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Ojika Island: Exploring Authentic Japan Off the Beaten Track

Ojika landscape

Japan is made up of 4 main islands, with a heritage, culture, and gastronomy that brings millions of visitors every year. Fascinating Japan is full of many hidden gems. The island of Ojika, in Nagasaki Prefecture not far off the coast of Kyushu, is one of the magical places that we discovered during a stay in Japan. As a bonus, the neighboring island of Nozaki is an abandoned island waiting to be explored!

The Gotô archipelago is part of Nagasaki Prefecture in the middle of the East China Sea in southern Japan. This archipelago contains, among others, the island of Ojika and its deserted neighbor, Nozaki. A protected site, Nozaki is an island that was abandoned by its residents half a century ago. This mysterious island has much to explore for the adventurous visitor. There are many things to discover, including the Old Nokubi church of Japan’s “Hidden Christians” and the Okino-Kojima shrine in the northern part of the island.          

Ojika Island: Relaxing, Authentic and Friendly 

After a day exploring abandoned Nozaki Island, we returned to Ojika. This island is located 5 hours by boat from Fukuoka. It has an awesome charm and the locals are friendly and visitors welcomed. An experience worth noting: in Ojika it’s possible to experience a unique meal made with four hands (a collaborative meal) in a Japanese family home. It was an experience that left a deep impression on us because we had the chance to exchange a little of our cultures and share the daily life of a Japanese family. A wonderful time!      

For accommodations, we were very lucky in Ojika to stay in a traditional Japanese house, a kominka. It was an amazing discovery! They have the spirit of ancestral Japan, warm and authentic. Designed from wood, clay and straw, they are an alternative to a traditional ryokan. Our kominka was fully renovated by Alex Kerr, an American who founded a project to preserve these important historical buildings in Japan. The renovations create a modern, luxurious space on par with any four-star hotel.

With residents who make a living from fishing and local crafts, the island has a distinct atmosphere and tranquility that we deeply appreciate. This destination fulfills a traveler’s desires for nature, authenticity and breathtaking landscapes!  

A Japan Off the Beaten Path

People might think that the accessibility of such a hidden island is difficult. Definitely not. Whether from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya or Hokkaido, reaching the island of Ojika is simple. You can access the island by ferry from Fukuoka city, which you can get to by Shinkansen or airplane.   

The crossing takes place only at night and lasts 5 hours. The departure is at 23:45 in a boat of the Taiko company at the port of Hakata, in Fukuoka, easily accessible by bus about twenty minutes from Hakata station in Fukuoka.      

JR Hakata station, where you catch the bus to the port, is located just two stations from Fukuoka airport. The ticket office is on the first floor of the port building. Note that it is also possible to buy a ticket on the website of the company.   

A Peaceful Journey to Ojika

It is a fact, Japanese hospitality is also demonstrated during the journey on this boat, which is very comfortable, with perfect facilities and professional staff. 

After a few hours of sleep in my special “women” cabin, I arrived at the port of Ojika around 5 am. I was a little disoriented due to waking up at this early hour but the feeling quickly left me when I discovered that a room of rest, open only to women, is available in the port arrival building. After finishing my night, I get up at 6:30 am, the opening time of the Ojika Tourist Office located in the port.  

With a smooth journey from the airport to the boat and a warm welcome in the early hours of the day, arriving in Ojika honestly seemed to be much simpler than other destinations in Japan that are much more crowded and touristy. A little tip : to discover the island of Ojika, consider renting an electric bike at the port. It is the most convenient way to relax and enjoy the sweetness of life on this hidden island. 

Sponsored by Ojika Town