Kagoshima, Kagoshima

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Kagoshima (鹿児島市 Kagoshima-shi?) is the capital city of Kagoshima Prefecture at the southwestern tip of the Kyūshū island of Japan, and the largest city in the prefecture by some margin. It has been nicknamed the "Naples of the Eastern world" for its bay location (Aira Caldera), hot climate and impressive stratovolcano, Sakurajima.

As of 1 January 2010, the city had an estimated population of 605,855 and a density of 1,107.49 persons per km². The total area is 546.71 km². In 2003, the city had an estimated population of only 554,136 and density of 1,911.41 persons per km². The total area was 289.91 km².

The city's total area nearly doubled between 2003 and 2005 as a result of five towns—the towns of Kōriyama and Matsumoto, both from Hioki District, the town of Kiire, from Ibusuki District, and the towns of Sakurajima and Yoshida, both from Kagoshima District—merging into Kagoshima on November 1, 2004.

Kagoshima is approximately 40 minutes from Kagoshima Airport, and the city features large shopping districts and malls, is served by trams, and has many restaurants featuring Satsuma Province regional cuisine: kibi (a kind of tiny fish), tonkatsu (caramelized pork, as opposed to the breaded version encountered elsewhere in Japan), smoked eel, and karukan (sweet cakes made from steamed yams and rice flour). A large, modern aquarium has been installed on the old docks overlooking the volcano. The Senganen (Isoteien) Japanese garden is just outside the city.

The St. Xavier church is a reminder of the first Christians who came to Japan.

One of the best places to see the city (and the active volcano across the bay) is from the Amuran Ferris wheel on top of Amu Plaza Kagoshima, the shopping centre attached to the main Kagoshima-Chūō Station.

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