Exploring Miyazaki Prefecture: A Guide to Japan’s Natural and Cultural Wonders
Miyazaki Prefecture is located in the southeastern area of Kyushu, with Oita Prefecture to the north, Kumamoto Prefecture to the west over the Kyushu Mountains, Kagoshima Prefecture to the southwest, and the Pacific Ocean to the east. It is known as “Hyuga no Kuni,” or “the country that faces the sun,” due to its position to catch the sunrise. The prefecture is also named “Miyazaki” due to legends about Japan’s first emperor, Jinmu Tennou, and the possibility that his palace, or “miya,” may have been located in or around this area.
The total area of Natural Parks in Miyazaki, including Kirishima Kinkou Beach National Park and four Quasi-National Parks (Nichinan Coast, Sobokatamuki, Nippo Coast, Kyushu Central Mountains), is 91,919 hectares, or about 12% of the land in the prefecture. Additionally, there are 105 hectares of designated marine park areas. Miyazaki also has two sites, Aya (2014) and Sobo Katamuki Okue (2017), registered as UNESCO Eco Parks. These parks represent model areas that have rich ecosystems and promote sustainable economic activities utilizing local natural resources.
Miyazaki Prefecture’s administrative division includes nine cities: Miyazaki, Miyakonojo, Nobeoka, Nichinan, Kobayashi, Hyuga, Kushima, Saito, and Ebino; and six counties: Kita-morokata, Nishi-morokata, Higashi-morokata, Koyu, Higashi-Usuki, and Nishi-Usuki. These six counties are comprised of fourteen towns and three villages.
Miyazaki Prefecture is known for its mild climate, with an average temperature of 17.4℃, the third warmest in Japan, and 2,116 hours of sunshine per year, the third most in Japan. It also has 52.7 blue sky days per year, the second most in Japan. This mild climate and abundance of sports facilities have led to the initiative “Sports Land Miyazaki,” and the prefecture regularly hosts training camps for professional baseball and soccer teams. In 2019, Miyazaki also hosted the ISA World Surfing Games and served as the official training camp location for the Japan and UK national rugby teams during the Rugby World Cup.
Miyazaki is a popular destination for golfers, who can enjoy the sport throughout the year. There are three golf tournaments held in Miyazaki City: the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament, the LPGA Tour Championship Ricoh Cup at the Miyazaki Country Club, and the AXA Ladies Golf Tournament.
Miyazaki Prefecture also has a rich history and cultural heritage, as demonstrated by the “Roots of Japan - to the origin of myths” guide, which introduces ancient ruins and historic sites cited in the Kojiki and Nihon shoki, Japan’s oldest records of ancient matters compiled in 712 and 720. There are over 200 stories of Kagura in Miyazaki, and at Takachiho Shrine, Kagura dances are performed every night for tourists.
Visitors to Miyazaki Prefecture can easily travel around using the VISIT MIYAZAKI BUS PASS, which allows for unlimited travel on Miyazaki Koutsu city buses for 1,500 JPY per day. The pass is a convenient option for travel to popular tourist destinations such as Takachiho and Nichinan. The prefecture is also easily accessible by train from the Miyazaki airport, which is connected to a JR Kyushu station.