About the Oki Islands
Located in the Sea of Japan 40 – 80 km north of Shimane Peninsula, the Oki Islands are a collection of many uninhabited islands and four inhabited islands: Dōgo Island, Nishinoshima Island, Nakanoshima Island and Chiburijima Island. Designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark, the islands are also part of the Daisen-Oki National Park.
Okinoshima Town is on the largest island (Dōgo Island) and lies slightly away from the other three inhabited islands. Nishinoshima Town, Ama Town and Chibu Village, lying respectively on Nishinoshima Island, Nakanoshima Island and Chiburijima Island, lie closer to each other and are collectively known as the Dōzen Islands.
The Oki Islands offer many outdoor activities. Surrounded by exceptionally clear waters, Oki is the perfect place for marine activities such as sea kayaking and snorkeling. The rugged coastline and landscape formed by volcanic activities in the past offer scenic routes for hiking and cycling. Cows and horses are kept on the islands, and sometimes they can be found grazing along the scenic hiking routes.
Communication and trade between the islands and other regions in Japan helped in shaping the unique identity of the islands. A lot of the folk songs and dances introduced from mainland Japan are still sung and performed today, such as Kinnyamonya of Ama Town. Kabuki of Chibu Village is the only kabuki performance on the islands. Other unique local traditions and culture include a Shinto festival with cantering horses of Okinoshima Town and a dance ritual dedicated to good harvest of Nishinoshima Town.
The sheltered waters of the islands also provide an ideal condition for rock oyster farming. Cultivated in the Oki Islands, the gigantic Oki rock oysters are in season from March to June. These high quality, palm-sized rock oysters can be found in many restaurants on the islands. The locally sourced Oki Beef is another must-try local delicacy. Tender and juicy, the marbled beef is simply delicious and unforgettable.