Endowed with tranquil resorts, enticing beaches and one of Japan’s warmest climates, Miyazaki Prefecture, on the south side of the island of Kyushu, plays its nature card with an open hand. The cruise port, Hososhima, is an older quarter of Hyuga, a city surrounded by beautiful beaches and parks. Surfers flock to its rugged coast, as do gawkers who prefer cliff-top views of the jagged edges of Hyuga Cape.
The prefecture’s most intact historic area is Mimitsu, a preservation district south of Hyuga that evokes 19th-century Japan with its prevalence of traditional buildings and cobblestoned streets. Japanese mythology plays out throughout the region at places like Omi Shrine, dedicated to the Japanese sun goddess, and Miyazaki Shrine, set on what was believed to be the birthplace of Japan’s mythical first emperor, Jimmu.
Miyazaki was a small provincial town until 1883, during the Meiji period, when it was chosen as the capital of the prefecture. Today, the city is a place of gardens and shrines and Japanese legends. Miyazaki also makes headlines for its world-famous Miyazaki beef, served at some of the city’s finer dining locales. The main artery, Tachibana-doji, is busy with boutiques, restaurants, cafés and a shopping arcade. The region’s history is on display at several museums and at the colorful festivals that take place at the shrines and other sites throughout the year.