Satsuma Peninsula


The Satsuma Peninsula derives its name from the Satsuma Province ruled by the Shimazu Lords (daimyo 大名) for roughly four centuries. Most of Kagoshima Prefecture’s roughly 1.7 million population live on this western peninsula bordered by Kinko Bay to the east, and the Japan Sea to the west, and roughly 600,000 live in the prefectural capital Kagoshima City. The other major cities in Satsuma are Izumi in the north, Satsuma Sendai in the west, Aira in the east, Ibusuki and Minamikyushu in the southeast, and Minamisatsuma and Makurazaki in the southwest.

Most of the peninsula is fairly rural (inaka 田舎) with agriculture and fisheries playing a prominent role. While this means you may not find the shopping or entertainment districts of a big city, it does lend other advantages. Being a foreigner in the inaka makes you an instant celebrity. While the townspeople will be shy at first, you’ll soon have far more Japanese friends than your counterparts living in larger cities.