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Oki Islands

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The Oki Islands, (Oki-shotō |隠岐諸島|} are a group of four islands located in the Sea of Japan, located to the north of Shimane Prefecture, with a population of ~ 21500 people.

  • Dōgō |島後|is the largest of the Oki Islands. It is also known as Okinoshima-cho (隠岐の島町), a merging of the main towns Goka (五箇), Fuse (布施), Saigo (西郷), and Tsuma (都万).

It is located north-east of the Dōzen Islands. Dōgō's population, as of 31st December 2012 is ~ 15400

  • Dōzen |島前| is comprised of three islands:

Chiburijima (知夫里島) better known as Chibu. Pop ~ 600 /> Nakanoshima (中ノ島)better known as Ama. Pop ~ 2400
Nishinoshima (西ノ島) Pop ~ 3150

WeatherEdit

  • Summers in Oki, Jun-Aug, average around 30 degrees celsius plus humidity. There is usually is a cooling sea breeze. The sea waves during the summer rarely exceed 2 meters.
  • Autumn in Oki, Sept-Nov, is temperate. It begins to rain more often & the waves begin to grow. The Rainbow (fast ferry) stops operating at the end of December.
  • Winters in Oki, from Dec-Feb, are relatively mild but still cold. Temperatures rarely drop below freezing. Although, it may snow often during the winter months it rarely settles. What snow there is does not lie for long because the ground is not cold enough. The ferry is more likely to be canceled due to high waves, but it is still possible to leave the island.
  • Spring in Oki, Mar-May, is generally regarded as the best season for many reasons. There are many opportunities for viewing cherry blossoms on Oki during the spring. The Rainbow (fast ferry) starts running in March.

TransportationEdit

There are two available modes of transportation getting to and from the islands:

  • Airplane: There is an airport on the larger island Dogo |島後|. Flights go to Izumo Airport and Osaka Itami Airport. Discounts are available for local residents(including JETs)
  • Ferry: The normal service runs all year round to all four islands and the mainland. There is also a faster ferry service, Rainbow 2, that operates from spring to the end of autumn.
    • Buses depart from Yonago & Matsue to reach Sakaiminato/Shichirui ports.
      • There is also a small high-speed boat service running regularly between the Dozen Islands (Chibu, Nishinoshima and Ama). This service runs well into the evening, and only costs ¥300 per trip, making it a great alternative for those travelers keen to do some island hopping.

Approximate Cost (2012)

* A one-way ticket, by airplane, is 12,000~21,000円 (~200 US$)

Fare varies massively depending when you book it, it's about half the price if you book more than three months in advance. This is the your best way to get to Osaka. 12000 for the Plane unless your a real penny pincher you can opt for;. 3100 for the ferry+ 1000 for the ferry bus and 5000 for the ferry saving you less than 3000 yen and taking an extra 10 hours minimum.

To Izumo fares are about 7000円 one-way. Unless time is of the essence it's not really worth it.

* A one-way ticket, by ferry, is 3,150円 (~30 US$)

Takes 2- 5 hours depending on the route.

* A one-way ticket, by fast ferry, is 6,000円 (~55 US$)

Approximately 1 hour from Dogo, 2 hours from Nishinoshima/Ama

  • prices fluctuate from year to year, depending on gas prices

Getting inEdit

1. By airplane
Japan Airlines, also known as JAL, offers one flight per day from Itami Airport, airport code "ITM", located in Osaka. There is also one flight via Izumo Airport "IZO".

The direct flight departs "ITM" in the early afternoon. The flight via Izumo leaves early morning.

During Japanese holidays it is recommended to book tickets at least one month in advance. Online booking is not available. If you book more than 55 days in advance you can get a very cheap ticket.

1. Ferry Time Table ***if the ocean waves exceed 5 meters, the ferry may be canceled on that day.***
http://www.oki-kisen.co.jp/

To/from the airportEdit

There is a local bus that runs from the airport to the center of town, Saigo (500円). A taxi ride from the airport to town will cost you ~2,000円.

Getting aroundEdit


DōgōEdit

If you are planning to sightsee throughout the whole island then a car is necessary and there are many car rental companies on the island. There is also a bus service which circulates throughout the island, but the times are infrequent. Travel within Saigo (西郷) does not require a car. Everything is withing walking or cycling distance.
http://www.oki-geopark.jp/english-top.htm

DozenEdit

When visiting Dozen, the cheapest way to travel around the island is by renting a bicycle. There is also a local bus service to the Kuniga Coast (spring - autumn) on Nishinoshima Island.
http://www.oki-geopark.jp/english-top.htm

DogoEdit

Dogo is the largest of all the Oki Islands, in both size and population. It has four regions: Saigo Town, Tsuma Village, Fuse Village, and Goka Village. There are two high schools, four junior high schools, and nine elementary schools on Dogo. The major industry is fishing and agriculture, with most of the latter going directly into sale for consumption by the islanders. Despite the island's large geographical size, the population, the majority of shops and the JET community is mainly concentrated in Saigo, the town containing the ferry terminal.

There are many nature-oriented tourist destinations on Dogo. The island is covered in forested mountains, a patchwork of innumerable tree species and hues of green, rising and falling in a manner the ocean waves struggle to match. The Shirashima coastline consists of white cliffs and hundreds of small, uninhabited, picturesque islands. Candle Rock is one such island and can only be viewed properly by means of an evening tour boat. There are various waterfalls around the island, the most famous of these being Dangyo Falls which you can stand behind and look up to see the water cascading over your head. This waterfall is also said to be one of the best sources for natural drinking water in all of Japan.

There are a number of beaches on Dogo, Shiohama, the closest to Saigo is unsurprisingly the most frequented by the local community and is a good place for both swimming and snorkeling.

NishinoshimaEdit

Nishinoshima is the largest and most populated of the Dozen Islands. Nishinoshima's Kuniga Coastline is dotted with magnificent cliffs over 100m (328ft) tall, including Matengai, 257m (840ft), the tallest cliff in Japan. Ocean cruises allow passengers to view these cliffs from below and weather permitting, ocean cave tours are given. You can also journey to the top of the cliffs by bus, or for the athletic, by bike. Watch out for the cows and horses lazily chewing grass as you walk the trail down to Tsutenkyo, a naturally eroded arch extending from the cliffs. This trail was recently voted as one of the “top walking stretches” in Japan.

A tour to Nishinoshima, especially in summer, would not be complete without enjoying an outdoor activity or two such as snorkeling, sea kayaking, sailing, fishing or best of all, scuba diving! The Noah Oki Marine Sports complex rents out equipment and offers instructions for beginners.

ChibuEdit

Chibu (知夫 Chibu) is believed to be the smallest community to host a JET. What the town lacks in supermarkets, karaoke bars, convenience stores, and pachinko parlors, it makes up for in a richness of culture and natural beauty that has long disappeared in other areas of Japan.

Chibu’s claim to fame is its spectacular red cliffs called “Sekiheki” that stretch over 1km of coastline and stand 50‐100m (150‐350ft) tall. The mix of colors on Sekiheki is said to be at its finest in late Autumn, but your best chance is to observe the cliffs from the ocean during summer when an evening sunset cruise departs every evening (weather permitting) – watch as the evening light reflects off the cliff faces and dyes the Japan Sea a beautiful bright red. Near the cliffs is Chibu’s highest peak, Mt Akahage (325m). On a clear day, you can see the mainland and out to the other Oki Islands.

AmaEdit

Between April and October you can take a trip on the “Amambo”, a glass bottom boat that allows passengers to take in the various creatures of the Japan Sea without stepping foot in the water. For those a little more adventurous, and have a scuba diving license, there is also a diving center on the island. It is possible to get your diving license here, but a certain degree of Japanese proficiency is required.

Akiya Beach, a 10 minute drive from Hishiura, and equipped with change rooms and bathrooms, is the perfect destination if you just want to go snorkeling, addling or swimming in the ocean. The area also has a beautiful outlook to Dogo.

In spring, be sure to make a trip to the Oki Shrine and take in the beauty of the Cherry Blossom avenue leading to the Shrine. If you have the chance, head along to watch the fierce competition of the “Cherry Cup”, an annual tug‐of‐war competition, held near the Shrine, coinciding with the cherry blossoms coming into bloom.

In summer, come and take part in the Kinamonya festival, including the famous Kinamonya dance carried out with two wooden rice servers!

WorkingEdit

JET placementsEdit

There are currently five ALTs & two CIRs residing in the Oki islands.
Dogo JETs

  • All Dogo JETs live in Saigo, by far the biggest settlement on Oki. The four JETs live within about 15 minutes walk of each other.
  • There are two elementary/junior high school JETs who live in adjacent apartments in Saigo. They are supervised by the town BOE. They are provided daily taxi service to each of their schools. In total they visit 11 schools, 4 junior high schools and 7 elementary schools.
  • The CIR works with the GeoPark and lives in a reasonably large apartment.
  • There is also one high school JET who lives on Dōgō. This Jet visits

Oki High School 隠岐高校 (base school)
Suisan High School 隠岐水産高校 
Yougo Special Needs School 養護学校 
and 2-3 times per month Dozen High School(on Ama Island) 島前高校 
and previous JETs have also volunteered at two Preschools |保育園| Hoikuen

The High School Jet lives in a teacher's apartment building. The rent is 6000円 per month.

  • This JET is not provided taxi services and not given a car.

Dozen JETS / CIR

  • There is one ALT on Ama, one ALT on Chibu, and one ALT and two CIRs on Nishinoshima.
  • The JETs on Ama & Chibu work at elementary and junior high schools.
  • The JET on Nishinoshima works at the combined elementary and junior high school.
  • The CIRs on Nishinoshima work in the community centers in Beppu and Urago respectively.

Foreign communityEdit

There is a rather large population of Filipinos living in the Oki Islands as well as some other people from Asian countries. There are local community groups whose aim is to support foreigners living in Oki Dōgō.

SightseeingEdit

Places to visitEdit

Oki is very beautiful all year round. It is quite mountainous, has crystal clear water, and lots of wildlife.
In Nishinoshima you can visit the highest sea cliffs in all of Japan.
In Dōgō there are many shrines, the three most well-known are Tamawakasu (Saigo), Mizuwakasu (Goka), and Kokobunji (Saigo). There is also a branch of Izumo Taisha in Saigo.

Natural monuments on Dōgō include Joudo ga Ura (beach), Candle Rock (a rock in the sea which at sunset looks like a giant candle), Kaburasugi (600 year old tree), Chichisugi (about 800 year old tree), and Dangyōtaki (two waterfalls which are part of a shrine).

Festivals/Cultural ActivitiesEdit

  • There are many cultural dances on Ama & Dōgō.
  • There is bullfighting on Dōgō. Bullfighting season begins in April and ends in September.
  • There is sumo throughout the year on both Dōgō and Douzen. At the end of May there is a Oki Islands (Dōgō and Douzen) Sumo tournament held on Dōgō.
  • There are four main festivals on Dōgō. The first is Tamawakasu Festival (June 5th) in Saigo, which has horseback archery and the running of the horses. The second is the Mizuwakasu Festival which occurs in both Spring and Autumn. The Spring festival, May 3rd, features horseback archery and Mika-san Odori (priestess dances), and only happens once every two years. The Autumn festival happens every year on November 3rd and features sumo. The third festival takes place in Nakamura on October 19th every two years. The key feature of this festival is bringing together the sun god and the moon god through dance. There is also horseback archery. The fourth festival is at Kokubunji on April 21st. It takes place every year. It features a dance that has Thai and Chinese influences as well as other cultural influences making it unique in Japan.



ShoppingEdit

Due to the islands self-suffiency it is possible to buy all amenities as well as some luxuries on Dōgō.
Common souvenirs are Okinoshima's Sakes, salts and fresh seafood.
On Dozen there are also sufficient shopping opportunities.

SupermarketsEdit

  • There are two supermarkets on Dōgō. Himari, and Sun Terrace, which are both in the Saigo area. There is a third supermarket, Wellness (formally known as Pier) that stocks a limited assortment of items(no meat or fruit) but has a large selection of health-related products.
  • Ama and Chibu do not have supermarkets but they do have mom & pop stores.
  • Nishinoshima has one supermarket.

Department storesEdit

There are no department stores on the Oki islands. However, Sun Terrace and Himari are comprehensive shopping centers with a variety of clothing, bedding, shoes, crafts, sporting goods, and the like for sale and Jintendo stocks furniture, bicycles etc. (equivalent of Walmart/ the Warehouse/KMart). Sun Terrace contains a 100 yen store, the electronic store Best and a large selection of clothing. There is also EDON, a chain electronics store that is located next to Himari. There is also a speciality store located near Sun Terrace opposite the hospital that stocks a large range of traditionally hard to find goods. Generally, Dōgō is slightly better equipped than rural towns with similar populations on the Japanese mainland.

Home & Garden storesEdit

  • Jintendo (Jintendo), On Dōgō only, Home and Garden store.

Book shopsEdit

  • Hattori, Next to Sun Terrace, Carries books, stationary, sporting goods, and general school supplies.


  • Sun Shoudou, Inside Sun Terrace, Carries books


  • Okidou, Across from the former Pier supermarket(near San-In godo bank in town), Carries books and stationary.

EatingEdit

Sea food in Okinoshima is very high quality. Everything is caught fresh daily. Oki is also known for its beef, okigyuu 隠岐牛.

Fast foodEdit

There are no fast food restaurants on the Oki islands.

Japanese foodEdit

There are a variety of yakiniku restaurants some of which are incredibly high quality, especially on Ama. There are several Okonomiyaki restaurants one behind the Eon petrol station near the SHS' apartment, two more are located downtown near the ferry terminal. The chain store, Tecchan has been popular with former JETs. There are also some udon restaurants where the udon is made fresh daily. There are also some sushi restaurants, including a kaidenzushi restaurant. There is a variety of yaki-niku(fried meat) restaurants one is located opposite the fire station and is very good. Finally, there are also Oki-style soba restaurants.

Foreign foodEdit

There is an Italian restaurant named Pomodoro in Saigo. There are two Chinese restaurants which are also in Saigo.

There is a French cafe, La cigare cafe located in Goka that has also been popular with former JETs.

DrinkingEdit

There are many izakayas & snack bars located on each island. Also, Oki Dōgō has its own sake brewery which produces very fine sake.

IzakayasEdit

There are many izakayas on the Oki islands. The food quality is quite high. The majority of the izakayas are located close to the ferry port.

BarsEdit

There are several Japanese snack bars on the Oki islands. They generally include karaoke. On the third floor of the Saigo ferry port (hard to find) there is a darts bar and nearby in downtown Saigo there is Yula Yula, a bar with resonably priced cocktails and vintage Nintendo gaming machines. Yula Yula is owned by the friendly, Kozawa san and has been often frequented by former JETs. There is also a small craft-beer bar nearby that features craft beers from around the Chugoku region.

LivingEdit

Living on Dōgō gives the benefits of both rural and urban Japan. The people on Oki are known for being friendly. The weather is generally good and there are many things to do.

BanksEdit

  • Dōgo has two banks, San-in Gōdō and Shimane Ginkō.
  • Dōzen has San-in Gōdō

Post officesEdit

There are several branches of the post office on each island.

Medical facilitiesEdit

On Dogo there is a rather large hospital & several small clinics. Some of the doctors and staff speak English. Each of the Dozen islands have a medical clinic. There is a larger hospital in Nishinoshima which looks after all of the Dozen Islands.

LibrariesEdit

All of the islands have libraries.

Hair DressersEdit

There are many hair salons on the Oki Islands.

Sports and Recreation FacilitiesEdit

There are many sports facilities here in Oki.

  • Oki Ultra Marathon in June every year on Dōgō with two entry levels, either 50 km or 100 km.
  • Scuba Diving
  • Tennis courts
  • Baseball ground
  • Swimming Pool (with small Gym in Dōgō, Nishinoshima, Ama) entrance to the pool (swimming cap mandatory) is 500 yen and the gym is 340 yen.
  • Rainbow Arena (Dōgō)
  • Campgrounds (with areas for BBQs)
  • Fishing
  • Jet Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Sunset Sea Kayaking (Nishinoshima)
  • Sea Cave Kayaking (Nishinoshima, Ama, Dogo)
  • Snorkeling
  • Hiking

OnsensEdit

Unfortunately there are no large onsens, but there is an indoor onsen at Marine Port Hotel (Ama) and an outdoor bath at Hotel Chibu-no-Sato. There is a pool/onsen complex in Goka (Dogo), but you must wear your swimwear in the large co-ed section here!(There is a smaller single-sex traditional onsen area too).

Travel AgentsEdit

There is a travel agency located on the first floor of the Oki View Port Hotel (Dōgō). Most people book their flights, long-distance buses etc. on the internet.

KaraokeEdit

There are two places to go to Karaoke on Dōgō. The first, La-La, has a good selection of English songs. The second, Joyful, has a smaller selection of English songs. There is a Karaoke and snack bar in Nishinoshima called SHIMA. You can take your own food and drink here. Most of the small bars in Oki have karaoke machines.

MapEdit

Use the controls on the left to scroll and zoom around the map below.
Loading map...

External linksEdit

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