Pockmarked with volcanic craters, crisscrossed by hiking trails and boasting some lovely coastal scenery, Kirishima-Kinkō-wan National Park straddles northern Kagoshima and western Miyazaki Prefectures. There are excellent hikes of many lengths, although ash eruptions, toxic gases and other volcanic activity sometimes change accessibility. The area is known for its wild azaleas, hot springs and the 75m waterfall Senriga-taki. It's also famous in Japanese mythology as being the place where the gods first descended to earth and began the imperial dynasty, said to be unbroken to this day.
Hikers should monitor the weather closely before setting out. Apart from volcanic conditions, thunderstorms and fog are common during the rainy season (mid-May to June) and winters can be bitter; otherwise, the vistas are superb.