Kagoshima Prefecture is a place with a great variety of souvenirs ranging from traditional confectionery and local specialties, to artisanal objects. This time, we would love to talk about 5 great items you might want as souvenirs.
Karukan is a traditional confection in Kagoshima that is made using only Japanese yam, rice flour, and sugar. It is believed that it was first created using by the team of pastry experts of Nariakira Shimazu, the famous lord of Satsuma domain in the 19th century. Karukan features a soft outer layer and a subtly sweet taste. New variations like Karukan bun and Karukan jelly are becoming more widely available and popular as well.
Karukan is available in many confectionery stores in the prefecture, and “AKASHIYA” and “SATSUMA JOKIYA”, are particularly popular. Prices range from about 2,000 yen to 5,000 yen, depending on the number of pieces.
Akumaki Rice Dumpling
Akumaki is a local dish made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves and simmered for hours in lye water. It was commonly believed that the army of Yoshihiro Shimazu, a warrior of the Satsuma domain in late 16th century first prepared akumaki as a military provisions. It is soft and somewhat sticky; usually, it is eaten with kinako (toasted soybean flour) or white sugar as it has almost not taste of its own.
Akumaki can be found at supermarkets in Kagoshima, as well as in confectionery shops such “Umekiya”. A box of three costs a reasonable 2,000 yen.
Kurozu Black Vinegar
Kurozu is a local specialty of Fukuyama district of Kirishima city- the home for the ingredients of black vinegar, which are high-grade rice and spring water, together with the warm climate. In Fukuyama, the traditional manufacturing process has been passed down from generation to generation for over 200 years to make vinegar with its beautiful amber color and great fragrance. Visitors can enjoy the distinctive taste of the bottled vinegar, or variations like vinegar confections.
It is highly recommended to visit “the village of kurozu vinegar, KAKUIDA” or “Sakamoto’s Kurozu Tsubobatake” for kurozu products. The vinegar itself costs from 1,000 yen – 3,000 yen and the various confections cost about 500 yen
Oshima tsumugi Textile
Oshima tsumugi is a unique mud-dyed, handwoven, high-end silk textile from Amami Oshima island. It is usually in calm colors like gray conveying a relaxed, understated elegance. In Japan, the textile is mainly used for making traditional kimono, but it also used for daily items like coin cases, glasses cases, coasters, and handkerchiefs.
Oshima tsumugi items are available at “Oshima tsumugi Village” on Amami Oshima island, as well as in the souvenir shops inside the JR Kagoshima Chuo station complex. The price range is wide, from cheaper items costing around 2,000 yen to as much as 20,000 yen.
Satsuma Kiriko Cut Glass
Satsuma Kiriko is arguably the iconic traditional craft of Kagoshima. The history of this cut class can be traced back to the production of glass containers for medicines in the 19th century. Satsuma Kiriko is made by layering colored glass over clear glass and cutting patterns through the top layer. The objects have a refined shape and vivid, but graduated colors, usually pale red, blue, and even black. The most common products are drinking glasses and dishes.
To purchase Satsuma Kiriko, try “Shimazu Satsuma Kiriko gallery Shop SENGANEN” or “Satsuma Bidoro Kogei” which both offer a wide variety. Prices start from about 10,000 yen so it is advisable to have a budget in mind for a satisfying shopping experience.
Shops of Kagoshima Souvenirs
The above-mentioned souvenirs are all available at many shops in Kagoshima city. “Kagoshima Brand Shop” “Kagoshima Specialties Markets” inside JR Kagoshima Chuo station complex is especially recommended. These spots never fail to amaze with the great variety on offer- come and indulge in this all-in-one shopping experience!