Ever wanted to spend time on an uninhabited island with white-sand beaches, perhaps to escape the crowds and bustle of everyday life? If so then Akune Oshima may be the perfect place for you.
Located in the East China Sea, only 2km off the coast of Akune City in the Hokusatsu region of Kagoshima Prefecture, Akune Oshima is home only to wildlife.The majority of the island is covered by a dense pine forest, which is ideal for forest bathing. The island's shores have a water quality rating of AA for the purity its water. Intimate, the island's beautiful and unspoiled natural surroundings can also be explored on foot in about 30 minutes. Taking the path that follows much of the island's perimeter and you are sure to come across the island's native birds and deer.
The local tale is that a number of deer were taken to the island by a government official during Japan's long period of national isolation. Those deer ended up flourishing on the island, resulting in a hundred or so now roaming freely across the island today.
If you're visiting the island during the July and August high season, you'll experience a less secluded trip as the island becomes popular with locals who come to enjoy the marine activities the island has to offer. As a result, there are lifeguards on patrol with a range of water activities available, like banana boating and jet-skiing. These can be organised at the island's beach house and café which open during these months. The tiny harbour is also a hub for local fishermen who come to cast their lines and enjoy their days relaxing in the tranquil environment.
With regular ferries making the 10-minute crossing from Akune Port, the island is an easy day trip. Ferries start from Akune Port at 9am and the last return ferry from Akune Oshima leaves the island at 4:50pm.
Making it an overnight stay
An overnight stay is highly recommend to anyone visiting the island. The allure of sitting around a fire under the stars on the beach, with the only sound being the waves lapping against the rocks is catered to with three types of island accommodation:
1. Umi House A and B Buildings which offer rooms that sleep 4 - 7 people, starting at JPY2,660 per room, per night.
2. Umi House C Building - the 12 rooms are the newest accommodation available with rooms for up to 5 people at JPY5,500 per room, per night.
3. Individual bungalows - there are 11 buildings in total and are able to sleep up to 5 people for the price of JPY4,400 per night. These can also be rented during the day for JPY440 per hour.
Rental of bedding, a BBQ set and other utensils is also available.
Ring the bell of hope
Akune Oshima is a little paradise and ideal for families or individuals simply wanting to escape their busy lives and sample the feeling of freedom of being a deserted island. Don't forget to ring the bell of hope, located in the forest!