The 10 most Instagrammable Places of the Oki Islands
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Floating off the coast of Shimane Prefecture, Oki Islands is a hidden treasure on the Sea of Japan. The islands are filled with breathtaking scenery and unforgettable landscapes; perfect for your Instagram feed! Here are the 10 most Instagrammable places voted by our content team:
Kuniga Coast, Nishinoshima Town
Located on the western coast of Nishinoshima Island, Kuniga Coast is the home to Matengai Cliff and Tsūtenkyō Arch, which are 2 of the most iconic spots of Oki. The hiking track at Kuniga Coast will provide you with the perfect opportunity to experience the breathtaking views of the coast at first hand. To get the perfect picture of Matengai Cliff from top to bottom, hop on the sightseeing boat! You will also be able to see more photogenic spots along the coast!
*A section of the road leading to Matengai Cliff is temporarily closed due to fallen rocks. The restoration works are underway.
Rōsoku-jima (Candle Island), Okinoshima Town
Rising 20 meters vertically out of the water, the sea stack is the icon of Dōgo. The stack gained its name because it looks like a candle lit by the sun when it sets and aligns with the rock. To witness the miraculous moment, join the sightseeing boat tour!
Sekiheki (Red Cliff), Chibu Village
The Red Cliff of Chiburijima Island is a must-visit spot. The red rock, oxidized lava rich in iron, gave this stunning cliff its name. Here you can enjoy the extraordinary landscape, learn about the geological features of the area and feel the power of the Earth. The view of Sekiheki from the lookout is breathtaking, but the view of the cliff from the water is strikingly memorable. Join the sunset cruise and catch the unforgettable sight of the cliff turn flaming red by the rays of the setting sun.
*The sunset cruise is suspended in 2021 due to COVID-19. Please enjoy the breath-taking view of the Red Cliff on land.
Chichi-sugi Japanese Cedar, Okinoshima Town
Approximately 60 minutes by car from Saigō Port, this 40 meters tall Japanese cedar tree is estimated to be 800 years old. The strangely-shaped drooping roots gained the tree its name. Serene and tranquil, this is a perfect location for forest bathing and embracing Oki’s nature.
*The road leading to Chichi-sugi Japanese Cedar is temporarily closed until further notice.
Yui Maenosu Intertidal Shore Platform, Okinoshima Town
Located on the western shore of Dōgo, this intertidal shore platform is a hidden gem of the Oki Islands. The shore platform is crafted by wind and sea erosion. The Oki version of “the Mirror of the Sky” appears when the tide is low and waves are calm. Since this shore platform is half hidden under the waves, make sure to plan ahead before heading out!
*If you are planning to venture on a walk on the platform, please bring along your marine shoes or sandals that you don’t mind getting wet. Don’t forget a towel to clean off your feet!
*Always be mindful of where you are stepping so you don’t step on any animals or shells.
*Do not remove any creatures from their habitat.
*Keep track of the tide and the weather.
*The road to Yui is narrow and winding so please be careful when driving there, especially after sunset.
Takuhi Shrine, Nishinoshima Town
Half hidden inside a cave, the wooden shrine building of Takuhi Shrine, built in 1732, is the oldest in the Oki Islands. Since the shrine is located on Mount Takuhi, you can also enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Dōzen Islands, and catch a glimpse of mainland Japan on a clear day. The hike up to the shrine is short and enjoyable, and there are bamboo hiking sticks at the entrance of the hiking track as well for those who wish to use them. Don’t forget to keep an eye out on the Japanese pit vipers and hornets that live there!
*Here (p. 26 of the Pocket Guide to Outdoor Activities in the Oki Islands) are some tips on what to do if you see a snake or hornets in Oki Islands.
*The road leading to Takuhi Shrine is temporarily closed until further notice.
Nagu-saki Cape, Okinoshima Town
Nagu-saki Cape is also located on the western shore of Dogō Island, and quite close to Yui Maenosu Intertical Shore Platform. Here you can enjoy a short walk from the carpark to the lighthouse and admire the beauty of the Dōzen Islands, which are visible in the distance. Since part of the walking trail is inside a pasture, closed shoes are highly recommended and make sure not to disturb the cows that are enjoying their time at the cape too!
Due to the special landscape, it can be very windy at Nagu-saki Cape. Bring a windbreaker with you.
Mt. Akahage, Chibu Village
The summit of Mt. Akahage, at 325 m, is the highest point of Chiburijima Island. Here you can enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view of the island, and here is also the place where you can take a picture of all the 4 major islands of Oki! If the weather is fine, you can also catch the sight of mainland Japan.
Akiya Coast, Ama Town
Located on the north-eastern coast of Nakanoshima Island, the picturesque Heart Rock of Akiya Coast is another popular sightseeing spot. A short path from the carpark will lead you closer to the Heart Rock (inaccessible by foot), and while you are there, don’t miss out the opportunity to check out the red-coloured cliff, which contrasts beautifully against the blue sea!
Saburō-iwa Rocks, Ama Town
Literally meaning “Three Brothers”, Saburō-iwa Rocks are three sea stacks standing northeast of Hishiura Port. Popular with the islanders, they are named Tarō, Jirō and Saburō respectively. Since the “Three Brothers” are inaccessible by foot, to catch a better glimpse of them, hop on the underwater viewing boat! The 50-minute tour will not only bring you closer to the “Three Brothers”, but will also give you an opportunity to enjoy the landscape underwater!
Author: Cleo Wong