A Day trip to Aoshima – Miyazaki
Let me share with you my recent day trip to Aoshima island (青島) located in the Miyazaki Prefecture. It is a small yet beautiful Island not to be mistaken with the other famous Aoshima “Cat Island” in the Ehime prefecture.
If you are planning to stay in Miyazaki City, a day trip or half a day trip to Aoshima island is a must do. It is a very relaxing place with a beautiful scenery and great food.
I visited Aoshima this summer. It was during my discovery trip around Kyushu. I was staying in Miyazaki for a few days and i decided that a day trip to Aoshima was something i couldn’t miss! What i have discovered is a great place to chill, to enjoy beautiful tropical landscapes and eat delicious food.
Aoshima island is located on the east coast of Kyushu in the Miyazaki prefecture, between Miyazaki city and Nichinan.
A Ghibli Like Trip from Miyazaki city:
Don’t miss the Umisachi Yamasachi Express.
First of all you have many options to go Aoshima island. If you are visiting Kyushu by car it will be an easy half an hour ride. Feeling sporty? You could rent a bike and ride the cost for 20 kilometres. The scenic view will be well worth the effort.
The last option is the train, but not any type of train, a fifty-minute trip in the Umisachi Yamasachi Express.
The Umisachi Yamaschi Express is a unique ride to discover the beauty of Miyazaki’s coast
The design of the train was done by Eiji Motooka. He has used a beautiful local cedar wood (obisugi) for the fit-out of both the interior and exterior of the train. It gives the train an original and timeless feel. The warm colours and the material used give to the Umisachi Yamaschi Express a Ghibli Like feel. Add to that the beautiful scenery passing by the window and you will be transported in the mind of Hayao Miyazaki. The train is also quite luxurious and has many different types of seating (standard seats, sofa and reclining seats).
The train staff is super friendly and welcoming. They will give you explanations about the local areas and tell you stories related to the train during your ride. They also sell great local specialities and i couldn’t resist trying the sorbet from Takachiho Farm, it was delicious!
Please note that this special train runs mainly during the weekend and national holidays
WHAT TO SEE IN AOSHIMA?
Aoshima island is not a big island yet it is famous for many different things:
The Devil Washboard
The devil washboards is an interesting formation of rock along the coast of Aoshima. This alluring formation is due to the rocks washed over repeatedly by the waves of the ocean over centuries. You will be able to appreciate them more during low tide. It is this unique look that granted them the name of Devil washboard. If you have a helicopter (who doesn’t?) it is said that the aerial view is a must see and is really striking, it might also help to understand better the real meaning behind the name.
Aoshima Jinja is a beautiful typical Shinto shrine and is the main attraction of Aoshima’s Island. The scenery is an absolute must-see. Thanks to the subtropical weather you have a wide variety of plants an trees surrounding the shrine, it is very different than what you could see in Kyoro or Tokyo. When you enter the island you have a beautiful red tori gate on the way to the shrine. The Shrine is quite small yet very popular. It was dedicated to three gods related to love and marriage, fecundity and childbirth, and safe travel. Aoshima Jinja was considered sacred and it was forbidden to access until 1737. It is now rated 2 stars at the Michelin Green guide.
The shrine located in Aoshima island is a must-visit for tourist in general but especially for lovers and the ones who seek to find love. The island is known for having hosted a love story between Umisachihiko and the princess Toyotama. It is a special place where you can visit the love alley for a nice picture with your partner (see below) buy good fortune charms and amulets to improve your love-life.
The coast of Miyazaki prefecture in Kyushu is considered to be one of the best spots for surfing in Japan. From north to south there are several beaches prized by surfers from all around Japan, welcoming around 200 000 people every year.
Don’t be shy and bring (or rent) a board to enjoy the waves in this unique island. Even if you are not surfing, the Surfer’s vibe is well present in Aoshima and adds to the relaxed and chill atmosphere of the island.
Overall, a visit to Aoshima is a must do for the decontracted atmosphere, the original shrine and the beautiful scenery surrounding the place. It is a perfect daybreak to add to your schedule if you are visiting Miyazaki prefecture.
There are also other activities to do such as the subtropical botanical garden that i didn’t visit during my stay in Aoshima.
WHERE TO EAT IN AOSHIMA?
You know me, i like to talk about travel and sightseeing but someone else is travelling with me and it is my belly. I couldn’t miss the opportunity of trying delicious food while i was visiting the area.
So first of all, if you want to indulge in a Pizza or a good Burger (missing home already?) the food stalls at Aoshima beach Park will be perfect for you. It is a nice area in front of the beach with free seats and table. You will find several food stalls serving great ishes heavily inspired by the street food scene of the US.
For me, seaside means seafood, so i decided to visit the restaurants around for something more fishy.
Do it yourself – Grilled seafood
A few minutes walk from Aoshima island you will find a place serving delicious seafood (you can google map the Japanese name: 青島海鮮料理 魚益). They have special tables set outside where you can do your own barbecue and grill many seafood delicacies. They also have a special All you can eat Oyster offering if you are in the mood.
Massive special Ebi Tendon:
After some delicious oysters, clams and shrimps, you might want something more consistent. Lucky you! Right next to this place you have a delicious seafood restaurant where you can indulge in amazing tempura.
All the Menu is written in Japanese. If you are not familiar with this complicated language my best advice is to go for a friendly: “Osusume ha nan desuka?” (What are the recommendations), nod your head as if you understand everything and just wait for them to say things such as Ebi, Tempura, Tendon… and say “hai hitotsu onegaishimasu ” (Yes, one please).
As a starter (again?) you can order the small fried shrimps.
It is delicious, well cooked with a light batter. Use the pink salt and the lemon to season at your convenience, and don’t be shy, you can also eat the head.
When it comes to the main, i can only recommend you the special Ebi Tendon. A generous donburi served with HUGE shrimps on top. It was just Amazing. The dish is super generous and it tastes delicious. I would go back to Aoshima only to eat this monster again.
If you are not filled with this bowl of greasy happiness, well congratulation you are a hell of an eater. Fancy something sweet to end the dinner? I would recommend you to head to the souvenir shops around the area to indulge in a delicious dessert such as a local ice cream or pastries (they have a pretty decent bakery selling homemade chou a la creme).