An historic samurai town that’s home to japan‘s oldest Zen temple and 10,000 cranes


Located in the southern region of Japan, Izumi is a town steeped in history and culture. It was once the northern stronghold of the Satsuma domain and is known for its rich samurai heritage. In addition, Izumi is home to one of the country’s oldest Zen temples, Kannoji. Every year, this town becomes a spectacle as over 10,000 cranes migrate from Siberia to the Izumi area. This unique event attracts visitors from all over the world who come to witness this incredible natural phenomenon. With its historic samurai residences, stunning natural surroundings, and authentic local experiences, Izumi offers a truly immersive and unforgettable journey. In this article, we will explore the various attractions and experiences that make Izumi a must-visit destination for both history enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Exploring the Samurai Residences

One of the highlights of a visit to Izumi is the opportunity to explore the Izumi-Fumoto Samurai Residences. These residences were once home to the tough samurai who guarded the border of the Satsuma domain. Today, these well-preserved houses offer a glimpse into the lives of these warriors. As you wander through the streets, you can imagine what life was like for these samurai, with their traditional architecture and historical artifacts. The Izumi-Fumoto History Museum provides further insight into the weaponry and armor used by the samurai, allowing visitors to learn more about their fascinating history. For a truly immersive experience, visitors can don traditional kimonos and take a ride in an oxcart, adding an authentic touch to their journey back in time.

Witnessing the Crane Migration

Another iconic attraction in Izumi is the annual migration of over 10,000 cranes from Siberia. This natural phenomenon is a sight to behold, as these graceful birds fill the sky and create a breathtaking spectacle. The migration takes place between October and March, attracting bird enthusiasts and nature lovers from around the world. The Crane Observation Center is the perfect place to witness this awe-inspiring event. Here, visitors can observe the cranes up close and learn more about their behavior and habitat. The center also offers educational programs and guided tours to enhance visitors’ understanding and appreciation of these beautiful creatures. The migration of the cranes is not only a visual delight but also a symbol of the town’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage.

Experiencing the Local Culture

To truly immerse oneself in the local culture of Izumi, a farm stay with local farmers is highly recommended. This unique experience allows visitors to gain a deeper understanding of rural life in Japan. By staying with local farmers, visitors can participate in various agricultural activities, such as picking oranges and other fruits. This hands-on experience provides a glimpse into the daily lives of the locals and offers a chance to learn about traditional farming practices. After a day of farming, visitors can enjoy a meal together with their hosts, savoring the flavors of Izumi’s fresh produce. In the evenings, stargazing and traditional games can be enjoyed, providing a peaceful and intimate connection with the local community.

Exploring Japan’s Oldest Zen Temple

No visit to Izumi would be complete without a visit to Kannoji, Japan’s oldest Zen temple. Built in 1194 under the orders of Shimazu Tadahisa, Kannoji is a testament to the town’s spiritual heritage. The temple is famous for its impressive 11-faced, 1,000-armed Kannon statue, which was carved in 1445. This stunning artwork is a symbol of compassion and serves as a focal point for meditation and contemplation. The temple grounds also house the graves of the first five generations of the powerful Shimazu family, further adding to its historical significance. A visit to Kannoji offers a serene and introspective experience, allowing visitors to connect with their inner selves and appreciate the tranquility of the surroundings.

Getting to Izumi

Izumi is easily accessible by train or shuttle bus. The Kyushu Shinkansen provides a convenient and efficient mode of transportation, with direct connections from Kagoshima Chuo station (25 minutes) or Fukuoka (one hour). For those seeking a more scenic route, the Hisatsu Orange Railway offers a picturesque journey along the coastline, taking approximately two hours. Additionally, a shuttle bus is available from Kagoshima Airport, with a travel time of around 90 minutes. The accessibility of Izumi makes it an ideal destination for both domestic and international travelers.


Izumi is a town that seamlessly blends history, culture, and natural beauty. Its rich samurai heritage, highlighted by the well-preserved residences and the Izumi-Fumoto History Museum, provides a unique glimpse into Japan’s feudal past. The annual migration of over 10,000 cranes is a spectacle that captivates visitors and showcases the town’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage. By participating in a farm stay with local farmers, visitors can experience the authentic lifestyle of rural Japan and forge meaningful connections with the local community. Finally, a visit to Kannoji offers a spiritual retreat, allowing visitors to find solace and inner peace in the oldest Zen temple in Japan. Whether it’s exploring the samurai residences, witnessing the crane migration, experiencing the local culture, or visiting the Zen temple, Izumi offers a diverse range of attractions and experiences that cater to every traveler’s interests. A journey to Izumi is not just a trip through time, but a transformative experience that will leave a lasting impression.

Address And Maps Location:

Izumi-shi, Kagoshima-ken

Find Location And Direction On Google Maps

Subscribe, follow travelbloggerindonesia.com