Oki Islands 隠岐島

  • Published on : 13/01/2021
  • by : EP
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Known collectively as Okinoshima in Japanese, the Oki Islands are a cluster of small islands in the Sea of Japan about 80 kilometers off the north coast of Shimane Prefecture in western Japan.

  • Nearest Airport

    Oki Airport (OKI) 

    Located on Dogo Island

  • Nearest Ports

    Saigo Port

    Hishiura Port

    Beppu Port 

  • Districts

    Kuniga Coastline, Nishinoshima

    Fishing Village, Nakanoshima

    Candle Rock, Dogo 

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Oki Island Scenery

The islands are blessed with some fantastic natural scenery, including of course mountains, some of which are populated by ancient Japanese cedars (Crypotomeria), others covered in grass with horses and cattle grazing on them, a most unusual sight in Japan.

The coastal scenery is unsurpassed with majestic cliffs including Matengai, at 257 meters one of the highest sea cliffs in Japan, coves, sea caves, islets and rock formations with evocative names such as Candle Rock, Three Brothers, Elephant Rock etc viewable from viewpoints on land as well as by sightseeing boats.

Leisure Activities

The islands are ideal for a multitude of marine leisure activities with beaches and swimming being most obvious, but the waters surrounding the islands are very clear, making them ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving.

If you want to be on the water rather than in the water there is sea kayaking as well as various scenic pleasure boat trips including the Amanbow on Nakanoshima with its glass sides.

The primary sea based leisure activity though is fishing. The Okis are a mecca for fisherman from all over Japan who come for the sea bream, yellowtail, sea bass and other fish that teem in the rich waters.

Sekiheki, the cross-section of a former volcano, Oki Islands

Sekiheki, the cross-section of a former volcano, Oki Islands

Photo by Yuvalr - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63943659

When the Japanese state was consolidated in the late 7th century, the Okis were made a province. From the Heian Period on, the islands were used as a place of exile, and over the ensuing millennium, about a thousand people were exiled here including, famously, two emperors: Gotoba (1180-1239) and Godaigo (1288-1339).

 

In the Kamakura Period the islands came under control of Izumo, and in the following centuries passed through the hands of various clans until Japan was unified under the control of the Tokugawa, who put the Okis under Shogunal control through the Matsudaira clan of Matsue.

 

During the Edo Period the Okis were a port of call on the shipping route between northern Japan and Osaka. Towards the end of the Edo Period the Oki Islands rebelled and claimed independence, though it was short lived.

Emperor Go-Toba, the 82th emperor of Japan (reign:1183-1198)

Emperor Go-Toba, the 82th emperor of Japan (reign:1183-1198)

By Fujiwara no Nobuzane - The Japanese book "Men to shōzō (Genshoku Nihon no bijutsu, No.21)", Shōgakukan (小学館), 1980 ISBN 4096630217, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3897565

The Okis are home to several unique folk dances as well as their own particular styles of Kagura, the masked theatrical dance often performed at shrines in the summer but also seen here at other times of the year.

Perhaps the most unusual cultural tradition of the islands is Bull Sumo (held only on Dogo) where two large, black bulls go head to head in a competition of strength. This tradition was born when the emperor Gotoba was in exile on the island of Nakanoshima and found a way to entertain himself thanks to this unusual practice.

Up until now this custom is still alive and these festivals, called Ushi-Tsuki take place on May 3, August 15, September 1, October 13 and November 11. 

Traditional bull fighting (Ushi-Tsuki) in Oki Islands

Traditional bull fighting (Ushi-Tsuki) in Oki Islands

Photo by User: (WT-shared) Aiko99ann at wts wikivoyage, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22848042

Torii at Kuniga coast, Nishinoshima

Torii at Kuniga coast, Nishinoshima

Photo by Yuvalr - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63945066

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Our tours in Oki Islands

  • Duration : 13 days
  • Locations : Tokyo, Hakone - Mt Fuji, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Kanazawa, Tokyo
  • Included : English-speaking tour leader, 3* Hotels & Ryokan, Transports, Visits & meals
  • Duration : 12 days
  • Locations : Tokyo, Mt Fuji (Kawaguchiko), Osaka, Himeji, Kyoto, Nara
  • Included : English-speaking tour leader, 3* Hotels & Ryokan, Transports, Visits & meals
  • Duration : 14 days
  • Locations : Tokyo, Hakone Mt Fuji, Kyoto, Nara, Koyasan, Osaka
  • Included : English-speaking tour leader, 3*/4* Hotels & Ryokan, Hotel temple, Transports, Visits & meals
  • Duration : 21 days
  • Locations : Tokyo, Hakone Mt Fuji, Kyoto, Nara, Koyasan, Osaka, Kobe, Takachiho, Kumamoto, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Miyajima
  • Included : English-speaking tour leader, 3*/4* Hotels & Ryokan, Hotel temple, Transports, Visits & meals
  • Duration : 8 days
  • Locations : Tokyo
  • Included : Airport Transfers, 3* Hotels, Transports out of flights, Guided activity, Travel diary, Pocket wifi, Assistance
  • Duration : 8 days
  • Locations : Osaka
  • Included : Airport Transfers, 3* Hotels, Transports out of flights, Guided activity, Travel diary, Pocket wifi, Assistance
  • Duration : 8 days
  • Locations : Kyoto
  • Included : Airport Transfers, 3* Hotels, Transports out of flights, Guided activity, Travel diary, Pocket wifi, Assistance
  • Duration : 9 days
  • Locations : Tokyo,Kyoto
  • Included : Airport Transfers, 3* Hotels, Japan Experience house, Transports out of flights, Guided activity, Travel diary, Pocket wifi, Assistance
See all our Tours (35)

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