KAGOSHIMA
|
ARTS, CULTURE, HISTORY

Kikaijima Island and Kakeromajima Island: Immerse Yourself in Crystal Clear Water to Lush Green Sights

Looking for the perfect, peaceful island getaway? Check out Kikaijima Island and Kageromajima Island, with their quaint villages, pristine beaches, and enchanting waters.
Kikaijima Island and Kakeromajima Island: Immerse Yourself in Crystal Clear Water to Lush Green Sights

Kikaijima Island (or Kikai Island) is one of the Satsunan Islands, located some 50 kilometers east of Amami Oshima in the Kagoshima Prefecture. Kakeromajima Island is another of the Satsunan Islands between Kyushu and Okinawa. Both these islands are within the borders of the Amami Guntō Quasi-National Park.

Although these two islands are a lot smaller and less developed than Amami Oshima, they hold their own charms. They are also less visited by tourists, which means that you might not have all the conveniences you can experience when you visit other places. Nevertheless, if you like nature spots that are less crowded and the idea of having a whole beach to yourself, then Kikaijima Island and Kakeromajima Island are the right destinations for you.

The ultimate ecotour experience in the Island of Coral - Kikaijima Island

The ultimate ecotour experience in the Island of Coral - Kikaijima Island

Known as the “island of corals,” Kikaijima Island itself is made of an elevated coral reef that has been rising since 100,000 years ago and continues to rise by two millimeters a year. This is a rarity worldwide and is also one of the fastest-rising corals in the world. If you want to know more about it, Kikai Institute for Coral Reef Sciences provides a tour to educate visitors about their coral reefs. They are also active in promoting environmental protection and raising awareness of the importance of the reef ecosystem.

Island walking tours

With its rich and fascinating culture and history, there is much to see on Kikaijima Island. One of the best ways to catch a glimpse of it is through a walking tour of the island. There is an organization of local walking guides dedicated to the island, and they will take you through the small, maze-like villages while telling you all about its culture and history.

One of the tours, the Aden Course, takes you through the picturesque Aden Village, one of Kikaijima’s ancient settlements, where you will see how residences and village structures have incorporated the surrounding landscapes and other natural elements into the living environment. The homes and establishments in Aden Village, in particular, have unique walls—made of exposed corals. They were specifically designed to allow the sea breeze to blow through, which helps to keep the village a little cooler, especially during the summer months. They also shelter the houses and other buildings from strong typhoons.

Beaches for swimming and snorkeling

Kikaijima Island is known for its beautiful beaches and lagoons, which are the finest natural attractions on the island. They are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing in. The most popular one is Nakazato or Sugira Beach, which is known as the best on the island and is also easily accessible from the airport or harbor. It has a clean curve of white sands and a natural inlet. Sugira is also known for its beautiful sunsets.

If you’re looking for a quiet, secluded spot where you can swim and fish, you can check out Onotsu Prince Beach. Shiomaichi Nagahama Park is a pretty popular spot to relax or go for a walk, and they also have some wide, open spaces where you can lay down a mat and enjoy a picnic. Ikeji Beach has an extended coral reef and is the ideal palace for water sports, such as surfing and snorkeling. Ikeji is also known as the site where turtles lay their eggs.

Sugar Cane Fields

Sugar cane fields

On the outskirts of the villages of Kikai Island lie the sugar cane fields. If you are planning to rent a car and drive throughout the island, you shouldn’t miss out on Sugar Cane Road, which is a picturesque road surrounded by sugar cane fields and located across the upper center of the island. These sugar cane fields produce Kokuto shochu, a type of alcohol you can enjoy on the rocks, straight, or with water.

Butterfly paradise

Butterfly paradise

Kikaijima Island is also known as the butterfly paradise and attracts many researchers and butterfly lovers across Japan. There are a wide variety of species seen from May to June and October to November. You may even see rare ones, including the Asagimadara and the Ogomadara.

Spectacular beaches and island history – Kakeromajima Island

Spectacular beaches and island history – Kakeromajima Island

Kakeromajima Island has beautiful beaches perfect for swimming and snorkeling, including Tokuhama Beach with its white sands and emerald-green shallow reefs. You can also check out Saneku Beach, with its panoramic views and coral reefs, and shades of blue waters called the “Saneku blue.” You can also visit Doren Beach, which is the perfect venue for beach volleyball in the summer. (They also have public showers and restrooms.) You can also visit Surihama Beach in Kakeroma Beach Village, where you might be able to see a variety of fish and even turtles swimming nearby.

View from Ankyaba Battle site

The Oshima Channel between Amami Oshima Island and Kakeromajima Island has beautiful inlets and calm waters that allow travelers to enjoy various marine sports, such as kayaking, snorkeling, and diving. Oshima Channel is also a beautiful place to catch the sunset. If you want a bird’s-eye view of the island, Yuhi-no-Oka offers a beautiful panoramic view of the East China Sea and is aptly named Sunset Hill for its majestic sunset views.

Tourists can also visit the Ankyaba Battle site, a military installation during wartime. It sits on the easter end of Kakeroma Island, overlooking the Oshima Strait. Visiting the site will give you a glimpse of the island’s history through the remains of a facility that once housed gunpowder and monitored rooms of fleets.

Workcation in Kikaijima Island and Kakeromajima Island

Workcation in Kikaijima Island and Kakeromajima Island

Kikaijima Island and Kakeromajima Island are great islands for digital nomads looking for a place to stay for a bit. These two islands are also great workcation spots (meaning work + vacation, which has also been termed “bleaisure” business + leisure). Digital nomads can spend hours working while enjoying the beautiful views and exploring some parts of the islands.

On Kikaijima Island, you can check out Villa Kikai, a small resort near Sango Beach. It is easily accessible from the airport or the harbor and has different types of houses and rooms that you can choose from. The rooms feature windows that let in the sun. Guests can enjoy views of the beach and sea beyond.

On Kakeroma Island, you can stay at Lily’s House, which is part of the Denpaku accommodation series—traditional homes that have been converted into workcation houses where tourists can stay. Digital nomads can enjoy the relaxed, unspoiled natural setting, as well as the laid-back pace of island time.

Experience the quiet beauty of Kikaijima Island and Kakeromajima Island

Experience the quiet beauty of Kikaijima Island and Kakeromajima Island

Whether you’re a tourist looking for uncrowded nature spots and beaches or a digital nomad looking for a place to stay for a while, Kikaijima Island and Kakeromajima Island are two islands where you can enjoy a balance of working and touring the place while immersing yourself in the islands’ local history and culture.

Traveling to Kikai Island

If you are coming from Tokyo and traveling to Kikaijima Island, it takes less than two hours to fly to Kagoshima Airport using the JAL Japan Explorer Pass, a special fare that allows you access to over 30 cities across JAL’s domestic network. From Kagoshima Airport, it takes a little over an hour to reach Kikai Airport. You can also travel from Osaka, where it will take a little over an hour from Itami Airport to Kagoshima Airport before you transfer to Kikai Airport.

Flights between Kagoshima and Kikai Airport are operated by Japan Air Commuter, a group company of Japan Airlines. You can also fly from Kikai Airport to Amami Airport through Japan Air Commuter (a trip that will only take 20 minutes).

Traveling to Kakeromajima Island

For those visiting Kakeromajima Island, you can take the sea taxi or the Ferry Kakeroma, which is managed by the town of Setouchi in Amami Oshima. From there, it will only take about 20 minutes to cross Oshima Strait and land on Kakeromajima Island. The best times to visit would be April to May and July to November when the seas are calmer, and it doesn’t rain so much.

Explore Japan through JAL Japan Explorer Pass

Getting There