Hyuga (日向) is a small but prominent port city in northern Miyazaki prefecture, famous for its beaches, surfing, and natural beauty. Dispite its small size, it has a long and varied history. It makes an excellent trip for those visiting Miyazaki or other parts of Kyushu in Japan.
Hyuga in Lore
According to legend, the first Japanese Emperor, Jimmu, came from Hyuga. Ninigi, grandson of the Sun goddess Amaterasu, came to Japan, near Hyuga. His grandson, Jimmu, went to what is modern day Miyazaki City and at the age of 15 became the crown prince of the region. At the age of 45, he heard about a very abundant land called Yamato, in modern day Kansai, to the east. Jimmu and his army walked up the eastern coast of Kyushu looking for a decent port, eventually stopping at Mimitsu (southern Hyuga). They lived there for a time and built their warships. He launched his conquest of Yamato from Mimitsu and traveled to the Kansai area. There he fought his way to the Yamato Plain, establishing himself as the first Emperor of Japan and the start of the long line of Emperors.
On his way there, he stopped at an independant island that was at that time unnammed. This small farm covered island was known for academic pursuites. The villagers there told him about a whale that terrorised the village, killing fishermen who left the island. Jimmu decided to help the villagers and killed the whale. The villagers rejoiced and subsequently enshrined the spear (鉾 hoko) he used. After that, the island was known as Hokoshima (Spear Island). Over time, the pronunciation changed and today it is known as Hososhima, despite no longer being an island.
Hyuga also has a huge boulder of naturally fused pebbles near the sea at Omi Shrine. This is supposedly the boulder (さざれいし) mentioned in the Japanese National Anthem.
The Hyuga area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Archeologists have found stone tools and stone mounds dating back as much as 30,000 years ago, placing it in the early Japanese Paleolithic period. There are also active archiological digs uncovering pottery from the Jomon Era which you can see in many of the museums in Hyuga.
With its port protected on either side by large mountains, Hososhima (Hyuga's major port) has served as a gateway to the rest of the prefecture since ancient times.
It is written that following a war to bring the Kumaso (an ancient tribe that used to live in the Miyazaki area) people into the Japanese Empire, Emperor Keiko faced East and said, “I name this country Hinata because it faces the rising sun.” Hinata-no-kuni (日向の国) was later changed to Hyuga (日向) and eventually to Miyazaki during the Meiji Period. Hyuga City (日向市) has adopted the Prefecture's old name.
There used to be major castles on the mountain behind Omi Shrine (Hichiya Castle) and in Shiomi (Shiomi Castle), in western Hyuga. Shiomi Castle was totally destroyed and never rebuilt and Hichiya Castle is just ruins that have now been swallowed up by forest.
Hyuga has a mild, but humid subtropical climate with no dry season. The climate is comparable to the southern coastal areas of the United States or southern Europe.
The average summer daytime temperature is about 30°C (86°F) with 80% humidity. The average winter daytime temperature is about 13°C (56°F) with 60% humidity. Early summer is marked with the rainy season, tsuyu, in June and July (bring an umbrella or be ready to buy one). During this period, there is usually rain every day for about 4 weeks. Tsuyu is followed by a hot, humid summer and daily sunshine, but is accompanied by the occasional typhoon. Winter is short and mild with small amounts of rain.
ATMs are located throughout the city.
Post Office ATMs, available at all Post Offices and in Aeon offer the best exchange rates and accept most foreign cards. These ATMs, however, have limited hours, closing at 7pm.
7-Eleven ATMs are open 24/7 and accept most foreign cards, but charge a slightly higher exchange rate.
The Nippo Main Line serving eastern Kyushu has several stops in Hyuga city. You can easily get there from transport hubs and major stations such as Hakata Station in Fukuoka, Oita Station, and Kagoshima Chuo Station. Fees will vary but will usually cost from ¥4000-6000 one way depending on your location.
Arriving at Hyuga from more local stops in Miyazaki will of course cost less. From Miyazaki City, local trains will cost ¥1290 one way (75 minutes), with express trains running ¥2110 (45min)
Hakko Liner (高速バス ハッコーライナー) is an express bus service serving Hyuga, northern Miyazaki and Fukuoka. A round trip from Fukuoka will cost only ¥7,000, however as this line is mainly a way for people from Miyazaki to get to Fukuoka, buses from Hakata station only leave in the evening (buses from Hyuga to Fukuoka will leave early in the morning). The website is officially in Japanese only, but it has embedded Google Translate, making it usable if clunky.
While bus services directly to Hyuga are limited, Miyazaki City has several express bus routes that link it to every other part of Kyushu. One could easily take these buses and then transfer using local or express train lines.
The Hyuga Regional Information Center just outside of Hyuga-shi station, under the tracks, and the information booth at the cruise ship terminal (if there is a cruise ship), will have plenty of flyers in multiple languages and typically an English speaker present. These will help you find your way around.
Hyuga is most famous for its several beaches, many of which serve as excellent surfing spots. It also has beautiful scenery and a bit of history as well.
Hyottoko Festival (Japanese) One of many versions of the “Hyottoko” (Fire Man) legend throughout Japan, this local festival was established in 1984 and has since grown to one of the premier events in Miyazaki Prefecture. Held on the first Saturday of every August, it involves lots of costumes and dancing typical of Japanese festivals.
Machi no Eki Tomitaka (run by Hyuga City Tourism IncorporatedAssociation) has plenty of souvenirs and local foods available for sale. Located right outside Hyuga-shi Station
Aeon Mall is a small mall in Hyuga City somewhat close to Hososhima Port. It does not carry many specialty goods, but is good for all around basic things.
Michi no Eki (Roadside Stations) Hyuga has 2 "Roadside stations": One in Togo and another between Central Hyuga and Mimitsu near Sun Park. These are local visitor centers, rest stops, and souvenir shops all rolled into one. They specialise in local goods such as snacks, produce, souvenirs, and other goods. These show off the personality of the region, so if you are ever on your way past them, it is always fun to take a look.
Most of downtown Hyuga consists of Izakaya and various bars where tourists will likely be met with curious glances and friendly, if limited, conversation. It is easy enough to find somewhere to drink any time of night by taking a quick walk through the downtown area, west of Hyuga-shi station. One thing to be aware of when looking for a place to drink. Hyuga has a lot of スナック (snack bars) which is a type to hostess club in which the bartenders are women. These places typically only serve the most basic drinks and include Karaoke. There are also a lot of Izakaya, good for larger groups. There are traditional bars and more laid back bars, but these can be a bit harder to find, but worth the search.
Melissa Hyuga – Right outside of Hyuga-shi Station. Rates around ¥5000 a night.
Verfort – A short walk (around 5min) from Hyuga-shi station and right outside of Hyuga City Hall. Around ¥6000 a night.
Hyuga Dai-ichi Hotel – Close to Hyuga City Hall. ¥5500 a night.
Lumiere – Next to Hyuga Dai-ichi Hotel. ¥5000 a night.
Hyuga City Tourism Incorporated Association 982-55-0235
Thanks to the Nippo Main Line, it is very easy and convenient to travel through much of Kyushu from Hyuga. The line runs from Kagoshima all the way to Hakata Station in Fukuoka through eastern Kyushu. Many tourist hotspots will take 2 to 4 hours from Hyuga depending on the location. Do note that train costs tend to be higher than other parts of Japan, particularly due to the spread out nature of Kyushu.
Miyazaki City is a 45 minute train ride from Hyuga by express train, and has several express buses to locations such as Nagasaki and Kumamoto which the Nippo Main Line doesn`t cover. There is also an airport, with flights to major Japanese cities and limited access to nearby Taipei and Seoul.