Hyuga (日向市)

 

Miyazaki Prefecture’s original capital city, Hyuga is in the process of undergoing some downtown renovations and restyling according to the popular, box-like architectural aesthetic that’s trending in Japan these days. Big enough to have all the amenities, shopping centers and attractions of city life, without the metropolitan buzz and bustle, Hyuga sports prime beaches and surf spots. For some of the best surfing to be had in the area, try Okuragahama (小倉ヶ浜) and Kanegahama (金ヶ浜) beaches, or swim in the mostly placid waves at Isegahama (伊勢が浜) beach.

You can also get your fill of ocean-side shrines and the beautiful Green Park, which sits next to Hyuga station, the most beautiful train station in the entire prefecture. There are beautiful lookout points, as well as Sea Cross, a natural rock formation in the shape of a cross, with the turquoise waters of the Hyuga-nada Sea flowing through it.

For restaurants, try the American call-back, diner-style Nap Café, or go for the soothing lull and jazzy loft vibes of Buckayro Comfort Café and Bar. You can also satisfy that sweet tooth and get your cake on at world-class patisserie Sweet Soul, a tiny shop packed with the best in Japanese ケーキ.

Hyuga is also world famous for hosting the Hyottoko Natsumatsuri Dance Festival (日向ひょっとこ夏祭り), every year in the month of August. This strange dance sees men and women in short red yukata (浴衣) and expressive, cute and sometimes disturbing masks. During this process, most of these dancers are quite drunk, and dance comically and also erotically through Hyuga’s streets. Loads of fun to watch, and you can even participate!

Hyuga City website: http://www.city.hyuga.miyazaki.jp/