet red-bean paste) center, old-timers insist that only the plain white square ones (¥ 189 for a small, good snack) are the real thing.
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.