This post was last updated on February 1st, 2020 at 06:26 pm
Amami Oshima is the second largest island off the coast of Japan excluding Okinawa. It is a beautiful island with a subtropical climate and special flora and fauna. The coastline of Amami Oshima is perhaps the most beautiful. You will find beautiful beaches, rugged cliffs, crystal clear water and a lot of bays and coves.
The Island of Amami Oshima
Amami Oshima is not an island that you would expect when you think about Japan. If you are here or looking for pictures on Google, you imagine yourself in southern Thailand rather than in Japan. Yet this tropical island really belongs to Japan. The island is located in the south of Japan above Okinawa and is a great alternative to the islands further south. This tropical island has everything you are looking for!
TIP – A return ticket from Tokyo or Osaka to Amami Airport costs around 12,500 yen ($114) per person.
Our Stay on Amami Oshima
The island reminded us a bit of Hawaii. The nature is so impressive and the beaches are so beautiful that you feel like you are in paradise. White sandy beaches, clear sea water and beautiful mangrove forests.
It is a wonderful island to escape from the busy cities of Japan. You can enjoy swimming, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving or kayaking.
What to Do on Amami Oshima
The islands are located in the middle of the Amami Islands which consists of eight islands. The sea around the islands is protected by the Amami Gunto Quasi-National Park. This park is blessed with clear water, brightly colored coral reefs and hundreds of tropical fish.
It is a perfect island for scuba diving. With beautiful white sandy beaches and unique coral reefs, the north of the island is a popular holiday destination for scuba divers.
1. Go Cycling or Road Tripping
The island is very suitable for beautiful bike rides or for renting a car. The coastal route to Uken on the west coast is a beautiful route to follow. You can also follow Route 58 in the south to Koniya and on to Honohoshikaigan.
From here you can also catch the ferry to the nearby Kakeroma-Jima. Nature, and in particular the tranquility, make this island popular with cyclists and walkers.
TIP – Renting a car costs around $55 per day. A bicycle is, of course, a bit cheaper. Expect around 2000 yen per day, around $18.
Rent a Car
To rent a car or moped you need an International Driving License (IDR). And they are very strict about this. Make sure you bring a valid IDR if you are planning on renting a car or moped.
2. Learn to Surf
Amami is also particularly popular with surfers. The island has a perfect location for the waves. The east coast, in particular, is suitable for surfers. There are a number of places where you can also do SUP (stand up paddle boarding), but surfing is more fun here. You could bring your own gear, but this is quite a hassle.
Fortunately, you can also rent everything you need. You can get more information on this from the hotel you’re staying at.
You can also rent a bike and cycle along the beaches until you see a nice place where surfers are busy. If you ask them where you can rent a board, it will be arranged in no time.
The Most Beautiful Beaches on Amami Oshima
Another reason Amami is so popular is that it has beautiful beaches. Perhaps the most beautiful in Japan. The beach closest to the capital Amami is Ohama-Kaihin-Koen. A beach where you can swim, snorkel and kayak.
Keep in mind that this is the busiest beach. With the bus, it costs Y400 ($3.65) to get there. Other beaches are Tomori-Kaigan (with beautiful coral reefs) and Amami-no-Sato.
1. Sakibaru Kaigan
The most beautiful beach is Sakibaru-Kaigan, 25 kilometers from Naze, the capital (also known as Amami City). If you take the bus from Amami to Sani it will cost you about Y950 ($8.60). We found this to be the most beautiful beach in Japan, perhaps one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Asia. And we would know, we’ve visited quite many!
The best thing is that almost all of these islands are deserted. We were the only Westerners on the island when we came here 2 years ago. That meant that we almost had all the beaches to ourselves. If you want your own piece of paradise try following this route:
- Go to Native Sea Amami Adan On The Beach (a great hotel in a beautiful location!)
- The “road” ends at this hotel, but you can walk further. Walk the entire path or to the beach.
- Turn left at the beach and walk across the beach to a rocky cliff.
- “Climb” over it and you will come across one of the most beautiful beaches you can imagine.
2. Tebiro Beach
Another beautiful beach is Tebiro Beach, a name that is not indicated anywhere else. Remarkably the locals did not know the name either. We asked for it, but without success.
Fortunately, we found out after checking our pictures that it is called Tebiro Beach.
If you use the app maps.me, find the location of K’s Village (Google Maps). Here is a beautiful and especially quiet beach that is popular with surfers. If you don’t like surfing, you can also paraglide here.
Of course, you can also simply enjoy the beach and explore the area. The best way to discover the area is by bike or moped.
TIP – Renting a bike costs 2,000 yen per person for 24 hours.
Not a bad place to sit and relax
If you don’t like the beach (you don’t necessarily have to go here) you can always go into the beautiful interior regions of the island. With dense forests, rivers, mountains, and valleys you can almost imagine yourself in a true fairyland.
Where to Stay on Amami Oshima
Amami Oshima is quite a big island. And we also had to search for what exactly are the best places to spend the night. What we recommend in any case is NOT to stay in one of the two cities (Amami and Setouchi). This might be cheaper, but you sleep in a concrete jungle.
We recommend spending a bit more to sleep on/near the beach.
Watch out; it is certainly not cheap here! Count on a minimum of $110 per night if you want a private double room.
Adan On The Beach
We had very good experiences with Native Sea Adan On The Beach. This is located at Sakibaru-Kaigan, the most beautiful beach, in a secluded bay. You sleep directly on the beach, waking you up with the sound of the sea.
The owner of Adan On The Beach is very nice and the surroundings are beautiful.
TIP – Book your accommodation well in advance! No matter where you sleep. It gets very busy here during the weekend. Many locals come here for the weekend so a lot of accommodations will fill up quickly.
How to Get to Amami Oshima
Your Japan Rail Pass is not very useful since you can’t get to this island by train. Amami-Oshima, fortunately, has its own airport (Amami Airport). The island is 1,200 kilometers from Tokyo and 900 kilometers from Osaka. The easiest way is, therefore, to fly here.
TIP – With Skyscanner, you can book cheap flights from Tokyo to Amami between $110 and $75 per person.
Take The Ferry to Amami Oshima
You can also take the ferry to this island. You can even go to Tokyo by boat! This costs you 23.110 yen ($210) and takes 37 hours. Osaka can also be reached by boat (takes about 29 hours). This ferry does not run daily so check this in advance at your accommodation. You can also take the ferry to the “nearby” located (280 km) Naha. That will cost you around Y10.500 ($96) and takes 13 hours. Kagoshima can also be reached by boat; Y10.310, 11 hours.
Best Time to Visit Amami Oshima
Amami-Oshima has a subtropical climate and therefore warm summers and mild winters. We were there in June and had 1 day of rain in 4 days we spent there. The weather was great for the rest of the days. It is better to avoid Amami in the months of September and October because there is a chance of typhoons.
Summer is the high season. The temperature is wonderfully warm, the sea is accessible and warm and you have many sunny days. The best time to visit Amami-Oshima is, therefore, June to August.