Better Know a Ken: What is Miyazaki?

Miyazaki? What is that? Do you mean Hayao Miyazaki, the famous animator or perhaps his son, Gorou Miyazaki? Or perhaps you are more familiar with the words Hamasaki (Ayumi Hamasaki), or Miyagi? No, I meant Miyazaki, as in Miyazaki prefecture. Before I came to Japan, I also had no idea about this prefecture. Now, I would like to introduce you to wonderful Miyazaki Prefecture and all it has to offer.

Miyazaki prefecture is located on the eastern side of the island of Kyushu and has an ideal subtropical-temperate climate. When the word “Miyazaki” is spoken, a few things may come to mind. One may be Miyazaki beef, which is famous worldwide for its cuts of “Wagyu” beef from black-haired wagyu cattle. When you think of “Miyazaki”, you may think about Hideo Higashikokubaru, a well-known former Japanese comedian and the current governor of Miyazaki prefecture. Despite the recent spate of hoof and mouth disease, he still enjoys a high approval rating and is a big enthusiast of the many running races and marathons that take place in Miyazaki. Or perhaps, when you hear the word “Miyazaki”, you may think of cascading waterfalls, year-round flower gardens and shows, go stones, or perhaps the very origin of Japanese history and mythology. According to the Kojiki, Emperor Jimnu, the first emperor of Japan, was born in Miyazaki prefecture and later left from the land to travel to Nara to unify Japan. Also, Miyazaki is home to a large number of historical artifacts. The Saitobaru Burial mounds are one of the largest and best preserved area of tumuli burial mounds called kofun. These kofun are shaped like a large keyhole-shaped hill and the area is registered as a National Special Historic site. Miyazaki is also a home of the Haniwa culture from the Kofun Period of Japan. A large park with the statues is located in Miyazaki city at Heiwadai Park, located next to the monument built during World War II to commemorate Emperor Jimnu. Miyazaki, however, is much more than history or a person. .

If you are looking for a place of natural beauty, look no further than Miyazaki prefecture. Miyazaki is a prime place for a variety of outdoor activities from hiking and camping to paragliding and surfing. A must see place in Miyazaki is the Takachiho waterfall. Located up in the northern highlands of Miyazaki on the way to Kumamoto prefecture, Takachiho is a land of beautiful waterfalls, mountain passes, and ancient history. For a small fee, you can rent a rowboat to row a boat directly to the bottom of the falls. With natural beauty, Miyazaki is well-known for the many different flowers that bloom year-round. Two big places for flower viewing are Saitobaru and Florante Miyazaki. Saitobaru, though famous for the kofun burial mounds, is also one of the best hanami areas. Throughout the year, the fields of Saitobaru are also used to grow a variety of flowers depending on the season. All four seasons have different species of flowers in full bloom. The other major place in Miyazaki for flower viewing is Florante Miyazaki and the Miyazaki Flower Festa. Florante Miyazaki is a large indoor and outdoor flower garden located in Miyazaki city right next to the Seagaia Ocean Resort, which boasted the world’s largest indoor water park. Florante has a number of flowers on display and laid out in model gardens for home. The flowers change with the season. The Miyazaki Flower Festa is the largest flower festival in Miyazaki prefecture. It takes place throughout the entire prefecture in the springtime. Experiencing nature in Miyazaki, however, goes beyond flowers. Miyazaki is part of the Kushima natural park and has excellent hiking and camping areas. Or, perhaps you are maybe more of an ocean person. Miyazaki is well-known in Japan and the world for its excellent surfing beaches. Beaches like Aoshima, Kanegahama, and Okuragahama are a few examples of the many fine surfing beaches in Miyazaki.

So, do you now have a good idea of what Miyazaki Prefecture is? All that has been mentioned is just a small part of Miyazaki. If you can, come and visit! Come and experience Miyazaki!

Nicholas Anderson is a prefectural ALT based in Hyuga City, Miyazaki Prefecture. He is currently a member of the Miyazaki AJET Group.

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