By Peter Sidell
Serving as the end of the shinkansen (bullet train) line and with ferry services to various islands (including Okinawa and Yakushima), Kagoshima is a frequent stopover for many travelers on their way down south. But hostels are a bit sparse in this prefecture, and with most hotels charging around 5000 yen per night, that could pose a challenge if you’re on a budget.
As a resident in rural Kagoshima, there are frequent times when I’ve wanted to go into the city to enjoy Kagoshima’s nightlife. But given that I live across the bay and ferry service ends at 10:30 pm, that makes for an early evening, and staying in hotels on a regular basis adds up very quickly. That’s why I was happy when I discovered Kagoshima Little Asia, a friendly and inexpensive hostel located right behind the Kagoshima Chuo train station. This central location puts you in the area of some great little restaurants and bars, or you can take the city tram from Kagoshima Chuo and explore the rest of the city, such as the lively eating and shopping district found in nearby Tenmonkan.
The moment I entered Little Asia, I was surprised to find that the staff did speak a bit of English. In a place like Kagoshima, this can be difficult to find and was a welcome surprise. Reservations can be made in advance, or you can walk in off the street, although be aware that for a private room, it’s better to make a reservation. The hostel is equipped with a few private rooms as well as dormitories. Only one shower, but it’s quite a large one by the standards of most hostels (and even some hotels) I’ve been to. Very much in the Japanese style. Little Asia provides a few laptop computers and ADSL Internet, as well as wi-fi for travelers who bring their own devices. Make sure you stay for dinner at least one night while you’re there, as it includes Kagoshima specialties, like the prefecture’s famous black pork. And only at around 280 yen. Bicycles can be rented for up to an hour for free or 500 yen for twenty-four hours. And from the rooftop, you can experience a breathtaking view of Sakurajima, Kagoshima’s famous, active volcano.
There are different rates, depending on if you’re staying in a dormitory, a private single room or a private twin room. And there are daily, weekly, and monthly rates. Some guests stop in and out for a night or two, but some do stay on for weeks or even months, and these guests are very knowledgable about the area. If you’re traveling with children, there are also family rates. The base rate for the dormitory is 1500 yen per night, which makes it one of the best deals in all of Kagoshima.
The staff is extremely helpful, welcoming the opportunity to speak to people of different backgrounds, and will happily tell you anything you’d like to know about the area or assist you in finding a place you’re looking for. And you can also ask your fellow guests, as many of them are very friendly and enjoy swapping stories about their travels.
All in all, it’s a very relaxed place to visit. If you want a welcoming atmosphere at a great price, it’s not likely you’ll find a better deal than Little Asia! So stop in for a night or more and experience it for yourself!
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I'm a born and bred Chicagoan, having lived there up until 2008, when I moved to Japan. Since 2008, I have lived in beautiful Kagoshima Prefecture. Although I never heard about Kagoshima before I came here, I haven't wanted to leave since arriving. This amazing area is easily the best-kept secret of Japan, and I'm looking forward to spreading the word!I've always loved to write and in addition to my work for JapanTourist, I'm also a novelist.