• Nature & Wildlife

Hidden Gems of Oki Islands—lesser-known sightseeing spots that are worth a visit.

    • Okinoshima Town
    • Nishinoshima Town
    • Ama Town
    • Chibu Village
Hidden Gems of Oki Islands—lesser-known sightseeing spots that are worth a visit.

It is a fact universally acknowledged, that a tourist visiting Nishinoshima Town cannot leave without seeing the Kuniga Coast. However, there are many more interesting places scattered all over the islands that tend to be a bit overlooked. Some are only briefly mentioned on the last pages of tourism brochures, while others don’t make it to any of the pamphlets.
That is why our content team resolved to shine a light on some of the hidden gems of Oki. We compared notes to bring you a list of lesser-known spots, all easily accessible from the port areas.


  1. Sai Pond Walking Trail, Okinoshima Town
  2. Medo-iwa Rock, Nishinoshima Town
  3. Himemiya Shrine, Chibu Village
  4. Mt. Atodo, Ama Town
  5. Saigō-misaki Cape and Lighthouse, Okinoshima Town

Sai Pond Walking Trail, Okinoshima Town

It might seem that the Inugu Area holds a sleepy settlement and little else, but that impression couldn’t be further from the truth. If you find your way to the two giant sacred trees by a small shrine, you will get to the starting point of a forest road. If you follow that road down the gentle slopes, overgrown with ferns, you will reach Sai Pond. 

There is a pleasant walking trail going all around the pond with two access points to the seaside – you can hear the waves crashing into the rocky shore, right behind the trees. This leisure hike is perfect for a half-day venture before catching the afternoon ferry back to the main island of Japan. 

*Take a bus bound for “Iibi” from “Oki Hospital” terminal and get off at the “Inugu” stop (approx. 13 min, JPY 500), then walk to the forest road entrance. Be aware that the number of buses running on the islands is small, so make sure to check the timetable beforehand.

Medo-iwa Rock, Nishinoshima Town

Curiously shaped rocks can be seen all over Oki. They are often at the end of a walking trail or best appreciated from the deck of a sightseeing boat. This one, however, is located right by the side of the road and catches the eye due to the big hole in its upper part. According to local beliefs, Ikezuki, a famous horse in Japanese culture, kicked open a hole in the cliff. The rocks that the mighty stallion sent flying, supposedly formed another rock formation, seen close by in the sea.

*Accessible on foot (approx. 50 min/one-way from Beppu Port) or rental bike (available at Nishinoshima Town Tourism Association).

Himemiya Shrine, Chibu Village

This is a spot off the beaten path – as in, away from the road usually taken when travelling to the famous sights of Chiburijima Island. As a place of worship dedicated to a female deity virtually unknown elsewhere in Japan, the shrine offers a glimpse into the unique culture of the smallest of the four inhabited Oki Islands. It also delights with its serene atmosphere and beautiful views of the sea. Additionally, visitors with a keen eye for details will have a great time spotting all the wooden carvings decorating the shrine buildings. 

*Accessible on foot (approx. 45 min/one-way from Kurii Port) or rental bike (available at Chiburijima Tourism Association).

Mt. Atodo, Ama Town

Sometimes, it’s all about the journey, not the destination. A case in point would be Mt. Atodo, the highest peak in Ama Town. Awaiting the visitors at the summit is a small shrine along with a sense of accomplishment for reaching the goal. But the breathtaking views of the Dōzen Islands are best enjoyed from the numerous points on the mountainside, especially the one 10-15 minutes away from the mountaintop and a couple steps off the beaten road. The path is clear, the slopes are gentle, so let’s take in the pleasure of a hike under blue skies, through green pastures and with the occasional company of a cow grazing nearby. 

*Accessible on foot (approx. 90 min/one-way from Hishiura Port).

Saigō-misaki Cape and Lighthouse, Okinoshima Town

Every ferry leaving or arriving at the Saigō Port passes by this place. And true, the cliff at the side of the Saigō-misaki Cape (once a part of a volcano crater) makes the biggest impression when seen from the sea, but the lookout on top of it also offers beautiful views. Take in the townscape of Okinoshima, sandwiched between Mt. Daimanji and the coast, then look down at the busy waters of Saigo Bay. In the evenings from spring to autumn, they will be lit up with dozens of lights, as at that time special boats equipped with lamps set off to catch squids. 

But whenever you decide to come check out Saigo-Misaki Cape, don’t forget to snap a photo of the picturesque white lighthouse or visit a small shrine, located right behind it.

*Accessible on foot (approx. 90 min/one-way from Saigo Port) or rental bike (available at Okinoshima Town Tourism Association).

So how about it? Will the hidden gems make it into your next Oki Island itinerary? 


Author: Izabela Raczynska