Okinoerabu Island (Okinoerabujima) 沖永良部島
Deep blue waters, coral reefs, and pristine beaches meet an iconic limestone cave system on this southerly Japanese island
Okinoerabu Island, the second-most southerly of the Amami Islands , is famous for its collection of limestone caves. Located between Tokunoshima and Yoron Island and home to 15,000 people, it is approximately 536 kilometers south of Kyushu. Much of the island lies within the borders of the Amami Gunto National Park.
Okinoerabu Island is home to over 300 limestone caves
The largest banyan tree in all of Japan is at Kunigami Elementary School in Wadomari town
How to Get There
Okinoerabu Island is accessible by ferry and airplane.
The port of Wadomari, located in the town of the same name, has a regular ferry service to Okinawa, Kagoshima, and Kobe. The smaller port of China in the town of China has ferries to Kagoshima and other islands in the Amami Island chain.
Okinoerabu Airport, on the outskirts of Wadomari, connects Okinoerabu with Naha, Kagoshima, and several of the larger Amami Islands.
The island of flowers and caves
Okinoerabu Island is home to over 300 limestone caves considered natural treasures. A combination of natural beauty and local mysticism related to the caves makes them a must-see during a trip to the island. A 1.2-kilometer section of the cave system is open to the public, and you can visit for only 1000 yen. Inside are breathtaking stalactite and stalagmite formations. The caves have detailed signboards written in Japanese.
Excellent for snorkeling and diving
Like many of the Amami Islands, Okinoerabu is a coral island, and opportunities for snorkeling and diving are abundant. Neither flora or fauna are in short supply. Spot turtles, sea snakes, sea cucumbers, starfish, octopus, stingrays, and reef sharks in the island's blue waters alongside numerous species of coral.
Explore the hidden beaches
The island's cliffs make for an excellent hike along the ocean and offer the chance to discover numerous hidden beaches. The most popular beaches on the island are Okidomari Sea Park and Kasaishi Sea Park. Both have common Japanese beach infrastructure and campsites, but they also tend to be the busiest beaches on the island. Check out the quieter beaches, including Wanjo Beach or Sumiyoshi Beach, which has some of the island's best coral.