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Kyushu | Kagoshima Prefecture

Tanegashima Island

Tanegashima Island, lying in the sea to the south of the Osumi-hanto Peninsula in the southern part of Kagoshima.

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Tanegashima Island

Tanegashima Island, lying in the sea to the south of the Osumi-hanto Peninsula in the southern part of Kagoshima, is the island where in the 16th century guns were introduced into Japan for the first time. It is also known as the location of the largest space center in Japan, from which satellites and rockets are launched. A gentle hill spreads across the whole island, with the highest spot being 282 meters above sea level. The island is long and narrow, being 57.5 kilometers from north to south, and just 5 to 12 kilometers from east to west.

The Tane-ga-shima Kaihatsu Sogo Center in Nishino-omote City in the northern part of the island is the location of a unique museum which exhibits the first gun ever made in Japan, called the Tane-ga-shima teppo (gun). The Tane-ga-shima Teppo-matsuri Festival is an annual event held in summer that is truly worth seeing. The event includes the firing of matchlock guns and the Nanban Parade, during which floats are brought out to celebrate the festival.

Nakatane Town, in the center of the island, is the location of the Tane-ga-shima Airport, a gateway to the skies. On the west coast is Nagahama Beach, known for beautiful white sand and turtles. To the east there are many other scenic spots, including Kumano Beach, and Matate-no-iwaya and Chikura-no- iwaya, which are full of strange rocks and bizarrely shaped stones.

At the southernmost end of Minamitane Town, in the south of the island, is Tane-ga-shima Space Center, complete with a launching site and control tower. On the same premise is the Space Museum, where you can enjoy simulations and experience outer space.