Aoshima Island in Miyazaki
I think it’s finally time to continue posting about my winter vacation in Kyushu.
After visiting Miyazaki Shrine and Heiwadai Park in the city center of Miyazaki I decided to take a day trip along the awesome and beautiful Nichinan Coastline (日南海岸, nichinan kaigan) featuring Aoshima Island, Udo Shrine and much more.
Luckily the weather was perfect, too, just freezing cold!
From Miyazaki Station you can take a bus that will bring you to all the major tourist spots along the Nichinan Coastline. Personally I visited Aoshima Island (see today’s blog post), Udo Shrine and Sunmesse.
You can do that all in one day without having to rush at all. I went in winter when the sunset is pretty early and everything also closes quite early and yet it wasn’t a problem at all!
The bus will leave in front of Miyazaki Sta. – the bus stop area is not that big, so it’s not so difficult. Look for a bus bound for “Nichinan Kaigan” (日南海岸）.
You can also ask the Tourist Information located in the station building for more information. Make sure you have a bus timetable with you. It will make planning your day a bit easier!
Let’s explore Aoshima Island:
I first got off at Aoshima Island (青島). It’s also the first bus stop out of the three things I wanted to visit. The same bus also stops at Miyazaki Airport!
Aoshima is a very small island in Miyazaki Prefecture. It’s connected to the main land via a small bridge.
The island is famous for its shrine but all the more for being surrounded by unique rock formations called “Ogre’s Washboard” (鬼の洗濯板 – oni no sentakuita) because of their shape.
It was a very beautiful day, but also extremely windy and cold. It was winter after all and my face started to hurt when I approached the bridge! ;_;
The whole small island is surrounded by uniquely shaped rocks. You can easily make a short round trip in a few minutes!
Getting closer to the shrine on Aoshima Island.
The great gate marks the entrance to the shrine.
The actual shrine is located on the other side of Aoshima Island so you can’t see it from the mainland.
Despite the cold weather there were a lot of people!
It was winter vacation and many of them had yet to do their hatsumode. The more exotic the shrine, the better, huh?
The first few days after New Year’s Day are the busiest for omikuji (fortune-telling sheet of paper). If it’s something good, you keep it. If you’re not satisfied with it or if it’s bad, you leave it behind at the shrine. Although I already heard of people doing it the opposite way. I guess there are no strict rules and nobody really knows the “rules” anyways! *g*
Those were really colorful!
Everything you need for a good and happy start in the new year! Get a good fortune from one of the cool arrow-shaped omikuji and then grab one of the shrine’s wooden plaques and write your greatest wishes on it.
Hang your wish to the others and walk through the tunnel of wishing plates. Great feeling!
I liked those better as they were a bit more colorful.
At Aoshima Shrine you can also throw plates. You have to hit a certain area and then it means you’ll be blessed with good fortune.
So far I’ve only seen it as “mountain version” where you throw it down or through a small circle-shaped target etc.
To me Aoshima Island represents Miyazaki well. My image of Miyazaki has always been: lots of palm trees, blue ocean, blue sky! :D
Even the shrine is surrounded by palm trees!
After the shrine visit I took my time to walk around the small island to have a closer look at the uniquely shaped rocks that make the island so famous.
The rocks have a really interesting shape. Many of them have holes in them, too.
I spent quite some time looking for some handy, small stones with holes that I could take home as souvenir. And I wasn’t the only one!! ^-^;
If you have enough time, I definitely recommend doing so. It was a lot of fun and you’ll get a great free souvenir!
Don’t worry there are ENOUGH stones / rocks!!
I even spotted a small lighthouse. Isn’t it cute?
And then I left the small island again.
If you cross the bridge again to come back to the “main land” there’s also a very small botanical garden.
As I still had a bit of time before the next bus would come, I decided to have a look.
You can just stroll around outside or go inside for a really ridiculously low entrance fee (they also wanted to present me some flowers, but I couldn’t take them with me, so I rejected them). As it’s really small you can finish everything in 5-10min.!
The inside wasn’t really that interesting. If you’re not particularly interested in exotic flowers, then it might be better to just skip it!
For me it was a good way to warm out. As I mentioned earlier it was really cold outside.
The botanical garden is surrounded by lots of tall palm trees! I love them as for me they’re a sign of summer, surfing, fun, vacation etc.
I stood there for quite some time, staring at them until I realized that it’s way too cold and then moved on!
And then I was done with Aoshima Island. The bus stop is not far away. A 5min. walk if at all. The short walk is full of small souvenir shops and restaurants, so make sure to check them out if you have some time!
I took the same bus line as before to go a bit further up the Nichinan Coastline. My next destination was: Udo Shrine.
Udo Shrine will be featured in my next travel post. I hope you’ll look forward to it.
Thanks for reading.
I hope you enjoyed Aoshima Island as much as I did.