Introducing Kagoshima Prefecture
The northern end of the Southwest Islands is part of Kagoshima Prefecture (鹿児島県; Kagoshima-ken), and contains three island groups (island groups are called 'shotō' or 'rettō' in Japanese). All are accessible by ferry or plane.
Northernmost are the Ōsumi Islands, which are home to the island of Yakushima, one of the most popular destinations in the Southwest Islands. Next are the Tokara Islands, consisting of 12 rarely visited volcanic islets; these are the most remote destinations in the region. Southernmost are the Amami Islands, which are home to the population centre of Amami-Ōshima as well as several more picturesque islands. Located 380km south of Kyūshū, this group has a pronounced tropical feel.