The city of Ibusuki is located on the south-eastern tip of the Satsuma Peninsula in Kagoshima Prefecture on the island of Kyushu. The area is often referred to as the Hawaii of Japan due to its tropical weather and peaceful atmosphere. Initially founded in 1954, the towns of Kaimon and Yamagawa were merged into Ibusuki in early 2006 to expand the city.
Ibusuki’s most famous attraction is its natural hot springs beneath the sand called sunamushi. During this spa treatment, visitors are buried in sand that is heated by natural subterranean geysers for 15-20 minutes. Not only is it relaxing, but the weight and heat of the sand is said to improve blood circulation. Visitors from across Japan and indeed the world flock to these naturally revitalizing sands to enjoy the wide array of physical and psychological benefits that supposedly come with laying in the seemingly magical sands.
Another major drawing card to Ibusuki is Flower Park Kagoshima - a flower theme park at Cape Nagasakibana that is home to over 400 species of plants, sourced both locally and internationally from countries such as Australia, Brazil, and South America. Cape Nagasakibana is also home to Nagasakibana Parking Garden, which displays both tropical and botanical plants, as well as tropical animals such as lemurs, flamingos, squirrels, and monkeys.
The cape also boasts a scenic view of Kaimondake or Mt. Kaimon, a volcano that sits at 924 m above sea level. It bears a resemblance to the cone-like structure of Mount Fuji and is therefore commonly referred to as Satsuma Fuji. There are accessible hiking trails around the mountain that take between four and six hours to complete. On clearer days, hikers can enjoy views of Tanegashima Island, Yakushima Island, and Ioujima Island from the top of Kaimondake.
West of Ibusuki City is Lake Ikeda, the largest crater lake in Kyushu. It has a shoreline of 15 km, a depth of 223m and a total surface area of 11km2 and was formed more than 6,400 years ago courtesy of volcanic activity from Kaimondake. The lake does not connect to the ocean and relies on rainfall and precipitation to maintain its water levels. Lake Ikeda is also rumored to be the home of Issie, a large water monster similar to Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster.
The closest airport to Ibusuki is Kagoshima Airport, with local flights operating from Tokyo and Osaka, as well as international flights. The one-way trip from Kagoshima Airport to Ibusuki Station costs 2,250 yen. From Kagoshima Airport, take the Kagoshima-Airport Limousine Bus towards Kagoshima Chuo Eki to Kagoshima Central Station. Walk to Kagoshima Chuo Station and take the Ibusuki Makurazaki Line towards Yamakawa to Ibusuki Station.
NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR