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  • Rachell Tan

Amami Island - The Hidden Gem

Updated: May 4, 2019

Having been to Kagoshima twice previously, I thought I'd seen it all (or at least most of it) already. But on our latest Kagoshima trip, I was once again left overwhelmed with everything this undiscovered gem has to offer!

After hearing so much good things about Amami Island, we finally visited this gorgeous island via a domestic flight from Osaka airport (Vanilla Air).

We returned to SG not long ago, but I NEED to be back on Amami Island again.

I can't even describe how chill and gorgeous the place is.

Cobalt blue waters, fresh air, very very friendly locals, deliciously fresh vegetables, no haste, no stress.. heck, even their gelato is the best gelato I've ever tasted.




DAY 1

SIN (Singapore Changi Airport) ➡ KIX (Kansai International Aiport, Osaka) ➡ ASJ (Amami Airport)

Rent-a-car

Lunch (Amami Chicken Rice at Bashayama-mura)

Kaiun Lento Shochu Distillery

Minetayama Observatory (for Sunset)

Night coverage on forest mammals (Amami Black Rabbit)

Check in at Amami Port Tower Hotel





Amami Island is basically one straight road, and everything is along that road, which makes it easy for tourists to drive through to get to their destinations.

Good to remember to apply for your international license before your visit though!



Unlike our local chicken rice, the Amami Chicken Rice tasted more on the lighter side, with fancy plating and different condiments for you to top your rice with.



Kaiun Lento Shochu Distillery

A shochu distillery that uses the vibrations of classical music to mature the shochu, to help them taste better!

Not only was the tour informative and fun, even the shochu shopping afterwards was a great experience.

They have a shochu jelly which was super soft and jiggly (almost like a raindrop cake consistency), and it was so good! :P

I really should've bought more back~



If you're looking for clean, simple accommodation for the night, Port Tower Hotel is a great choice because it's very affordable and has all the basic necessities.

Great for days when you're packed full of activities and won't require gym/pool facilities from the hotel etc :)


DAY 2

Heart Rock

Harahabuya for Snake Show!

Lunch at Shima Tofuya Restaurant

Kuroshio-no-Mori Park (Mangrove Canoeing)

Check in at Nest at Amami



Harahabuya

Learning about native snakes of Amami Island, the power of its venom, and how the locals believe that the Habu helps control the eco-system on Amami island.



Kuroshio-no-Mori Park (Mangrove Canoeing)

Canoeing at Amami Island was of the most enjoyable things I've ever done in 29 years of living hahah!

Wish we could spend the entire day there on our next visit!

Super super chill floating around the water, feeling the breeze and looking at the lush greenery and clear blue skies.



Nest at Amami is huge enough an attraction on its own for you to spend an entire day there.

The suite rooms have a private pool (the water is warm), a tatami room, a beach right beside the hotel, and a gorgeous view to wake up to.

Price-wise, it's very reasonable considering you get a scrumptious full course meal included, and it's a lot cheaper than hotels of this high standard in SG :X

I'm definitely booking Nest at Amami for a few more nights on our next visit again!




DAY 3

Houseimaru/ Lunch at Katsuo-no-le (Fishery!)

Oshima Silk Village

Return Car

ASJ ➡ KOJ (Kagoshima Airport)

Rental Car

Check in at Kirishima (APA Hotel Kokubu)


Houseimaru/ Lunch at Katsuo-no-le

Ben was really manly that day hahah!

He learned from the pro how to dissect a fresh fish, and so we're able to enjoy extremely fresh sashimi after that! :P

The fish was also used for making crispy and juicy fish fillet burgers we had for lunch.



The Oshima Silk Village was one of the most eye opening experience I had.

Hand crafted from start till end, the fabric's threads are dyed with the final design already in mind (think tie-dye), except it's way way waaaay more detailed.

One tiny mistake would mean the threads cannot be used anymore.

Additionally, the black colour of the Oshima Silk actually comes from the chemical reaction of Te-chi Tree Dyeing (turns copper coloured) + Dyeing using MUD!

The result is a beautiful grey black colour you see on the Oshima Silk fabric.

No wonder it comes with such a hefty price tag!




DAY 4

Tadamoto Park (Sakuras!!)

Sogi Waterfall

Ibusuki Tamatebako Train

Onodake Peak

Check in at Sun Days Inn


Tadamoto Park

Two words - Jaw dropping!

I've always seen photos of people with Sakura trees in Japan, but it's always unavoidable that there will be passersby in the backdrop of the photos, so I actually thought that was the norm.

Never have I imagined that my first time seeing Sakuras would be in an empty park such as this, with no need to fight for a spot, no squeezing, no other tourists around, no sweating, no noise.

Just peace and quiet, nice breeze and lots and lots of Sakuras~





The Ibusuki Tamatebako Train

https://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/train/ibutama.html

"This train operates between Kagoshima-chuo and Ibusuki was designed with the theme around the folk tale of Dragon's Palace of the Satsuma Peninsula", and there's a white smoke that comes out of the train as passengers board it!

Not only is this train with a bold monotone scheme on the outside, the interior of the train is filled with comfortable cushy seats for you to kick back and enjoy the view during the journey!

There are also snacks and drinks available on board.



We had a great time on Onodake Peak because it's one of those (FOC) tourist spots where they tell you the best place to angle your camera, jump and get a shot of yourself floating in mid air shot.

Perfect for the gram haha!

Sean was overly enthusiastic in jumping, he ended up sitting down for 10 minutes to rest his old bones after the photos were taken LOL!



DAY 5

Yoshino Park

Sushi School (Sushi making + lunch!)

Sengan-en

Check in at Kirishima La Vista Hotel



Yoshino Park

Yet another beautiful park worth visiting during Sakura season!

There was a particularly huge lone standing Sakura tree in full bloom, and we managed to take a ton of photos with it because there was not many people around.



I thoroughly enjoyed the Sushi School because the teacher made it so fun and entertaining for us, and we received a cool certificate at the end of it. I love this kind of touristy thing haha!

And of course, you get to eat the sushi you made at the end of it.



We were hoping that we'd get to catch Sakuras in Sengan-en as well, but we were a little too early this time.

Nevertheless, this tranquil Japanese style garden is a beauty on its own throughout the seasons of the year, and is always worth the visit, Sakuras or no Sakuras.

I even got to try on the Princess Kimono (it's free for tourists to try on)!




I hope you guys will visit Kagoshima (including Amami Island, Yakushima Island, Tanegashima Island) before it gets more known to tourists and gets really crowded because Kagoshima really has so much to offer!


If you're looking for the easiest way to travel in Kagoshima, I'd highly recommend contacting CPI Travel (​https://www.instagram.com/cpitravel/) as I know they can help you plan customised trips to Kagoshima.


Thank you for reading!

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