Chances are you’ve found very little information online about the Ōsumi Peninsula online. JETs placed here, do not fear, for there are many wonderful reasons to live in Ōsumi!
Living in Ōsumi means becoming a special part of your community in a way you could never experience in a big city. Even the largest city, Kanoya, feels like a small town. Foreigners are an uncommon sight so take advantage of the staring to say a polite hello. You might get a big smile and a greeting back. You may even be invited to dinner. In this way you will get to know all the locals and what could be an isolating experience may become a welcoming one instead. Just know that with community trust comes responsibility. Because there are few foreigners, most people will assume you are a teacher. This means people know exactly who to contact if you are seen doing something tactless. It also means that complete strangers may trust you to play with their children while they run to the store. Prove you are dependable and you’ll earn the admiration of the entire community.
Out in rural Ōsumi you may feel that there are fewer opportunities to join classes or events. Your town may or may not have a community center, and if it does, chances are nothing is advertised in English. Don’t be discouraged; ask around, there are tons of cultural classes hidden away. In fact, someone in front of you in line at the grocery store may be a master of kimono, or the person who sits next to you on the bus might be dying to teach you something new. Start a conversation even if you have limited Japanese, and watch the opportunities arises. If you still can’t find anything, contact the Kanoya International Exchange Association (KIEA). It is run in English and Japanese and has a range of events, everything from bowling to ocean kayaking to rice threshing. Since the events are for Japanese residents and foreigners, it is a great way to make new friends in your community.
Some of the best festivals in Kagoshima happen in Osumi. The Dragon Boat Race in Nejime, (a JET favorite), Horseback Archery Festival (Yabusame / 流鏑馬) (a tradition that has lasted for over 900 years) in Kōyama, and the Osumi Lakeside Festival (大隅湖レイクサイドフェスティバル) (fireworks and a laser light show) are just a few of the many fun and unique events. Again, ask around and you won’t just be watching, you’ll be participating too!
Check out some Ōsumi sights!
Cape Sata is located at the southern tip of the Ōsumi Peninsula of Kyūshū island, Japan, and is the southernmost point of the island.
This nature park boasts an impressive waterfall with a suspension bridge and viewing platforms, plus picnic areas and a playground.
Several shrines are tucked away all over Ōsumi, but here are a few recommendations.