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Hyuga

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Dec 14, 2021

Hyuga (日向) is a small, but prominent port city in northern Miyazaki prefecture. It is a small city with a population of just over 60,000 with a long and varied history.

Hyuga was historically one of the most major ports in Kyushu, acting as the gateway to Kyushu, but shrunk with the introduction of trains. Now, Hyuga is most famous for its natural beauty, white sand beaches, and surfing. It makes a perfect trip for those visiting Miyazaki or other parts of Kyushu.

Umagase

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According to legend, the first Japanese Emperor, Jimmu, came from the Miyazaki area. Ninigi, grandson of the Sun goddess Amaterasu, came to down from the heavens to Takachiho. 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 independent island that was at that time unnamed. 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 making it one of the earliest inhabited areas of Japan. There are also active archeological digs uncovering pottery from the Jomon Era which you can see in many of the museums in Hyuga.

Many thousands of years later, Emperor Keiko conquered Kyushu to bring the local tribes into the Japanese Empire. It is said that following a war to subjugate the Kumaso people (an ancient tribe that used to live in the Miyazaki area), Emperor Keiko faced East and said, “I name this country Hinata because it faces the rising sun.” Hinata (日向) literally means “facing the sun” or sunwards. 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 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.

Central Hyuga is centered around Hyuga-shi Station. The greater Hyūga area is 336.29 km², much larger than the city limits as a result of mergers with other smaller towns such as Togo and Mimitsu. Hyūga City is a small port city located in Miyazaki Prefecture, just south of Nobeoka. The city itself is located on flatlands between the Kyushu Mountains and the Hyūga Sea. The area along Cape Hyūga with its exposed hexagonal pillar rocks (columnar joint) and ria (saw tooth) coastline are designated as part of the Nippo-Kaigan Quasi-National Park. A bit south are famous beaches such as Ise-ga-hama, Okura-ga-hama, and Kane-ga-hama, known for their surfing.

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