Top 5 Places to Visit on the Oki Islands in Summer
Delights of four seasons, summer edition.
In Japan, summer means high temperature and humidity levels that make air-conditioned buildings look (and feel) very appealing. Still, clear skies entice tourists and locals alike to venture outside – especially when rich greenery and blue seas are also thrown into the equation.
Here are the top 5 places that no summertime trip to Oki Islands should skip.
Sotohama Beach, Nishinoshima Town
Beloved by the locals, this is the only natural sandy beach in Nishinoshima Town. Snuggled inside a bay, the clear waters of the beach make it a perfect place for swimming and snorkeling. Once you swim to your heart’s content, you can take a stroll along the shore and the rocky cliffs or check out the nearby Funabiki Canal. Or just lay back and enjoy a peaceful afternoon by the blue sea, under the blue sky.
*Swimming in the Funabiki Canal is prohibited.
Shimazushima Island, Chibu Village
Right across the bridge from the smallest of inhabited islands of Oki (Chiburijima Island), this islet is another perfect place to enjoy the summer sun. Located there is Watatsu Beach, one of the go-to places for swimming or just taking it easy while enjoying the warm sand under one’s feet. After taking a dip in the sea, you can pay a visit to the small Shinto shrine a few steps away from the sandy shore, or take a short walk, looking at the rocks along the trail for 5.5 million-year-old trace fossils.
Rōsoku-jima (Candle Island), Okinoshima Town
Hands down the most famous sightseeing spot in Okinoshima Town, the Candle Island is present on most tourism promotion posters, if not all of them. It is a small, curiously shaped islet off the north-west coast of the island. When the setting sun overlaps with its upper part, it looks like a huge burning candle – hence the name.
But there is a teeny, tiny catch. The “light-up candle effect” can be seen only from the sea. Local sightseeing boats offer cruises with this spectacular view as their highlight, and while they operate from spring to late autumn, the experience is perhaps the most enjoyable in summer. Get your cameras ready and breathe in the sea breeze!
Uzuka-mikoto Shrine, Ama Town
A well-respected shrine in Ama Town, Uzuka-mikoto Shrine is mentioned by name in ancient records. In addition, it is also a place made picturesque by the surrounding paddy fields. In early summer, the flooded land dotted with rice seedlings reflects the sky like a giant mirror that has the torii gate seemingly towering over the clouds. In later months, visitors walk up the shrine approach amongst the grown rice plants; when swaying in the wind, they look like waves on the sea of green. There is something immensely pleasing about those sights, and that earns the Uzuka-mikoto Shrine a place on this list.
Yui Maenosu Intertidal Shore Platform
Located close to Yui Port, this is a large wave-cut platform which takes “sunset by the sea” to another level. On summer evenings when the weather is good, its shallow water turns into a mirror that reflects the setting sun and the sea brightens up with warm colours. Remember to bring your sandals so that you can dip your feet right in, walking on the platform and enjoying the view to the fullest.
*There is no public transport available to this area. It can be reached only with a rental car or a taxi.
Author: Izabela Raczynska