Sightseeing spots on Day 1
This is Takashi's original 3-night, 4-day model course. (Rent-a-car required. For active travelers who travel hard.)
1. Kansai Airport to Amami Airport (Peach）
Amami Oshima has been on my mind for a long time. It hasn't been that long since cheap flights started flying, so it's a remote island that will become more and more popular in the future. You can go from Kansai Airport for a round trip of 10,000 yen.
I vaguely expected that the tourism business would not be as developed as in the Yaeyama Islands. (Okinawa remote islands) But it's a corona disaster, and I want to relax in a place where there are not as many people as possible! With that in mind, I decided to explore Amami Oshima. I used to go to Ishigaki Island every year around this time, but it seems that there are a lot of tourists flooding there. I think I'll postpone going to the Yaeyama Islands until next year.
I took a morning flight and arrived at Amami Airport before noon.
Isn't there too many sightseeing spots to visit on the first day? Some people may think, but it is possible because the distance of each location is close. (If you want to save time, skip 6. Kurasaki Kaigan Beach.)
2. Tomori Beach / Ayamaru Misaki Kanko Park (Mishoran Cafe)
Kasaricho Oaza Ushuku, Amami, Kagoshima 894-0501
After picking up the rental car, the first destination is Tomori Beach. You can get there in 10 minutes from the airport.
A beautiful beach that you wouldn't believe you were at the airport just a moment ago. It was low tide, and the water was quite low, so it was not a good time for snorkeling. This beach is easy to walk, so I took a walk on the beach for a while.
Even before the trip, I was concerned about the volcanic pumice damage caused by the eruption of the submarine volcano in Fukutoku Okanoba, Ogasawara, which had been in the news since last fall. (2021) At this time, the water was receding due to low tide, so the pumice stones were left on the beach and did not appear to be floating on the surface of the water.
There are some pumice stones on the beach. Maybe I was able to see a special scenery that I can only see now, with pumice stones on the beach forming a wave pattern.
(Amami Oshima Tomori beach, volcanic pumice stone 2022/March/20)
The weather is sunny, and the temperature is around 20 degrees. No one was swimming at this beach. I brought my snorkeling gear, but it's low tide and the water is a little cold, so I don't think I'll be able to use it on this trip.
My next destination is Cape Ayamaru Kanko Park, just a few minutes from Tomori Beach.
Kasaricho Oaza Suno, Amami, Kagoshima 894-0624
Interesting sounding name. (Ayamaru means being sorry in Japanese.) Did someone do soemthing bad here? It seems that "maru" means a ball also (a ball used for playing). There is a superb view cafe, Mishoran Cafe, at the largest observatory. I decided to have lunch there.
I eat a salt pork burger while looking at the scenery that somehow reminds me of Miyakojima's Higashi Hennazaki. A burger with salty pork and mashed potatoes. The scenery of this coast has been selected as one of the 10 views of Amami and 100 views of New-Kagoshima.
There are many playground equipment in the park in front of the beach. Many families with children were playing. In the cold season, you can play while looking at the beautiful sea!
Facing the sea in the park, there is something like a concrete pier sticking out. At first I thought it was a photo spot, but I was wrong. This is the seawater pool. It seems to provide a safe swimming place where children don't have to worry about being swept away by the waves. It was still too cold for children to swim, so it was a perfect Instagrammable spot.
After enjoying the view from the cafe, I went to Observatory 1 and 2. Observatory 2 is closer to the sea, so you can see how beautiful the Amami sea is. It doesn't seem to be registered as a spot on GoogleMap, but you can also see the cycad colony next door.
3. Cycad colonies
It is not advertised as a tourist spot, but there is a cycad colony, so I visited there. It feels like a forest from the age of the dinosaurs, and it has an interesting atmosphere. The cycad is a plant that flourished during the Jurassic period. You can explore the forest in about 10 minutes, so I recommend taking a quick walk.
There are very few places in Japan where so many cycads grow in clusters. A shell mound was discovered, and traces of people living here long ago have been found. The seeds and stems of the cycad are edible, and during food shortages in old days, they were cooked into ``sotetsu gayu'' and ``nari miso.''
4. Ushuku Shell Mound Ruins Museum
2301 Kasaricho Oaza Ushuku, Amami, Kagoshima 894-0501
"Let's continue beach hopping." I started driving from Cape Ayamaru. Then I found something that looked like an exhibition hall along the road. Usuku Kaizuka Ruins Museum? I didn't realize it existed when I did my research before the trip.
I like ruins and I'm interested in life in the old days, so I entered without hesitation. There were no other visitors, so I was able to take time to look. It must be a very valuable ruin since the whole shell mound is protected by a building.
Potteries from 4500 to 3000 years ago were discovered. It's so amazing. People have been living on Amami Oshima for such a long time. I'm glad I found this place by chance and stopped by. There are several illustrations that introduce life in the Jomon period, but there is one thing that interests me.
A red bird watching over people? I'm curious, I love this kind of guardian deity. I assume this red bird lives on this island, right? I really want to see the real bird. Also, there is a light blue mysterious mascot character drawn everywhere, but it doesn't really interest me much since it looks modern, so I try to ignore. (It's called Kenmun. Something like Kim Jin-na in Okinawa? Also, a pig ghost without a head shows up sometimes?? I'm scared of that too, so I ignore. If I don't know, it's not scary.)
When I looked it up, it turned out to be a kind of kingfisher called Ryukyu red kingfisher. In Amami, it was said to be a bird of the gods. It's so cute. They are coming to Amami in April, so I don't think I will be able to meet them on this trip.
5. Uttabaru Beach/Sakibaru Beach
3265 Kasaricho Oaza Kise, Amami, Kagoshima 894-0507
I only ate Shiobuta Burger for lunch, so I stopped on the way to eat the famous chicken rice. I went to a restaurant called Minatoya Keihan, which I had researched in advance, but there was a sign in storefront saying "finished". It seems that lunch ends early when it gets crowded. There is a supermarket called A Coop nearby, so I bought a lunch box there and headed to Uttabaru Beach.
It's so beautiful! I like this one better than the Tomori beach I went to first. There are not many rocky areas, and the sand feels good on my feet.
Even if you come here directly from the airport, it takes only 15 minutes to drive. It's small, but there is a parking and restroom. A facility where you can experience making salt from sea water is across from the parking lot. This experience seems to take time, so I'll skip this time.
I ate lunch while admiring the beautiful scenery.
（Uttabaru Beach also had volcanic pumice patterns on the beach. 2022/3/20）
The area where you can see a rock inside the shore is called is Sakibaru Beach, and it's in the end of this peninsula. Since I'm so close to it, I'll stop by as well. Beach parking is a few minutes drive away.
There is nothing really on Sakigaru Beach other than a restroom and vending machines. It feels like a private beach with few people. It's right next to Uttabaru Beach, so the feel of the sand and the beauty of the sea are the same.
3622 Kasaricho Oaza Kise, Amami, Kagoshima 894-0507
This Sakibaru beach becomes more and more rocky as you walk in the direction of the cape. Large rocks filled with coral fossils are scattered around. It's easy to walk at low tide, so let's go to the very end.
The atmosphere is quite different. Suddenly I can hear the theme song of Jurassic World. There were many tide pools in the rocky area, and I was able to observe sea creatures.
Until I came to this beach, I felt that Amami has less creatures on the beach than the Yaeyama Islands. There is no doubt that the number of coral fragments and the number of hermit crabs, regular crabs, and fishes are less. There seems to be a considerable difference in ecosystems between tropical and subtropical regions.
6. Kurasaki Kaigan Beach
Ashitoku, Tatsugo, Oshima District, Kagoshima 894-0412
After walking around 3 beaches, I got a little tired, so I decided to check in to the hotel and take a rest. I chose Amami Resort Hotel Caretta for the first night.
The reason I chose this hotel is because there is a long beach in front, and there are only few buildings around so I probably can see many stars at night. Kurasaki Kaigan Beach is just a short walk from here.
When I was looking for a hotel to stay on Google Map, I thought, "The bay here is an unnaturally beautiful circle." If you look closely at the map, it is written as Akaogi Bay (Amami Crater).
Crater? No way, a large-scale ancient romance? Armageddon? I Googled it, and it really was. There is a strong theory that the coastline was formed by a meteorite falling here. The impact of a meteorite that creates a crater of this scale, it must have blown everything away. There is also the theory that this collision connected neighboring islands. I wonder if I can see a beautiful starry sky on the beach of the meteorite crater tonight?
The scenery of the beach around here is beautiful, but it's not as good as Uttabaru Beach and Sakibaru Beach, so I skip posting the pictures.
7. Dragon's Eye (Sunset Spot)
Tatsugo, Oshima District, Kagoshima 894-0331
Since I was able to take a break, I set out for a drive again in search of the sunset over the sea and dinner.
The area around the Kagambana Tunnel is a famous sunset spot. It seems that it is also called the dragon's eye, what exactly is it? I get my hopes up. There are not many sandy beaches around the tunnel, and the waves are big on the rocky area. It's a different kind of beauty from the tropical beach we saw earlier.
I can see the tunnel. A lot of cars are parked illegally and there are a lot of tourists. It's a coastline with a great view, so I think you can see the sunset from anywhere, but why is it so crowded here?
I see, apparently people are poised to see the sunset through the hole in the tunnel. Hmmm, if you waited in such a place, until that moment came, the tunnel would be in the way, and you wouldn't be able to see the sunset and the ocean. Well, everyone has their own way of enjoying life.
I came to the other side of the tunnel because I don't feel attracted to spots where people are fighting over the roadway. ( I don't care to see the sunset passing through the tunnel hole.) There is a parking space, but no one is here. Conveniently, there is a stairway down to the rocky beach, so I sit there, eat sweets, and wait for the sunset.
The strong wind and big waves combined with the light of the setting sun is creating a dramatic scene.
After enjoying the sunset, I headed to Keihan Hisakura, a chicken rice restaurant that I researched before the trip. However, this restaurant also shortened their store hours due to their convenience. Next, I went to a restaurant called Kitchen House Pada, which I was considering as an option, but this restaurant was full, and they were obviously struggling to serve people.
To some extent, I expected to have a hard time finding places to eat before coming here, but I didn't think it would be this bad. I look forward to the future growth of Amami's restaurant business in many ways. (Restaurant owners need Internet literacy to update their Google Map business hours at least.)
If I couldn't find any food, my last resort was to go to the restaurant at Hotel Caretta where I was staying. Chicken rice is also on the menu there. It looks like a large ochazuke (Japanese tea over rice) with lots of ingredients. The light soup was delicious, and I could eat it easily. There was a locally farmed prawn dish, so I ordered that as well. I ate the whole head, and it was delicious. I really recommend it. Regarding Keihan (chiken rice soup), propably once is enough to eat.
Hotel Caretta is reasonably priced, so I didn't expect much, but it's a very good hotel. Why is there a goat in the parking lot btw? The grounds, restaurant and pool were all spacious and clean. The staff at the front desk is also kind. You can see the sea from your room, and you can drink coffee while watching the sunrise in the morning. The breakfast buffet was also good with a wide variety of food.
After eating dinner, I took a flashlight and went to the beach in front. The weather was nice, and I was lucky to see many stars. As for how well I could see, I could clearly see the Great Orion Nebula, and sometimes I could see satellites moving across the sky. (Sorry if this example doesn't make sense.)
Amami Oshima Gallery 1
Please visit my glass jewelry shop from the link below.