Aoshima – 青島
Aoshima is a small Island in Shouthern Kyūshū‘s Miyazaki prefecture: here you can feel the tropical atmosphere of this region.
What kind of place is Aoshima?
Aoshima isn’t far from Miyazaki City, the main city of Miyazaki Prefecture.
Its area is about 4.4 hectares wide, with a perimeter of 860 meters.
The island is connected to the mainland through the Yayoi bridge, so you don’t need to take boats or planes to reach it.
Since Aoshima’s soil overlaps in steps regularly, there’s a rock called “the demon’s washboard”. Due to its rarity, in Japan it is believed that this island’s seabed formation, eroded by the waves, have originated from divine intervention.
It has been proved that Aoshima is home to more than 200 species of tropical plants, so this means that this is the northernmost community of subtropical plants in the world.
At Aoshima Shrine, located in the inner part of the Island, four main festivals are celebrated throughout the year: among these, the most famous is the Fuyu-sai (which corresponds to the festival that celebrates the reaching of adulthood).
The Fuyu-sai was once called “Hadaka-iri (naked dance)” because, in the past, boys and girls used to visit the temple while being naked. Nowadays, the shrine priest, the young boys, girls and other believers just enter the water to pray.
How to reach Aoshima
Aoshima is located in Southern Kyūshū, so from Tōkyō and Kansai area it becomes a quite remote place. Traveling by plane might be the best way.
Impression about Aoshima
We went towards Aoshima by traveling southwards on the railway, along the coast line of Miyazaki Prefecture.
We had been beholding the tropical woods from the window, while the clouds were leaving. Arrived at Miyazaki Station, we took the Nichinan Line, where the train was full of students heading to school.
Aoshima Station had wild flowers surrounded platforms and the building was quite nice too. The area in front of it was covered by blue tiles and decorated with palm trees: the atmosphere was very lively.
Just out of the station we noticed a small building which was a baggage drop office. We entered the building and a kind old woman welcomed us. There is no baggage drop office in the station, so we left our luggage there and we were given information about the route to Aoshima,
After just 10 walking minutes from the station we saw the “entrance” to the island: on the way heading to the white sand beach there are some souvenir and ice-cream shops: we tried the famous Miyazaki Prefecture’s mango ice-cream, truly delicious.
A wonderful landscape was extending from the beach: Aoshima was floating on the waves, covered by green. In the water on the sides of the bridge there were many surfers waiting for the right wave.
At the end of the bridge a huge red torii takes place, the main entrance to Aoshima Shrine is just beyond it.
The sea and the palm trees created such an atmosphere that we felt like being in Okinawa.
In the Shrine area there are some small shops selling amulets and lucky charms (omamori).
The main hall is a big vermillion building, not far from it you can see a small shrine in a tropical atmosphere.
We left the shrine and went on a stroll along the island’s perimeter. On its eastern cape a small light house marking Aoshima’s position takes place: it was coming out the cloudy sky in a very unusual atmosphere.
Among the places we visited in Japan, Aoshima has become one of our favorites. If you are in Southern Kyūshū don’t miss this island. It might look small, but it will enrich your journey with great memories.