3月 27, 2019
The 10 Best Must-Buy Souvenirs in Kagoshima, Japan
Haven’t you struggled to find a souvenir at the station, airport or sightseeing place, when you are on a trip in Kagoshima? In Kagoshima, there are so many things to choose from such as sweets, traditional crafts, drinks and sea-products. It is an enjoyable time to choose some souvenirs which may please recipients, thinking of them to whom you will give the souvenirs. But when you actually buy something, you may be indecisive. So, I’m introducing some items which must be right for you to buy. Please refer to them.
1. The standard souvenir from Kagoshima! The famous product [Satsuma-shochu]
If you say “sake” in the Kyushu region, it points to shochu (alcoholic spirit distilled from sweet potatoes). In Kagoshima, the “Imo-shochu” (alcoholic spirit distilled from yam) is famous, isn’t it? Do you know [Satsuma-shochu]? Satsuma (Kagoshima) is one of the appointed production areas based on the agreement of the World Trade Organization. It is the brand limited to the area. On a global scale, the geographical indication is allowed for limited production, such as Cognac for brandy, Scotch for whiskey and Bordeaux for wine. So is Satsuma for shochu.
The brand which has a pride of place in the world is [Satsuma-shochu]. The requirements for the appointed production area are that it should be produced in the Kagoshima prefecture (except the Ohshima-county in the Nase-city), a single type distillation machine should be used and also the sweet potatoes, water malted rice and malted potato produced in the Kagoshima prefecture should be used.
If the souvenir is for a person who likes shochu, the [Kuro Isanishiki] produced by the Ohkuchi Shuzo might be a good one. The Kuro-koji (black bacterium) is used and the special richness, gorgeous fragrance and mellow palatable taste are the secrets of its popularity. You can watch the producing process of the [Kuro Isanishiki] on reservation. You may want to recommend it more to people, once you have actually watched it.
Ohkuchi Shuzo Kabushikigaisha
Address: 643 Ohkuchiharada Isa-city Kagoshima prefecture
2. The local sweet in Kagoshima! The addictive item for a souvenir [Getanha]
The [Getanha] means the “ha” (protruding portions for touching the ground of “geta”=Japanese wooden clogs) and it is a local Kagoshima sweet since a long time ago. As the shape of the sweet looks like a “ha” of “geta”, it has been called [Getanha] in the Kagoshima dialect. It is a conventional simple plain sweet, using wheat flour produced in the Kyushu region, raw sugar and eggs.
Make a dough from these ingredients, stretch it into a board shape and bake it. And then, cut it into the trapezoidal shape and soak it into the raw sugar syrup. The surface is crispy and the inside is fluffy. It resembles “Kurobo”, but [Getanha] has more moisture. It never looks gorgeous, but it will give you an addictive texture, once you eat it. It is suitable for a souvenir!
Address: 4-13-15 Ishiki Kagoshima-city Kagoshima prefecture
3. The famous Kagoshima product for a souvenir! [Katsuo Chanja]
Makurazaki in the Kagoshima prefecture is well known for katsuo (bonito) and katsuo-bushi (dried bonito). The [Katsuo Chanja] is a product, using the insides of a bonito and has a similar flavour as the shiokara (paste made from salted fermented seafood) rather than general Chanja. So, it suits people who like salty foods. Based on the Gochujang (Korean red chili paste), a score of herbs and seasonings on the top of the broad-bean chili paste, garlic, ginger, onion have all been soaked together.
It has the sweetness along with the chili and salty taste. You can put it on the hot rice or dip the vegetables in it. It goes very well with the [Imo-shochu] and the cold tofu topped with it will be a nice nibble. The [Chinmi Kago-ya] has been selling various other things such as Japanese sweets and pickles, so if you visit this shop, your searching for a souvenir will be sorted out!
Address: 5-8-2 Takeoka Kagoshima-city Kagoshima prefecture
Time: 10:00 ~ 18:00
Close: open throughout the year
Map: map to Chinmi Kago-ya
4. The item, using the black vinegar made by the conventional method [Kurosudaki Kurobuta Kakuni]
The kurosu (black vinegar) making has been in use since a long time ago in Fukuyamacho in the Kagoshima prefecture. It is a special method, called [Kametsubo-jikomi] which is suited to the mild climate and natural features of Fukuyamacho. Its history goes back to 2,000 years ago. Maturing and fermentation is done, taking one year and a half and the artisan is making it into the proud top-class quality black vinegar, using his skill and long-term experience.
In the town, there are many makers, but I’m introducing the [Kurozu-ya] which has been selling various goods using the kurosu. It started its business in 1805, as [Shigehisa Moriichi Su Jozosho] and they have been cultivating unpolished rice since the food shortage in the post-war period and they have still been keeping its tradition.
For people who are not keen on the sourness of drinks, the [Kurosudaki Kurobuta Kakuni] is recommended. It is a kakuni (sweet and tender simmered pork), using the pork ribs of the black pig reared in the Kagoshima prefecture and the special sauce with the moderate acidic taste of the kurosu.
When you warm it up and top it on the warm rice, it will be a “donburi” (rice bowl) or you can eat it as it is as a nibble. Let’s buy one at the kiosk in the airport or the souvenir shop!
Address: 2713 Fukuyama Fukuyamacho Kirishima-city Kagoshima prefecture
5. The famous product which represents Kagoshima as a souvenir [Sakurajima-daikon-no-tsukemono]
The Sakurajima-daikon (radish) which is the famous product from Kagoshima has been registered in the Guinness Book as to its size as the world’s largest. It has been cultivated since 200 years ago and the normal size is 6kg, the large one is 30kg. It is not tasteless as generally people say, it is soft and sweet which is different from its appearance. Locally, they eat it as the simmered radish or pickled one. You can buy the processed Sakurajima-daikon in the Products Hall of the [Michi-no-eki Sakurajima Hi-no-shima Megumi-kan] near the Sakurajima ferry terminal. Its arrangement seems to be the best in Japan. You can’t buy these at any other place.
At its best season, they are selling one whole radish as well as the cut ones. At the attached restaurant, the menus which are particular about the vegetables and fish produced in Sakurajima or the Kagoshima prefecture, starting with the Sakurajima-daikon are all prepared. Please stop and drop in at the shop when you visit Sakurajima.
Michi-no-eki Sakurajima Hi-no-shima Megumi-kan
Address: 1722-48 Sakurajima Yokoyamacho Kagoshima-city Kagoshima prefecture
Map: map to Michi-no-eki Sakurajima Hi-no-shima Megumi-kan
6. The traditional sweet in Kagoshima [Karukan-manju] which is suitable for a souvenir
The traditional sweet in Kagoshima is definitely [Karukan]. It has been made for a long time, since the Edo-era. Plenty of high quality Japanese yam is used as its ingredient and nowadays, the Karukan-manju in which the bean-jam is stuffed is very popular. There are a few makers in the Kagoshima prefecture and the price as well as the flavour is different depending on the maker.
The Akashi-ya and Joki-ya are well known for [Karukan] , but some people are crazy about the [Karukan-manju] from Tora-ya. It started its business in 1884 and they have been making them , putting some alterations to the traditional way as well as the skill which has been handed down.
The [Karukan] made with fluffy texture and less-sweet bean-jam, using the carefully selected local Japanese yam and the natural water from Kirishima will make you be addictive. They have the half-moon shaped [Sosaku Nama Karukan] which has more moisture than the conventional one. Please buy some as your souvenir.
Satsuma Kashidokoro Tora-ya (Kiriya Sakuraya)
Address: 456-1 Kokubunoguchinishi Kirishima-city Kagoshima prefecture
Time: 9:00 ~ 20:00
Map: map to Satsuma Kashidokoro Tora-ya (Kiriya Sakuraya)
7. This is what the Kagoshima prefecture represents! You may want to taste it just once! [Satumaage (Tsukeage)]
I wonder if you have already tasted one on your trip to Kagoshima. It is used of course not only for the oden (Japanese-styled stew) and simmered dish but also the stir-fried vegetables. There are various accounts of satsumaage, such as it originally came from China through Ryukyu (Korea) or the 28th Satsuma feudal lord, Nariakira Shimazu invented it as a preserved dish, getting a hint from the hanpen (fish minced and steamed) and kamaboko (boiled fish paste).
The [satsumaage] is also called [tsukeage] and it has been said that the Ryukyu cooking, chikiagi has been corrupted to pronounce [tsukeage]. There are many satsumaage makers in the Kagoshima prefecture, but the [Kanba kamaboko-shop] which has its head-shop in Kushikino where the [tsukeage] had been originated is recommended. It started producing and selling [tsukeage] and [kamaboko] since 1971 and it is a locally very popular shop.
It is delicious as it is, but you can warm it up in an oven, cut and stir-fry with some vegetables or put it in oden (Japanese-styled stew) or simmered dish. Lets’ buy some of them as souvenirs and for ourselves as well. On a booking base, you can watch the process of its production, so it could be fun to take part in it with your child.
Kanba Kamaboko-ten (Honsha chokueiten)
Address: 40 Asahimachi Ichikikushikino-city Kagoshima prefecture
Time: 8:00 ~ 18:30
Close: 1st January
Map: map to Kanba Kamaboko-ten (Honsha chokueiten)
8. The product blessed by the sea! It is suitable for a nibble when you enjoy an alcoholic drink [Koijaddo]
The most fatty entrails with skin of the bonitos which had been landed at the Yamagawa port in Ibusuki in the Kagoshima prefecture have been smoked. They go extremely well with shochu as well as with rice. [Koijaddo] means [This is the one!] in the Kagoshima dialect and as a souvenir case, it is exactly, [This is the one!]. The Yamagawa port has a prominent haul of the bonitos nationwide along with the Makurazaki port.
Most of the bonitos are processed and their entrails with skin are wasted in the process. However, throwing away the most fatty part, so to speak, “toro” is such a waste! Then the [Koijaddo] was created, using them. After steaming and seasoning them with the soy-sauce and sugar, they are smoked. They are delicious to eat as they are, but they will become more delicious when they are warmed up in the hot water or oven, put straight in with the vacuum seal. Please buy some and try them!
Address: 1956-3 Nishikata Ibusuki-city Kagoshima prefecture
Map: map to Satsumaage Yamato-ya
9. To tell you the truth, it is a famous place for the production of green-tea The Japanese green-tea in Kagoshima [Satsuma Homare]
The quality of production has become the proud 2nd in Japan next to the Shizuoka prefecture. About 30% of the nation-wide quantity of production is produced in the Kagoshima prefecture. The tea plants have been cultivated in various places such as Chiran, Ariake, Kirishima, Kanoya and Takarabe. Because of this reason, the number of the speciality shops selling green-tea is large and nowadays, the Nihon-cha (Japanese green-tea) cafés are popular.
You can buy the highest quality green-tea at the [Ocha-no Birouen] with its proud 130-year-history, as they have been buying them directly from the contracted farmers in the Kagoshima prefecture. Among them, the representative brand, [Satsuma Homare] has been produced from the carefully selected ichiban-cha (first picked tea-leaves) produced in the Kagoshima prefecture. They are kept in the fridge in their company after picking and being processed in their own factory. The colour of the tea-water, flavour and fragrance are all well harmonised and it gives you a very relaxing effect when you want to breathe a sigh of relief.
If you give it together with a tea-pot and a tea-cup for a person who hardly has a chance to drink Japanese green-tea, it will surely please them! At the head-shop of the [Ocha-no Birouen], there is a Japanese sweets corner. Why don’t you drop in there during your trip in Kagoshima?
Address: 5-2 Nakamachi Kagoshima-city Kagoshima prefecture (Honten)
Time: 10:00 ~ 19:00
Map: map to Ocha-no Birouen
10. The cute look is just right for a souvenir! [Kurobuta-samurai]
If the person you are giving to is pleased, you’ll be pleased as well, won’t you? If you are looking for such a souvenir, the [Kurobuta-samurai] is recommended. When one opens the package, one smiles unconsciously because of the cute look of them. In the box, there are nikuman (steamed bun with meat filling) with a black-pig face as a motif!
The bamboo charcoal has been kneaded into the dough to make it black and the paste made, using the black pork meat, Chinese cabbage, shiitake-mushroom and bamboo-shoot are stuffed inside.
It received the First Prize, Kenchiji (prefectural governor) Award in the [Kagoshima New Special Product Contest] held in 2009. It is fully-fledged not only in appearance but also in taste. It is no wonder because the inventor was the famous Kurobuta (black pig) -tonkatsu (pork cutlet) shop, [Kurobuta-tei]. It looks too cute to eat, but the chewy dough and the juicy paste is exquisite! Don’t forget to buy some for yourself.
Address: 2-2 Yamashitacho Kagoshima-city Kagoshima prefecture
Time: 11:00 ~ 15:30 / 17:00 ~ 23:00
Close: the end & beginning of the year
Map: map to Kurokatsu-tei (Tenmonkan-ten)
Let’s find a souvenir in Kagoshima which will please the recipient.
Was this article helpful for you? It is difficult to choose souvenirs for your family, friend, colleagues and yourself, but it’s enjoyable at the same time, isn’t it? I’ve picked up various items which will be suitable from, for distributing at your company to for your precious one. Please choose, thinking of the recipient. I hope your choosing souvenir time will be a fulfilling and an enjoyable one!