Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

This is a continuation of 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 featuring Aoshima Island, Udo Shrine and Sunmesse.
Luckily the weather was perfect, but freezing cold!


Visited: January 2nd 2012

In 2012 I went to Aoshima Island, Udo Shrine and Sunmesse.
You can easily do this all in one day without having to rush. I went in winter when the sunset is pretty early (around 16:30) and everything also closes quite early and yet it wasn’t a problem at all.
By the way, I visited a second time in December 2017 to explore even more.


How to get to Aoshima Shrine:

From JR Miyazaki Station or Miyazaki Airport you can take a bus that will bring you to all the major tourist spots along the Nichinan Coastline. The bus will leave in front of Miyazaki Station. Look for a bus bound for “Nichinan Kaigan” (日南海岸). Unfortunately there’s no English version available at all. If you can use a bit of Japanese, you can check the latest timetable here by entering the starting point (宮崎駅) and your destination (青島神社).
I highly recommend you ask for help at the tourist information located inside the station. Make sure you have a bus timetable with you. It will make planning your day a bit easier.


Approaching Aoshima Island:

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

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.
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).

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

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.

Make sure to dress accordingly if you plan to visit in winter. It may not look like it on the photos, but it does get cold – even in Kyushu.

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

The approach to Aoshima Shrine is so interesting. The whole small island is surrounded by uniquely shaped rocks.

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

Getting closer to the shrine on Aoshima Island.

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

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.

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

Despite the cold weather there were a lot of people.


What to do at Aoshima Shrine:

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

It was winter vacation and many of them had yet to do their hatsumode.

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

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!

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

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.

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

Hang your wishing plaque next to the others and walk through the tunnel. Great feeling!


Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

At Aoshima Shrine you can also throw plates. You have to hit a certain area only then 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.

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

To me Aoshima Island represents Miyazaki well. My image of Miyazaki has always been: lots of palm trees, blue ocean, blue sky!
Even the shrine is surrounded by palm trees!

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

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.

I spent some time looking for 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.

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

I even spotted a small lighthouse. Isn’t it cute?

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

And then I left the small island again.


Aoshima Subtropical Botanic Garden

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

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 ridiculously low entrance fee. They even wanted to give me some flowers, but I couldn’t take them with me, so I kindly rejected. As it’s a very small garden, you can finish everything in 5-10 mins.

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

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!

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

For me it was a good way to warm up. As I mentioned earlier it was bitter cold outside.

Aoshima Island in Miyazaki

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.
I stood there for quite some time, staring at them until I realized that it’s way too cold and then moved on! smiliesmilie

The bus stop is not far away. A 5 mins 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.

Tourist Information:
Opening Hours:
Entrance fee:
Time required:
30-45 mins
2 Chome-13-1 Aoshima, Miyazaki, Miyazaki Prefecture 889-2162 // TEL: +(81) 985-65-1262
From JR Miyazaki Sta. or from Miyazaki Airport take a bus bound for “Nichinan Kaigan” (日南海岸). If you can use a bit of Japanese, you can check the latest timetable here by entering the starting point (e.g. 宮崎駅) and your destination (青島神社). Alternatively it’s a 20 mins walk from JR Aoshima Sta.
Please note: Prices as well as opening hours / holidays are subject to change. Please make sure to follow the provided link to the official website to check out the latest updates.


  • I’d definitely add a tag for ocean/sea/beach or some such :)

    I don’t mind the short ones even though I like the long ones. That is if it means more posts :)

    • That tag would just be for you then ;P Just kidding. That’s actually a good idea.
      I’ll do that when I go over my tag / category improving. There are so many things I want to change and improve, I’m just so busy travelling recently (yay! :D) that I don’t have time for that ;__;

  • Is there such a thing as too many photos? Oops, I broke that rule many times already. :P

    I think that for search-friendliness, you could split them up by destination. But I personally prefer having a post for the whole day. :)

    • Thank you for your opinion.
      I think there are too many photos. I need to learn to get better at sorting them out!!! :(

      I want the people to enjoy the details in the photos as well, but if there are too many, that’s impossible!

      I think as long as there’s a link to the next stop / destination of the same day, it doesn’t really make a difference if you just have to scroll down in the same blog post or hit the link to get to the next one.
      However, by now I have SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many places I went to, I can’t see myself ever finish posting. Splitting the posts even more sounds crazy!! *gg*

  • Hi~ <3

    I ended up finding your blog through Jamie's twitter, and what do you know?! More Japan~ <3

    I think our stories are similar in that I ended up loving Japan through anime/manga in my childhood. In fact, I'm currently in the country for a year on an exchange student program – in Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto! <3 I've only just arrived almost a month ago – April 1, to be exact – so there are plenty of places I have yet to visit. But, the pictures you've posted here make me want to visit Aoshima as well! I'm definitely putting it on my places-to-visit list. ;)

    Since I'm here as a student though, I don't exactly have all the time in the world – like now, when I should really be studying. Still, I can't wait to go through the rest of your blog and find out about more places I can go while I'm here! This is also my first time in Japan, after all. ;)

    Thank you for all the tips~ <3 And, if you have any other tips/suggestions for me, do feel free to message me~ (I have a Twitter account too. :D) Thanks again!

    • Thank you for your comment!
      We already communicated through messages and thanks for also adding me on LJ!!

      Sure thing! Whenever you need travel tips, feel free to ask me!! :hearts:

  • Thanks for sharing this post. I know you’re very busy preparing for your GW trip.

    Aoshima indeed looks exotic! Reminds me of some coastal areas back in my home country except that there are many coconut trees instead of palms.

    It’s my first time seeing colorful omikujis! I’ve only seen the sakura omikuji in Heian Jingu. Did you try throwing plates? I guess it will be a good stress reliever. ;P

    The rock formations look interesting!

    • Really? I see colorful ones all the time! :happy:
      I like the colorful ones more as it looks nicer on photos as well ;P

      No, I didn’t throw anything. I’m so bad at throwing things I was worried to hurt somebody!! :hihi:

  • I think I’m like you: If there are palm trees, it has to be a warm place, right?

    Giving away the flowers to guest/visitors is a really nice guest, too bad that you couldn’t take them with you ;_;

    I think this post has just the right amount of pictures :-)

    For a travel blog: Maybe it would help if you take a picture of the map at the tourist information or scan said map (if possible) and then you can make little dotted lines etc on photoshop to point out where you went exactly (and if you can recall the times, point out the distances too?)

    • Kiara, thank you so much for your advice!
      Does the website / the photos load too slow for you?

      I do have tons of folders with all the maps and pamphlets I kept of almost every destination.
      I guess I’ll have to ask a tourist info center the next time I go if it would be ok to scan and publish them here. They are very helpful which is why I keep them for future reference.
      Thanks a lot for the great suggestion! :chu:

  • Lovely pictures!! :sparkling: I wanna go! It’s looks like a superb spot for summer traveling too.
    The rocks on the beach really do look like a washboard. Never seen anything like that before :ehno:
    I really like the flowers from the botanical gardens too. :D
    I think dividing the posts by destination rather than day is a little easier to get through and since there will be fewer pictures, maybe it’ll give people a chance to really look closely at whats there :heart:

    • I think you are right.
      It’s so hard to look at and enjoy all the details in the photos if there are too many.
      On the other hand I just have so many trips to post about that I can see it taking 100 years to post about all of it, but oh well *g*
      In the long run that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

      Yes, Aoshima is definitely a surfers’ paradise in summer – or rather the whole Nichinan coastline! :thumbup: Very beautiful beaches, so I guess swimming is quite awesome there, too!

  • Beautiful! :)
    Love the pictures and Aoshima seems to be good place to chill and relax.
    A place to slow down and enjoy. ^^

    Looking forward for your next entry!

    • So it actually loads slow for you? Good to know. I guess I have far too many graphics around.
      I’m still looking for a good solution. Your suggestion sounds like a good idea, thank you! :D

  • Hi I am going to follow your itinerary for the Miyasaki trip! It really looks wonderful! May I know did you purchase any 1 day bus pass when you cover these 3 places?
    Also, I intend to go to Takachiho from Miyasaki using bus as well. Should I purchase Miyazaki one day bus pass for that too?
    Does the same bus pass cover all these 4 places including Takachiho? Is there any 2 day cheaper bus pass that cover all places?

    Sorry for asking so many questions!!

    Thank you!!

    • Hi Chloe!

      I didn’t use any bus pass as far as I can recall, though there might be one available.
      I also didn’t go by bus from Takachiho to Miyazaki, so I have no idea about that, sorry!

      I was just googling for “バスパス宮崎” and found a few things, so maybe there’s something you could use! :)
      Good luck and have fun in Miyazaki!
      Sorry that I can’t be much of a help!

  • Thanks for your reply! You are already helping me a lot with such a wonderful blog post!! :kyah:

    I just checked バスパス宮崎, and they are offering 3 different bus passes at a rate of 500 yen. But I am not sure whether they cover places I listed in my previous post. Can you help me check it out?

    Since you didn’t buy any pass on that day, is it very expensive to travel since you stop at several places?

  • By the way, may I know what bus stop to get off for these 3 places you visited? Are they 青 島,鵜戸神宮入口, and 日 南(油津)? I am not too sure about the 3rd bus stop especially.
    Thank you for your help! ;P

    • The bus pass in your earlier post seems to be only valid on weekends and it might only go until the airport, not all the way to where you want to go.
      I tried too look everywhere for my pamphlets and bus plans for that time, but I couldn’t find anything.

      But you know what? The bus center right next to the Miyazaki JR Station has very helpful staff. They helped me out a lot.
      I don’t know if they can speak English, though.

      I guess you could ask on that day and then decide if there’s a pass worth buying or not.
      I remember that it wasn’t that expensive to use the buses anyways.

      The bus stop for Sunmesse is “サンメッセ日南”. You can find infos to all three bus stops here (Japanese):

  • 宮崎いく前に、屋久島へ行くつもりですが、レンタカーは楽天で予約したけど、その日に現金で払ってもいいですか?カードで払いたくないですから。

    • Why are you asking me in Japanese now? *g*
      If your Japanese is that good, then there’s no problem.
      I have no idea as it depends on the rental car company, so only you can find out!
      Usually Rakuten states that somewhere – same with the hotels. Most accept credit cards and 現金, but not all do.

  • haha I understand a bit japanese. But my Japanese isn’t that good. If the website says 現地決済, what does it mean? :)

    • 現地決済というのは、楽天トラベルのHP内でクレジットカードなどでしはらうのではなく、 宿泊先の旅館の受付やホテルのフロントなどで直接宿泊先に料金を支払う方法のことです。 その際の支払い方法ですが、現金払いは当然できます。

      In other words: Yes, you can pay cash! :)

  • Yes Yes!! Thank you so much!! Now I can go on the trip without worrying!! :peace: Really appreciate your help! :kyah:

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