Being located in the almost tropical atmosphere of southeastern Kyushu, it is no wonder that many professional baseball teams choose to hold their training camps in Miyazaki. Its beautiful climate also allows the prefecture to rank 5th in agricultural production. Products like dried radish and Hyuganatsu, a type of citrus, boast first in the nation, while pork and beef production is also placed in the Top 3. Today we will introduce the best tourist attractions and local dishes of Miyazaki, many of which gained national fame due to the words of former governor Hideo Higashikokubaru, “Dogenkasentoikan (We need to do something),” a phrase which received Word of the Year.
Miyazaki is divided mainly into four areas.
① The Northern Area
In this area one can enjoy the majestic natural landscapes, such as the famous Takachiho Gorge, with its 100-meter-high cliff walls. It was designated as a national site of scenic beauty and a natural treasure in 1934. The beautiful and mysterious Manai Falls is another highlight. These falls have been designated as one of Japan’s Top 100 Waterfalls.
On the topic of food, it is said that in the 1960s, chicken nanban (fried chicken with Japanese-style sauce) was created in Nobeoka City. The good taste of the sauce’s sweetness and tartness properly harmonizing with gravy is familiar to many people.
② The Central Area
From the Great Teruha Suspension Bridge of Ayacho is one of the highest pedestrian bridges in the world at 142 meters. Many people enjoy the view of the broadleaf forest spreading underneath as if it were a beautiful green carpet.
The typical local dish of Miyazaki’s central area is hiyajiru. The typical way to prepare this is to flake the flesh away from the bone of fish such as horse mackerel, grind with sesame seeds and barley miso, dilute with iced water, add thin slices of cucumber and tofu, and pour over freshly cooked boiled barley and rice.
③ The Western Area
Ebino Plateau (the center of tourism in Kirishima) has the highest altitude among Kyushu’s hot-spring villages with an altitude of about 1200 meters, and was the first place to be designated as a National Park in Japan.
A traditional local dish of Miyakonojo Region is gane, mixed tempura with thinly sliced sweet potatoes, burdocks, carrots, and onions.
④ The Southern Area
This area is known for its tropical mood, complete with blue sky and shining sea, rows of palm trees along the road, and a plantation of hibiscus. There are many visual highlights from Aoshima to Toinomisaki, and is also a popular drive course. On the coast of Nichinan, the scenery of seven 5.5-meter-tall Moai statues, completely reproduced from Easter Island, harmonizes brilliantly with the blue sea. It is said that if you touch the statue on the very right, you will be lucky in academic endeavors. The second from the right is for your fate as concerning money, and the third from the left is for your fate concerning love.
The city of Nichinan ranks first in single-hook fishing of bonito. From this city of Nichinan, “Food Box of Roasted Single-hooked Bonito” made its debut as a new local cuisine in May 2010. This dish, served in a food box, includes two types of pickled bonito, roasted using charcoal brazier, on top of rice. It is the standard to finish with chazuke style (boiled rice with tea poured on) by pouring soup from a tea-pot.
When you visit Miyazaki, be sure to visit all its areas.