Shimane is a hidden gem for visitors who seek for a change of pace and learning about a lesser known Japan. It is definitely worthy of more attention from the visitors to Japan. This series of articles explore several popular attractions in Shimane.
The previous two articles about Shimane focus on Izumo and Matsue areas, as well as the history and culture of the mainland. In this final part of the series, let’s travel across the Sea of Japan and escape to the Oki Islands 隠岐諸島.
About Oki Islands
The Oki Islands are an archipelago in the Sea of Japan, located 50 kilometres north of Shimane peninsula. Among the 184 islands and rocky outcrops in the archipelago, only four islands are inhabited. They are divided into two main areas:
Dozen 島前 which encompass of three islands
- Nishinoshima 西ノ島 (Nishinoshima Town, 西ノ島町)
- Nakanoshima 中ノ島 (Ama Town, 海士町)
- Chiburijima 知夫里島 (Chibu Village, 知夫村)
- The largest and furthermost island from the mainland which is under the Okinoshima Town 隠岐の島町
What to See and Explore
The Oki Islands are known for their spectacular coastlines, awe-inspiring sea cliffs, and beautiful beaches. The unspoiled nature also features lush forests and mountains. Expect to see stunning sunsets, peaceful scenery of grazing cows and horses, and even tanuki or raccoon dogs during your visit.
The islands are also home to a culture that is different from the mainland. Many traditions here date back to the olden times and have been well-preserved due to the islands’ remote location. For examples, the Oki Traditional Sumo which is believed to be the original form of Japanese sumo and is only held to commemorate auspicious events on the island, and Bull Sumo which is a competition of strength between two black bulls pushing one another head to head.
Due to their geological heritage, the Oki Islands were designated a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2015.