Amami Oshima Island 奄美大島
Swim, kayak and dive at one of Japan's top island getaways
Amami Oshima is located in the South China Sea between Kyushu and Okinawa . Its climate is similar to balmy Okinawa's, and its white beaches, beautiful coral reefs, and crystal-clear sea make it one of Japan's most popular snorkeling and scuba-diving retreats.
How to Get There
Amami Oshima is accessible by plane from many major Japanese cities and by ferry from Kagoshima.
By air, the island is two hours and 35 minutes from Tokyo, two hours from Osaka, and an hour and five minutes from Kagoshima.
Amami Oshima is Japan's seventh-largest island
Oshima is the largest island in the Satsunan Archipelago and literally means “Big Island”
A haven of sea and sand
Oshima is part of Amami Gunto Quasi-National Park, and the sea surrounding it is wonderfully clear. Along with its abundance of coral reefs and semi-tropical aquatic life, this makes for superb diving and snorkeling. You can rent gear and sign up for lessons at multiple locations across the island.
The northern part of Amami Oshima is a popular resort area and is dotted with white sandy beaches and long stretches of reef.
From beach to forest
About 95 percent of Amami Oshima is forested, and Japan's second-largest mangrove forest spreads along the central coast. Rent a kayak and head out at high tide to explore or join a tour to learn about the island's unique ecology. This area is especially well known for the diversity of its bird life.
A singular island culture
The islands of the Satsunan chain, including Amami Oshima, absorbed influences from Kyushu and Okinawa's Ryukyu Kingdom to the south. Amami's music, festivals, and island vibe are generally closer to those found on Okinawa's than in mainland Japan. Visit Amami Park's folk museum to learn more about the island's culture.
While the island's cuisine predictably features amazing seafood, its most popular dish is a chicken-rice mix called keihan.
Amami Oshima's Island Bus offers multi-day bus passes that can be purchased for discounted fares. Be aware that it may not run everywhere you would like to go.
Renting a moped or car will give you access to outlying areas and freedom of movement to make the most of your stay. Cycling is also an option in certain areas.