Amamigunto National Park

The thriving nature of subtropical islands

The Amami Islands are a thriving ecosystem made up of a diverse array of natural environments and are the habitat of many rare, endemic plant and animal species. Furthermore, a distinctive cultural landscape, which developed from the long relationship between the islanders and nature, can still be found across the islands today. In Amamigunto National Park you can experience both the unique natural wonders on each island and the history and culture of a place where humans and nature have long led an interwoven existence.

Visiting Japan's National Parks

Amamigunto National Park, like all of Japan's national parks, has no entrance fees, no opening and closing hours, and a permit is not required to enter or stay in the park. The national parks of Japan differ from national parks worldwide in that the land within the national parks is not exclusively designated for national park use and is made up of private property as well as public and protected areas. Visitors are free to enter and leave at any time.

Park Highlights

The islands can be divided into two types, depending on the way they were formed. Each island type differs significantly in the kinds of plants, animals and landscape that can be found there.

DON'T MISS

  • Kayak through the Sumiyo Mangrove Forest
  • Watch the waves crash through the Fucha Squirting cave
  • Relax on the pure white sands of Yurigahama beach

With historical influences from the Ryukyu Kingdom and the Satsuma domain, a colorful traditional culture developed on the Amami Islands; this is characterized by various indigenous performing arts, religious traditions, and a unique view of nature. Examples of the islands' local culture include shimauta folk music; hachigatsu odori (a folk dance performed during August of the lunar calendar); and the Honensai Harvest Festival.

AMAMI NATURE OBSERVATION FOREST (AMAMI-OSHIMA ISLAND)

Here visitors can walk nature paths through the subtropical, evergreen and broad-leaved forest stopping at wooded viewing platforms along the way. Observing wild birds such the Amami jay (Garrulus lidthi) and the Ryukyu robin (Erithacus komadori) is possible. The viewing platforms also offer splendid views of Tatsugo Bay's azure ocean waters and the beautiful forest scenery.

KINSAKUBARU NATIVE FOREST (AMAMI-OSHIMA ISLAND)

The Kinsakubaru Native Forest is considered the quintessential woodland of Amami Oshima Island. Tree species such as the Castanopsis sieboldii of the beech family, Schima wallichii of the camellia family, and Machilus thunbergii of the laurel family dominate the canopy. The trees of the evergreen, broad-leaved forest envelope the woodland paths and captivating flora such as flying spider-monkey tree ferns are visible.

HYAKUNODAI OBSERVATORY (KIKAIJIMA ISLAND)

Hyakunodai Observatory is an uplifted coral reef that rises 200 meters above sea level in the center of Kikaijima Island. From the viewing platform in Hyakunodai Park, you get a panoramic view of the sea and its coral reef, the island villages nestled in their surrounding fields, and the forest-covered terraced terrain that illustrates how the island formed.

SHORYUDO LIMESTONE CAVE (OKINOERABUJIMA ISLAND)

This impressive limestone cave, discovered in 1963,  is 3,500 m long. A 600-meter stretch is open to the public, with stalactites adorning the entire cavern. The cave sparkles beautifully when light shines upon the walls.

About the Park 

Amamigunto National Park, a group of islands located in the southernmost part of Kagoshima Prefecture, was established as Japan's 34th national park on March 7, 2017.

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Date of National Park Designation: March 7, 2017
  • Area: 42,181 ha (421.81 square kilometers)
  • Location: Kagoshima Prefecture

PARKS RULES & SAFETY 

As with any national park or conservation area, visitors to Amamigunto are required to observe the following rules for safety and to protect the area's natural biodiversity:

  • Carry in, carry out: Take all of your trash with you.
  • Do not pick wildflowers or damage plants.
  • Do not feed the wild animals.
  • Hunting is not permitted.
  • No fishing unless with a certified guide.
  • No smoking while walking.
  • Campfires are only permitted in designated areas.
  • Danger of landslides when raining.
  • Be considerate of the islands' wildlife when driving.
  • Do not bring invasive plant/animal species to the islands.
  • Watch out for the Okinawa habu viper and other dangerous creatures.
  • Be careful of tidal waves, ocean waves, and gusty winds (be careful of changes in tide levels).
  • Be careful not to injure any coral that may be living on fins or diving boots.
  • Do not get any closer than necessary to take photographs of wildlife, and refrain from publicizing the exact locations of rare species.
  • Take extra caution during the sea turtle spawning season from May to August. When observing the turtles spawning at night, use a red light and keep as quiet as possible.