Through Ama Town on Two Wheels
From the seaside to the mountain top, through the history and rice fields, exploring Ama Town on an e-bike is one wholesome (and enjoyable) experience.
When it comes to exploring Ama Town, nothing really beats an e-bike. The distance between many famous sights is a tad too big to leisurely walk, while riding on a regular bicycle amid Japanese summer can be more cardio than some are comfortable with. Plus, looking at the rice fields through a bus window is simply not the same as cycling through the townscape with the wind in one’s hair.
Fortunately, Ama Town Tourism Association has several e-bikes for rental. Out of the 5 fixed routes, designed to maximize your sightseeing experience, I would like to recommend the half-day course (30 km) that will check off many items on your “Ama’s must-visit spots” bucket list. With the office of the Tourism Association as our starting point, let’s see what places are waiting to be discovered along the way.
This is a shop located on the ground floor of the Hishiura Port Ferry Terminal Building. I highly recommend checking out their selection of snacks and stocking up before your trip with one of their delicious lunch boxes. And since many of the products lining up the shelves are made with local produce, you would be treating yourself to the authentic tastes of Ama.
Hishiura Port Ferry Terminal is barely out of sight when you reach the first point of interest during your Ama adventure. Sitting on a stone bench in a small park are Mr and Mrs Yakumo, better known as writer Lafcadio Hearn and his wife Setsu outside Japan. The couple visited the islands and stayed in a now non-existent inn in Ama Town. Hearn later wrote about some of his experiences in Oki in his notes and his famous book – “Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan”.
Take a second to snap a photo with the couple, then continue with your Ama adventure.
The big torii gate on your right marks the next stop. While not as old as many other shrines and temples in Ama Town, Oki Shrine is rooted in history that goes back 800 years. That is because it is dedicated to Emperor Go-Toba who was exiled to Oki in the 13th century. He lived on this island for many years and here he passed away, having left a big mark on the local culture. (You can find out more about it in the Emperor Go-Toba Museum, located nearby.)
A long approach lined with cherry trees is a place to be in spring, during the cherry blossom viewing season. Architecture lovers will be interested to note that the shrine buildings are constructed in a style unique to the islands.
It just wouldn’t do, to explore an island and not have your breath stolen by the spectacular coastline view. At Akiya Coast, nature paired red and blue together – as in, the red of a sheer cliff with the blue of the sea. This contrast makes for an amazing backdrop for the photo of one particularly instagrammable rock, so don’t forget to snap a pic of that famous heart shape it hides! With all the points of interest checked out, how about sitting on a bench by the sea for a snack break?
The way up is a bit steep. True. But Mount Kinkō-ji rewards those who reach her peak with the panoramic view of green rice fields swaying in the wind on the only wide plain in all three Dōzen Islands. You might even spot a ferry going in or out of Hishiura Port in the distance.
Once you catch your breath (and take photos), retrace your steps to the old temple, which is close to the summit. Looking at the stone Buddhist statues and listening to the sound of running spring water, it is easy to imagine the famous exile, poet Ono-no-Takamura, retreating here to pray for a safe return to the capital.
Hishiura Port Ferry Terminal
Welcome back! Did you have a good time? After spending half a day on the bike, you might want to take a break with an ice cream near the ferry terminal. If you are saying goodbye to Ama Town already, check your ferry schedule and swing by Jōshiki Shop, also on the ground floor of the ferry terminal building, for some last-minute souvenir shopping. We hope you will visit again!
You can rent e-bikes on Ama Town from the pages below.