Matengai Cliff Matengai Cliff

SHIMANE Oki Islands Remote Sea of Japan islands are worlds away from modern Japan

Remote Sea of Japan islands are worlds away from modern Japan

Part of the Daisen-Oki National Park and recognized as a UNESCO Global Geopark since 2013, only four of the almost 200 Oki Islands are inhabited. The islands are an ideal spot for watersports, sightseeing and hiking.

Don't Miss

  • Sunset views over Rosoku-jima (Candle Island)
  • Hiking along the impressive Kuniga Coast
  • Catching and eating seafood from the surrounding waters

How to Get There

Access to the Oki Islands is restricted to sea and air. car, ferry and air. Once on the island you can also rent a car or use local taxis.

Car ferries to the Oki Islands depart from Shichirui Port near Matsue and Sakaiminato Port near Yonago in Tottori Prefecture. The journey takes around two-and-a-half hours. Ferries operate less regularly in the winter, so check the timetable before you go. Both ports also operate a passenger-only high-speed hydrofoil service with much shorter crossing times. Make sure to check out the Oki Kisen Ferry homepage to check the current information.

Oki Aiport on Dogo has flights from Osaka that take 50 minutes and from Izumo Airport that take 30 minutes.

Ferries connect all the islands. Bus services are limited, so renting a car gives you more freedom to visit the sites. Cycling is also an option.

Beaches, coasts and seas

The waters surrounding the Oki Islands are exceptionally clear, perfect for water-based activities and leisure pursuits such as swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, and fishing. You can take scuba diving lessons or, if experienced, rent gear and dive solo.

Much of the rugged coastline is perfect for walking and strolling. The grassy slopes of Matengai Cliff are 257 meters above the surf. Another view not to be missed is the sun, which seems to set on top of Candle Island (Dogo Island).

For those looking for something more strenuous, hike Mt. Daimanji—more than 600 meters above sea-level. This mountain has many hiking trails where the ancient deities of the forest are still worshipped.

Alternatively, hike up to the top of Mt. Takuhi. From the summit of this 450 meter-high mountain, you can look out over blue waters that encircle you and see the neighboring islands.

With few buses and very little traffic, the roads of the islands are safe and pleasant to cycle. Biking is a convenient way to get around and enjoy the views.

Cruising around

Alternative itineraries include exploring the coastline from the sea on one of the numerous organized boat tours. The cruises to the Kuniga Coast and Matengai Cliff pass by miles of remote coast.

The glass-bottomed underwater viewing boat, Amanbow reveals the world below the sea. Other short cruises around the old port and waterways of Saigo Port offer opportunities to find out about local legends and lifestyles.

An island introduction

Dogo is the largest of the Oki Islands, with a circumference of about 100 kilometers. The Shirashima Coast, the Jodogaura Coast and Candle Island —where the suns seems to set on the tip of the 20 meter-high spire of rock rising from the sea—are just a few natural highlights.

Venture inland for Dangyo Shrine and Dangyo Falls , or Chichi-sugi Japanese Cedar, a massive, strangely shaped tree.

Nishinoshima, with less than 3,000 inhabitants, is the second largest of the inhabited islands and home to Kuniga Coast.

Visit Takuhi-jinja Shrine , a temple-turned-shrine found inside a cave high on the side of Mt. Takuhi and overlooking the surrounding seas. Yurahime-jinja Shrine was built on the shore of a narrow bay where squid come right up to the land. Watch Oki-style kagura dances during festivals at these shrines and other places around the islands.

The smaller islands

Nakanoshima is the lowest-lying of the islands, with a high point of 246 meters at Mt. Atodo. Its long coastline includes the red rock cliffs of Akiya. Visitors can enjoy expansive views of the other islands from Cape Kirogasaki.

Emperor Go-Toba spent the last 19 years of his life in exile on Nakanoshima at the beginning of the 13th century. It is said that the Oki tradition of Bull Sumo , still popular today, began here as entertainment for him. The underwater exploration boat called the Amanbow departs from here.

Home to only 600 people, the tiniest of the inhabited islands is Chiburijima. The land is too steep to support traditional agriculture; instead, the local people support themselves by fishing and raising cattle. This small island is home to some impressive sights, such as the view of the Oki Islands from the top of Mt. Akahage, or the striking red rocks of Sekiheki (Red Cliff).

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