Cape Sata, in Kagoshima Prefecture, is the southern-most tip of Kyushu and so the southern-most point of Mainland Japan. It is a stunningly beautiful cape consisting of jagged rocks and cliffs covered in lush green trees, and a classical white lighthouse overlooking the sea. There are great views over the ocean towards Yakushima. It is an absolute natural pearl, perfect for a short walk.
As you arrive at Cape Sata you will find a small parking lot along with a small shop which sells souvenirs and refreshments. Grab a drink from the shop, and head through the small tunnel which takes you to the footpath headed for the tip of the cape. The path is paved but not flat, as it crosses the rugged cliffs which make up the beautiful cape.
About halfway down the path you will come across the old abandoned Misaki Shrine. It’s a good opportunity to look for monkeys which live in the wild around the cape. They like to hang out in the trees behind the shrine. The monkeys are a bit shy, so you might have to look carefully.
As you near the end of the cape you will see the old restaurant, turned observation deck. Cape Sata was once a privately held park, where you’d have to pay to enter. Today it is publicly accessible, but the parks restaurant has closed, and is now turned into a beautiful observation deck. A long board walk will take you the last stretch up to the deck. From atop the observation deck there is an amazing view of the cape and Sata Lighthouse which is located on a large rock in the sea, just off the tip of the cape. The lighthouse was built in 1871 by Richard Henry Brunton, a Scotsman who was responsible for the design of no less than 26 light houses in Japan.
Looking towards the horizon you might be able to catch a glimpse of Yakushima island, an island known for it’s amazing and unparalleled hiking opportunities. If you look north-northwest you will likely see the silhouette of the Kaimondake Volcano. It is easily recognized on its very characteristic volcano shape.
Other attractions in the area
Getting to Cape Sata is quite an expedition, so chances are you want to see some other local attractions on the way. Why not check out the impressive Sakurajima Volcano, taste the famous Kirishima Black Vinegar, take a dip in some of Japans best Onsen baths in Kirishima and make a stop at one of the many spectacular waterfalls along the route, like the Ogawa Waterfall. If you are looking for a longer trip in the area, then Udo Shrine and Uchinoura Space Center are highly recommended attractions which can be found further up the eastern coast towards Miyazaki.
By car: From Kagoshima City you can reach Cape Sata by car in about 3 hours. To take the recommended scenic route along the coast, follow route 10 until after Kirishima. Then get onto route 220 which traces the coast. Then route 68 until you almost reach the cape, and take route 566 for the last few minutes to Cape Sata parking lot.
This is an extremely remote part of Japan. It’s highly recommended to rent a car or get on arranged tour.
By Ferry: It is possible to take the ferry from Yamakawa to Nejime. The ferry costs ¥800 for adults, ¥400 for children (2021) and ¥2600 for small cars. The ferry operates 2-5 times a day depending on day and season, so check the schedule on the website. Cape Sata is a 1 hour drive from Nejime
🔗 Nankyu Ferry Official Website
Arranged tour: There is an arranged tour you can take from Nejime which stops at Ogawa Waterfall and Cape Sata. it is recommended that you take the ferry from Yamakawa to Nejime to join the tour. The tour must be booked in advance. Book Cape Sata Bus Tour here.