1,448km (900 miles) SW of Tokyo; 407km (254 miles) SE of Fukuoka; 126km (79 miles) W of Kagoshima

The capital of Miyazaki Prefecture, Miyazaki City is one of the largest (pop. 368,000) and most important cities in southern Kyushu. As all Japanese schoolchildren know, it boasts several famous sites relating to Japan's first emperor, Jimmu. Yet it seems isolated, even somewhat neglected, by the rest of Japan. Tokyo is far away, and Japanese honeymooners, who only a few decades ago favored Miyazaki over most other domestic destinations, are now flocking to Hawaii and Australia.

To counter its downward spiral into touristic oblivion, in the 1990s Miyazaki developed a large resort called Seagaia on its wooded outskirts, complete with hotels, golf courses, a zoo, and other attractions. But beyond that, Miyazaki is a perfect place to relax, get in some rounds of golf, and savor local delicacies. Temperatures here are the third warmest in Japan after Okinawa's and Kagoshima's (it shares the same approximate latitude with Jerusalem and San Diego), and flowers bloom throughout the year. The natives are warm and kind, maybe because they still don't see many foreigners here, particularly Westerners.