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The Official Kyushu Travel Guide

Island Beach Getaways Just Four Hours From Tokyo


The secluded beaches and fresh ocean air of Nagasaki’s Goto and Ojika Islands may feel like a world away but can actually be reached from Tokyo in just four hours!

Goto’s Breathtaking Sites

Day 1
Rent an electric car and zip straight over to Takahama Beach, one of Japan’s 100 most beautiful beaches. The translucent blue waves will beckon you to swim in its gentle surf. Not far from Takahama, take in the breathtaking view of the Goto coastline from the Osezaki Lighthouse observation point before getting a little workout with the three-kilometer hike to and from the lighthouse.

Goto’s Hidden Christian Heritage

During a period of over 250 years in Japan, Christianity was outlawed, and Christians were persecuted. Many Christians fled to the Goto Islands and practiced their faith in secret, emerging from hiding only after the ban was lifted in 1873. After that, historical churches like Imochiura and Mizunoura were built by local believers, and the faithful were buried in sites like the solemn and beautiful Fuchinomoto overlooking the sea.

Glamping Under the Stars

Spend the night at Kinnagoajiro, a glamping facility where you can bring the outdoors indoors. At this innovative accommodation, roll open the large sliding doors of your unit to let in fresh air and sunshine. Each unit has a comfortable bed and a private bath and shower room. At night, sit around the campfire outside and watch the thousands of stars visible in the Goto skies.

Healthy and Active on Goto

Day 2
Rise early and take a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) lesson from Goto Leisure. Paddling around the calm harbor waters is one of the COVID-safe outdoor activities you can experience here. Eat lunch at Oddontei, specializing in Goto udon, made with healthy tsubaki (camellia) oil, a locally produced oil full of vitamins and antioxidants. After lunch, drive to UNESCO World Heritage site Dozaki Church, now a museum about Japan’s “Hidden Christian” heritage. End the day with an easy hike up Mt. Onidake, and breathe in the fresh air while watching the sun set behind Goto's city center.

Discover Fertile Ojika Island

Day 3
Take a morning ferry from Fukue to Ojika Island. Visit the Ojika Island Tourism office inside the port building for information and assistance for your stay on Ojika. Rent an electric bicycle from the office and ride it to the locals’ favorite beach, Kakinohama. This often-secluded beach boasts emerald blue waters and coral reefs teeming with fish. After an extravagant meal of local seafood and vegetables from the island at Fujimatsu, sleep comfortably at your accommodations in the luxuriously restored kominka folk house, Ichie-an.

Explore Nozaki Island

Day 4
In the morning, take the local boat “Hamayuu” to nearby Nozaki Island. This island was inhabited until 1971, when the last of the residents left the island. Now Nozaki is a secluded location for hiking, swimming, or even overnight camping. Explore the ruins of the former village to find wild deer roaming freely, and then hike to nearby Old Nokubi Church, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Okino-Kojima Shrine

If you’re up for a trekking challenge, hike to the Okino-Kojima shrine. Here, you will find the mysterious Oe-Ishi, the 24-meter-tall rocks in the shape of a torii gate. No one knows for certain if Oe-Ishi was created by man, nature, or the supernatural. Return to Ojika and explore Chino-Kojima shrine, the “twin” of Okino-Kojima, with its stone torii gates leading to the sea. You can see its twin shrine across the water on the Nozaki Island mountainside from the shores of Chino-Kojima.

A Relaxing Ride to Fukuoka

Day 5
Bid farewell to the islands as you depart by ferry back to Fukuoka. The ferry's open-air decks are a perfect place to watch the islands slowly recede into the distance as you head for Hakata port. Before returning on your flight to Tokyo, experience local cuisine in an outdoor setting in Fukuoka's yatai district.

Todd Fong

Todd Fong

Photographer, mentor, story teller. Tokyo-based, Oaktown (Oakland, California) born. My writing and photography work includes, "Sheila Kimono Style" (photo book), 365 Japan, and Metropolis. My curiosity about Japan, its culture and its history is matched only by the number of places in Japan I have yet to explore.


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