“The Island Closest to Heaven”; Amami Oshima in Kagoshima, Japan

Amami Oshima is a small island located in southern Kyusyu. Though Amami Oshima is not as famous as many other sightseeing spots such as Okinawa and Yakushima, it is called as “the Eastern Galapagos” or “Island Closest to Heaven” in Japan.

Where is Amami Oshima?

Amami is located in the south of Kagoshima prefecture. It is one of Japan’s biggest outlying islands except the four main islands. There are some smaller islands around Amami Oshima and they are called as “Amami Islands”. The main island of Amami Islands is Amami Oshima, while people usually omit “Oshima” and just call it “Amami.”

There are direct flight to Amami from Haneda, Narita, Itami, Kansai and Fukuoka airports. It takes about 2 hours and 50 minutes to reach there from Tokyo by plane. When you are heading back to Tokyo from Amami, it only takes 2 hours. 

Beautiful Beaches in Amami Oshima

The sea of Amami is called as “blue angel”. There are many beautiful beaches around the island. The contrast of blue water and white sand is simply amazing. There are some famous beaches for tourists. But there are many other beaches you can monopolize them like your private beaches. You can do diving, surfing, and snorkeling at Amami. You can also see some sea turtles and many other beautiful fishes.
Please refer to our article "11 Amami Oshima’s Beaches; Japan’s Nature Beauty" for more information.

Beautiful Mountains in Amami Oshima

There are also mountains on Amami and about 85% of area of the island is the mountain. You might realize that the mountain of Amami is different from what you see in many other areas in Japan- most trees are planted trees, such as cedar trees as trees and woods play an important role in the daily life of Japanese people. For instance, cedars are cut down for their wood, and for forest control. The local residents of Amami also cut down trees, but they do not plant trees. Instead, they just wait until the trees regrow naturally for the balance of the ecosystem

Religious Cultures and Sacred PlacesSpots

Amami is a place at which a lot of Japanese traditions remain. There are women called as “Noro” and “Yuta.” They are shamanic people who provide religious services.

There are streets called “Kami-michi” in the villages. “Kami-michi” means “Gods’ streets” and those streets are built only for supernatural spirits. There are also sumo wrestling rings in many villages in Amami. Sumo is not just a sport, .but an important element in the Shinto ritual in Japan.

There are also many sacred spots in Amami. Most of those places are not on guidebook because they are so sacred and protected by Noro and Yuta.

Places to visit in Amami

Most of the beautiful spots in Amami are unnamed. Yet, some of them have got their names after when tourists started to be around. Here are some spots that international travellers enjoy.

Ayamaru Cape

Ayamaru Cape is the most famous view spot in Amami. It is only about 8 minutes away from airport by car. From the observatory deck there at a small hill there, you see Kasarizaki cape on the left, the Pacific Ocean right in front of you and the Tomori Coast on your right. At there, you are embraced by a beautiful beach with coral reefs. There is a park near the cape, and you can swim, and play golf.

Spot Information

  • Name: Ayamaru Cape
  • Adress: Oaza Suno, Kasaricho, Amamishi
  • Access: Take a bus from the airport to "Sani."At the airport, take the bus bound for “Sani”, get off at Ayamaru Misaki (Ayamaru Cape) and walk three minutes to the cape.

Tomori Beach

Tomori beach is the most beautiful and famous beach in Amami. It is only about 7 minutes from the airport. You can enjoy canoe tours there.

Spot Information

  • Name: Tomori Beach
  • Adress: Usyuku, Kasaricho, Amami
  • Access: Take a bus bound for “West-court -mae.” Get off at “Michinoeki-Kotsu-Honsya-mae.” Transfer to another bus to “Koniya” and get off at “Mangrove Park”.

Primeval Forests of Mangroves

There are primeval forests of mangroves in Sumiyocho in Amami. It takes about 70 minutes from the airport. You can also take a bus from the airport. You can enjoy canoe tours there.

Spot Information

  • Name: Primeval Forests of Mangroves
  • Adress: Ishihara, Sumiyocho, Amami
  • Access by bus: Take a bus to “West-court -mae.” Get off at “Michinoeki-Kotsu-Honsya-mae.” Transfer bus to “Koniya” and get off at “Mangrove Park.