Sekino-o Falls (関之尾滝)
Located 30 minutes drive from Miyakonojo, these waterfalls are one of ‘Jo’s most treasured sightseeing spots and also a pleasant park to spend an afternoon in. Voted as one of the best 100 waterfalls in Japan, Sekino-o Falls is comprised of three falls, with the large falls reaching a width of approximately 40 meters and a height of 18 meters.
Mochio Park (母智丘公園)
This park is the Prefectural Park that surrounds Sekino-o Falls and was voted one of Japan’s Top 100 cherry blossom viewing locations. It’s an especially beautiful park during spring time and cherry blossom season in April. Mochio Festival is held under the cherry blossom trees at this time too. The view from Mochio Park at the top of the hill is breathtaking.
Ajisai park (あじさい公園)
‘Ajisai’ means ‘hydrangea’, which blooms in Japan during rainy season in June and July. They come in a range of colours – shades of purple, blue, pink, red – and the appropriately named Ajisai Park is the perfect place to see the puffy, half-sphere flowers in every colour. There are 21 different varieties of ajisai planted at the park.
Hayamizu park (早水公園)
Hayamizu Park is on the border between Miyakonojo and Mimata and as such, is frequented by communities and children from both cities. Famous for the legend of Kaminaga-hime (The Long Haired Princess), the park is split into two sections, Hayamizu Shrine Park and the proper Hayamizu Park. The former park surrounds a beautiful shrine and koi filled lake. Across the stone bridges is a field of over 420,000 lilies which bloom into a bright sea of purple in May.
The second half of Hayamizu park includes an sports oval, Hayamizu Sports Culture Centre, an amphitheatre and a padded climbing wall. There are usually festival food stalls out the front of the Culture Centre if the kakigori (shaved ice) cravings ever get to be too strong.
Miyakojima park (都島公園)
Kanbashira park (神柱公園)
Miyakonojo’s biggest shrine inside the city centre, Kanbashira Shrine, sits proudly at the top of this park. Every few weekends there is a small market held in Kanbashira Park, just opposite the parking lot area, where locals sell their handmade wares or second hand items. Perfect time to pick up some beautiful traditional pieces, only found in the ‘Jo! The park itself boasts a large multipurpose field, children’s play area, waterfront open space, athletic stretching equipment and a sumo ring.
A 20 minute drive from Miyakonojo’s city centre, Kanemidake is frequently used as a take-off point for hang gliders and para-gliders. There’s also a spot to observe migrating grey-faced buzzards (sashiba). The view from the peak of the mountain in the park provides a sweeping view of Miyakonojo and the Kirishima Mountains. The night view from the lookout, selected as one of the top 100 night views in Japan, is also spectacular.