- When is a good time to travel to Oki-Nishinoshima?
- We recommend April – October. If you want to swim, then late June – early September is best, but this is also the busiest time of year. Golden Week (May) and Silver Week (September) are also very busy. Ferries will be very crowded mid-August for the Obon Festival when people visit their families in Oki. Make sure you plan well and book accommodation and activities in advance. Winter in Oki-Nishinoshima can be very cold and the ferry can get cancelled.
Visiting the Oki Islands
- Is there an airport in Oki-Nishinoshima?
- No. The closest airport is on Dōgo Island (Okinoshima Town). This island can be reached by ferry or fast ferry. Be careful, ferry and flight times do not always match up. There are two airports on the mainland, Yonago and Izumo.
- How can I get to Oki-Nishinoshima?
- You can use the ferry or fast ferry from mainland Japan (Shichirui Port, Shimane Prefecture or Sakaiminato Port, Tottori Prefecture) or fly from Izumo Airport (Shimane Prefecture) or Osaka-Itami Airport. There are no direct flights from Tokyo-Haneda or Tokyo-Narita. If you are using a Japan Rail Pass, take a train as far as JR Yonago, JR Sakaiminato or JR Matsue. Buses to the ferry port leave from these stations. JR Sakaiminato is next to Sakaiminato Port. If you fly with ANA to Yonago Airport, take a connecting bus to the ferry port from here.
- How long does it take from the mainland to Oki-Nishinoshima?
- Ferry: 2 – 3 hours
Fast Ferry: 2 hours (service goes via Dōgo and Nakanoshima). There is a direct service using the fast ferry from Oki-Nishinoshima to the mainland April – October which takes only 1 hour.
- Can I visit Oki-Nishinoshima for just one day?
- Yes, it is possible, but not ideal. You will have around 3.5 hours on the island, so this will give you a chance to either rent a car and drive around, or rent a bicycle and go out to the Kuniga Coast and back. Make sure you plan what you want to do in advance to save time when you arrive.
Plan: 9:30 Ferry Kuniga (Beppu Port) Sightseeing 15:45 Ferry Oki (Beppu Port)
- Do I need to reserve my ferry ticket in advance?
- No –standard (2nd Class) ferry tickets can be purchased on the day you travel at the ferry port. If you wish to use Special 2nd Class or higher, you can make a reservation in advance. If you want to put your car on the ferry (not cheap) you need to make a reservation.
Yes – fast ferry seats must be reserved. You do not have to pay in advance, but you must have a reservation.
The tourism association can help you make reservations, or you can do so through the Oki Kisen Ferry Line www.oki-kisen.co.jp
- Is there a convenience store in Oki-Nishinoshima?
- No. But, there are several grocery stores on the island (near Beppu Port, in Funakoshi Village and Uragō Village) as well as a small supermarket in the center of the island on the main road. These stores do not have an ATM service, so please withdraw money at the post office.
- Can I use my credit card in Oki-Nishinoshima?
- Yes…and no. You can purchase tickets for the Oki Kisen Line and pay for accommodation at large hotels using Visa, Mastercard and some other major credit cards. However smaller ryokan and minshuku do not have credit card facilities. Most restaurants and grocery stores are cash only.
- Where can I withdraw cash in Oki-Nishinoshima?
- You can use the International ATM Service located at each of the three post offices on the island. Please be aware that these ATMs are not open 24 hours. The best place to withdraw cash if from the post office ATM located near Beppu Port. Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, so carrying cash is not a real problem.
- Can I exchange foreign currency or traveler’s checks?
- Yes. Sanin-Godo Bank is open 9:00 – 15:00 Monday – Friday. They can help exchange overseas currency, but traveler’s checks are not really recommended. Japanese yen (and in some cases credit cards) are accepted in Oki-Nishinoshima.
- Can I use my mobile phone in Oki-Nishinoshima?
- If you have a mobile phone which works in Japan, you should receive coverage in the Oki Islands. DOCOMO and AU have quite good reception, but VODAFONE cannot be used in many areas. There are several Wi-Fi points on the island and at most large hotels.
- Is there Wi-Fi coverage in Oki-Nishinoshima?
- Yes. You can use Wi-Fi for free at Beppu Port Terminal Building, Noah Building (Uragō Village) and Kuniga Bus Stop. There are also Wi-Fi spots at Oki Seaside Hotel Tsurumaru, Reso Oki Rosage, Kuniga-sō and some minshuku or ryokan.
- Do Oki-Nishinoshima people eat seafood every day?
- No. This island is surrounded by the sea and many people are fishermen, so there will always be fresh fish and shellfish on the menu, but local people also enjoy eating meat and vegetables. There are a variety of small restaurants on the island that cater for many tastes. If you cannot eat something for some reason, tell the chef or owner and they will do their best to cook something else for you.
- I do not speak Japanese. Is English used much in Oki-Nishinoshima?
- No. The tourist information has one English-speaking member (from New Zealand) and very friendly Japanese staff who will try their best to communicate with you in simple English. Most sightseeing spots are signposted in English and Japanese and the tourist information office (Beppu Port) has many bilingual pamphlets, maps etc. Tourism industry workers know some simple English phrases. People in the Oki Islands are polite and friendly. Many local restaurants have English menus, so eating out should not be a problem. Traveling in a country where you don’t speak the language can be both challenging and rewarding.
- What type of accommodation is available in Oki-Nishinoshima?
- There are three main types of accommodation – minshuku (private guest-house usually providing a bed and meals), ryokan (Japanese-style inn) or hotel (Japanese and Western-style rooms available). There are also two campgrounds, but you must have your own tent. You can make a booking through this website.
- Is there a youth hostel or backpacker accommodation in Oki-Nishinoshima?
- No. There are minshuku (room only ¥4,320) available. There are also two campgrounds, but you must have your own tent. There is a guest house in Okinoshima Town (Dōgo Island) called Tsukudaya. We hope to have a guest house or youth hostel here in the future.
- What are the Top 10 sightseeing spots in Oki-Nishinoshima?
- We recommend going to the Kuniga Coast! Visit Matengai Cliff, Tsūtenkyō Arch, Kuniga Beach, Kannon-iwa Rock, Akao Lookout, Onimai Lookout, Takuhi Shrine, Yurahime Shrine, Funabiki Canal, Medo-iwa Rock. This is a small island but there is a lot to see!
- How can I get around Oki-Nishinoshima?
- You can walk (but there are many hills), cycle (hire one from the tourist information office at Beppu Port), join a sightseeing tour by bus, boat or taxi, or rent a car (if you have a valid license). The town bus is useful for getting to the beach, Uragō Village or Kuniga, but does not go to Matengai Cliff, Mt. Takuhi or Akao Lookout. There is usually one bus per hour. This website has information about how to get around the island including the bus timetable.
- What kind of activities can you do on the island?
- Outdoor activities include hiking, sea kayaking, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, wake boarding, cycling etc. Hands-on activities include shell craft, sake tasting, jewelry making, fabric dyeing, pottery etc. You can also join sightseeing tours by bus, boat or taxi (in Japanese). Information about these activities can be found on this website.
- I want to see the island from the sea. Is there a sightseeing boat?
- Yes. There are daily tours (weather and sea conditions permitting) from 1 April – 31 October. You do not need to book to join a tour. Please arrive at the ticket office 10 minutes before the schedule departure time. Sightseeing boat tour times and prices are available on this website. If you are lucky, you can go through Akekure-no-iwaya Sea Cavern!
- When is the best season for water sports?
- Swimming (Beach) Late June – Early September
Sea Kayaking May – November
Diving May – November
Snorkeling Mid July – Mid September
- Do you have any discounts for international visitors in Oki-Nishinoshima?
- Yes. From April 2016 we will have a discounted rate (¥250) for entry to the local museums, Nishinoshima Furusato-kan and Hekifu-kan.
- Can I drive in Oki-Nishinoshima?
- Yes – if you possess one of the following driving permits.
1) A Japanese Driver’s License
2) An International Driver’s License based on the Convention at Geneva.
3) A Driver’s License of France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Slovenia, Monaco or Taiwan which must be accompanied by an official translation.
There are only a few rental cars on the island, so make sure you book the car in advance.
- I want to go to another island. How can I get there?
- There is an inter-island ferry service every hour to Ama and Chibu. Take either Ferry Dōzen or Isokaze. Timetable available on this website. (One way ¥300)
There are 2 or 3 ferry crossings to Dōgo. (One way from ¥1,330) If you wish to spend the day in Dōgo take the morning fast ferry and come back on the evening fast ferry service.
- Are there any poisonous plants or animals on the island?
- Yes. There is a venomous snake called mamushi (Japanese diamond-head viper). If you see a snake in the forest (usually in Mt. Takuhi in the summer – autumn) do not go near the snake or antagonize it. It by chance you are bitten, go straight to the hospital where they have anti-venom.
- Is there a hospital on the island?
- Yes. The general hospital is close to Beppu Port. A doctor is on duty at all times. They have a pharmacy there also, so any medication you require can be administered. Be sure to have your travel insurance information with you at all times.
We look forward to seeing you in Oki-Nishinoshima!
If you have any other questions, please use the CONTACT form.
Nishinoshima Tourism Association