Swim, kayak, and dive at one of japan‘s top island getaways, Amami-Oshima. Located in the East China Sea between Kyushu and Okinawa, Amami-Oshima offers a tropical paradise with its white beaches, beautiful coral reefs, and crystal-clear sea. It is no wonder that it is one of Japan’s most popular snorkeling and scuba-diving retreats.
To get to Amami-Oshima, there are several options available. You can take a plane from many major Japanese cities, with the island being just two hours and 10 minutes from Tokyo, 1.5 hours from Osaka, and 50 minutes from Kagoshima. Alternatively, you can also take a ferry from Kagoshima, which takes around 11 hours, or from Naha in Okinawa, which takes around 13 hours.
Amami-Oshima is Japan’s ninth-largest island and the largest island in the Satsunan Archipelago. It is known as the “Big Island” and is part of the Amami Gunto National Park. The island is blessed with clear waters and abundant coral reefs, making it a haven for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. Multiple locations across the island offer gear rentals and lessons for those who want to explore the underwater world.
The northern part of Amami-Oshima is a popular resort area, boasting white sandy beaches and long stretches of reef. The island’s natural beauty extends beyond its beaches, with about 65 percent of its land covered in forests. The second-largest mangrove forest in Japan can be found along the central coast of the island. Renting a kayak and exploring the mangroves during high tide is a popular activity for nature lovers. The area is also home to diverse bird life, making it a paradise for birdwatchers.
Amami-Oshima has a unique island culture that has been influenced by both Kyushu and Okinawa’s Ryukyu Kingdom. The island’s music, festivals, and overall vibe are more similar to those found in Okinawa than on mainland Japan. Visitors can learn more about the island’s culture by visiting Amami Park’s folk museum.
When it comes to food, Amami-Oshima offers a variety of delicious seafood dishes. One of the island’s most popular dishes is keihan, which consists of chicken over rice covered with chicken broth. The island’s cuisine showcases the freshest ingredients from the surrounding sea.
Getting around Amami-Oshima is relatively easy. The island offers an Island Bus service that provides multi-day bus passes at discounted fares. However, it is important to note that the bus may not cover all areas of interest. Renting a moped or car is another option, allowing visitors to explore the island at their own pace. Cycling is also possible in certain areas.
In July 2021, Amami-Oshima, along with Tokunoshima Island, was registered as a World Natural Heritage Site. This recognition further highlights the island’s importance as a natural and cultural treasure.
As with any travel plans, it is essential to stay updated on the latest information, especially considering the current COVID-19 pandemic. Travel restrictions and guidelines may vary, so it is advisable to check with local authorities and travel advisories before planning a trip to Amami-Oshima.
In conclusion, Amami-Oshima is a hidden gem in Japan’s island paradise. With its stunning beaches, clear waters, and unique island culture, it offers a truly unforgettable experience for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Whether you are a diving enthusiast, a birdwatcher, or simply looking to relax on pristine beaches, Amami-Oshima has something for everyone. Plan your trip to this tropical getaway and discover the beauty of Amami-Oshima for yourself.
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