Do you know where the Amami archipelago refers to? This article introduces the difference between Amami Oshima and the Amami region, the location, the characteristics of each island and the time required from Amami Oshima. Use Amami Oshima as a base for island hopping around two or three islands and enjoy the unique scenery and culture of each island!
What is the Amami archipelago? What prefecture is the southernmost point of the Amami Islands?
The Amami archipelago is located between Kagoshima and Okinawa, and consists of eight inhabited islands from north to south: Amami Oshima, Kikaijima, Kakaromajima, Kojima, Yorojima, Tokunoshima, Okinoerabujima, and Yoronjima. All of the islands belong to Kagoshima Prefecture, but Yoron Island, the southernmost of the Amami Archipelago, is only 22 kilometers from Cape Hento, the northernmost point of Okinawa Prefecture!
Do you know that "Amami Islands" and "Amami Region" are different?
By the way, where is the "Amami region" located? The Amami area is a division used in weather forecasting, and it includes the Amami archipelago and the Tokara islands in the north. By the way, there is Yakushima in the north of Tokara archipelago, and the straight line distance between Yakushima and Amami Oshima is about 250km!
Where to Go in the Amami Archipelago⁉The Fun of Island Hopping
All the islands in the Amami archipelago can be reached by ferry, and four of them are connected to Amami Oshima by Japan Air Commuter of the JAL Group. There are many people who enjoy island hopping by ferry and airplane. Let's check out the features and highlights of each island in the Amami archipelago!
Amami Oshima is the largest island in the Amami archipelago and was recognized as a World Natural Heritage site in July 2021 along with Tokunoshima and Okinawa. Amami Oshima is the largest island in the Amami archipelago and was designated as a World Natural Heritage site in July 2021 along with Tokunoshima and Okinawa. There are many places to visit, such as "Heart Rock," where it is said that your love wish will come true, "Cape Ayamaru," where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the ocean, and "Ohama Seaside Park," where the sunset is beautiful.
The island songs, which have been sung for more than 1,000 years, are characterized by the unique singing style of Amami Oshima and are indispensable for celebrations and prayers. Oshima pongee, one of the three most famous textiles in the world, is also a traditional craft of Amami Oshima. Try your hand at "mud dyeing," the world's only dyeing method, and dye a T-shirt or handkerchief!
- Size: Area 712 square km, circumference 461 km
It takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes by car from the northern part, where Amami Airport is located, to the southernmost point, Koniya.
Kikaijima Island is an island of coral reefs that are still rising. Sugila Beach is an attractive swimming beach with 250 meters of white sand and crystal clear water. Surrounded by a reef, the waves are calm, so you can enjoy swimming and SUP. The giant banyan tree of Tekuzuku, which is 18 meters tall, is said to be the most powerful spot on the island.
- Size: Area 56.94 square km, circumference 48 km
- Access from Amami Oshima: 20 minutes by air, 2 hours and 30 minutes by ferry
Kakaromajima Island is only a 15-minute ferry ride from Amami Oshima, and once you get off the boat, you will find yourself in another world of peace and tranquility. In addition to snorkeling and diving on the clear beaches, it is also possible to explore the Blue Cave and walk around the uninhabited islands. Saneku Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, is called "Saneku Blue" by the locals, and is a must-see. You will be overwhelmed by the sacred atmosphere of nature at the Jiairi Waterfall and the Banyan Tree of Wuna.
- Size: Area 77 square km, circumference 147 km
- Access from Amami Oshima: 20 minutes by ferry from Koniya Port.
There are two ports on Kakaroma Island, Sesao and Ikuma, which run every 1 to 2 hours.
The island is famous among fishing fans because of its excellent fishing spots. You can enjoy the simplicity and peaceful scenery without being overly touristy.
- Size: 13 square km, circumference 24.8 km
- Access from Amami Oshima: 45 min. by regular town boat from Koniya Port.
There are two ports on the island, Ikeji and Ukeamuro, with about one service per day.
A small island with a population of about 80 people, it is popular for fishing and diving. The island is popular for fishing and diving. There is an uninhabited island called "Hamia Island" with beautiful white sand hills (landing permission required), which has been introduced many times on TV.
- Size: Area 9.3 square km, circumference 18.4 km
- Access from Amami Oshima: Approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes from Koniya Port by regular town boat (via Koenjima), which operates about once a day.
The island is known for its bullfighting, which has been going on for over 500 years, and as an island of longevity and fertility, which has produced two of the world's longest-lived people. Bullfighting tournaments are held several times a year, where bulls weighing up to one ton engage in a powerful battle. The "Megane Iwa", commonly known as "Inu no Jofuta", which is eroded by rough waves and seasonal winds, is a famous photo spot!
- Size: Area 248 square km, circumference 89.2 km
- Access from Amami Oshima: about 30 minutes by airplane, about 3 hours and 30 minutes by ferry
There are several limestone caves, such as Shoryu Cave, where you can see one of the largest and most beautiful flowstones in Japan, and it is called the "sacred land of caves. In addition to caving, where you can enjoy the mysterious and spectacular scenery, there are also many stylish cafes and bars.
- Size: Area 93.8 square km, circumference 55.8 km
- Access from Amami Oshima: 1 hour and 30 minutes by air (via Tokunoshima), 6 hours and 30 minutes by ferry
The eye-catching white sandy beach and emerald green sea are very attractive. Especially, "Yurigahama," which appears only at low tide from mid to high tide in spring and summer, is popular for weddings! Enjoy a wide range of marine activities such as SUP, sea kayaking, and banana boating.
- Size: 20.58 square kilometers in area and 23 kilometers in circumference
- Access from Amami Oshima: approx. 40 min. by air, approx. 8 hr. 20 min. by ferry
- Access from Okinawa: 40 minutes by air, 2 hours and 30 minutes by ferry from Motobu Port
Plan your trip to the Amami Islands mainly based on the activities you want to do and the time you can access them. Since there are only a few flights and they may arrive early in the morning or late at night, it is best to check the timetable in advance. Also, ferries and liners may not stop at ports depending on weather conditions and the number of passengers, so it is better to plan your schedule well in advance. Enjoy island hopping in the Amami archipelago at your leisure!