Tucked away in the far corner of Kagoshima prefecture lies Kimotsuki, a town of roughly 15,000 people living along the Pacific coastline and sprinkled inland around the Kimotsuki Mountain Range. With more than 90% of the town consisting of mountains and forests, Kimotsuki is a natural haven where traditions of the past coexist with the present in harmony, and the future is only one step away.
Ancient traditions forgotten elsewhere in Japan continue to be treasured and passed down from generation to generation, coming alive in local festivals held throughout the year. Summertime is marked by Nagoshidon, a festival that takes place on the sandy shores of Kishira Beach and features traditional dances against the stunning backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. Koyama Yabusame is held in the fall, showcasing a Japanese style of horseback archery with roughly 900 years of history.
While preserving the practices of the past, Kimotsuki is always looking ahead. Home to the JAXA Uchinoura Space Center, the town saw Japan’s first-ever successful satellite launch in 1970 and has held hundreds of scientific launches since (most notably those of asteroid-explorer Hayabusa and the Epsilon rocket). The space center’s facilities are spread around several mountaintops, a distinctive set up for a launch site, and it has enjoyed deep love and support from the locals since its inception in 1962.
Scenic coastal areas, colorful festivals, breath-taking rocket launches—come explore Kimotsuki and discover the true heart of the Japanese countryside.