The island where guns were first introduced to Japan; the most advanced space base in Japan.
Tanegashima Island, lying in the sea to the south of the Osumi peninsula in the southern part of Kagoshima, is the island where guns were first introduced to Japan in the 16th century. It is also known for having the largest space center in Japan, from which satellites and rockets are launched. The island is relatively flat, with the highest spot at 282m above sea level, and it is long and narrow, spanning 57.5km from north to south and just 5 to 12 km from east to west.
The Tanegashima Kaihatsu Sogo Center in Nishinoomote city on the northern part of the island is a unique museum exhibiting the first gun ever made in Japan, called the Tanegashima teppo. The Tanegashima Teppo Festival, an annual event held in summer, includes the firing of matchlock guns and the Nanban Parade, where floats parade the streets. It is an event truly worth seeing.
Tanegashima airport is located in Nakatane town in the center of the island. On the west coast is Nagahama beach, known for its beautiful white sand and sea turtles. There are many other scenic spots to the east, including Kumano beach, and the Matate-no-iwaya and Chikura-no-iwaya rock formations with strange and bizarrely-shaped rocks.
Located on the southernmost end of Minamitane town to the south of the island is the Tanegashima Space Center, which includes an actual launching site, a control tower, and the Space Museum, where visitors can enjoy outer space experiences through simulations.
From Tokyo :
[Air] 1h 50 min from Haneda to Kagoshima Airport, and 40 min from Kagoshima to Tanegashima Airport. 1h 30 min from Kagoshima Port to Tanegashima Nishino-omote Port by jetfoil.
From Osaka :
[Air] 1h 10 min from Itami or Kansai International Airport to Kagoshima Airport. Or 2h from Itami to Tanegashima Airport.