Located on the eastern coast of Miyazaki prefecture, Aoshima refers a small island as well as the walkable beach town that surrounds it. In this article, we walk you through some of the best things to do in Aoshima for an exciting and idyllic day by the sea!
Wake up and bright and early to hit the waves at Aoshima Beach, one of Miyazaki’s prime surfing spots. Known for its mellow surf and shallow waters, Aoshima Beach is a great location for beginner surfers to try their hand at the sport. Board rental and surf classes are available from local shops such as Surf City and HIGHSURF, both of which are located in walking distance of the coast.
After working up an appetite, stop by UPPER YARD to nosh on American-style hamburgers and burritos. Decorated with a mix of Mexican art, industrial finishes, and nods to skate and surf culture, UPPER YARD has an easy, laid-back feeling that epitomizes beachside living.
For afternoon dessert, check out Miyazaki Hyokaten, a kakigori and ice cream specialty shop serving frozen treats that are as delicious as they are beautiful. The menu rotates on a seasonal basis, but past flavors have included hojicha and chestnut, muscat, and vegan soy with avocado cream. The kakigori portions are massive, so consider splitting with a friend or arriving very hungry.
Take an afternoon stroll around Aoshima island itself, a small island that is connected to the mainland by Yayoi Pedestrian Bridge. Visitors can simply walk across -- no cars or ferries needed. With a circumference of just 1.5 km, the perimeter of Aoshima island can be traversed in 15 minutes, although chances are it’ll take much longer with all the photo stops.
While walking around Aoshima, keep an eye out for the strange, jagged rocks that surround the isalnd. Given their resemblance to a giant washboard, the rocks have been adequately nicknamed as the “Devil’s Washboard.” Formed by bedrock erosion, the unusual formations have been designated as a national natural monument.
Take a moment to pray at Aoshima Shrine. Located in the center of the island, Aoshima Shrine answers prayers for marriage. Accordingly, the shrine features heart-shaped artworks and is frequently visited by couples.
Once back on the mainland, check out the Miyakoh Botanical Garden, a free garden that showcases the unique subtropical greenery of Aoshima. The on-site greenhouse is home to 26 kinds of tropical fruits and 53 different varieties of mango, the specialty fruit of Miyazaki.
For dinner, enjoy a classy meal at LDK Seaside Grill in the recently revamped Aoshima Beach Village, an outdoor gathering space that hosts live music and food stands in the summertime. LDK serves a mix of Western cuisine and Japanese-inspired specialties, with options including bavette steak, grouper and clam pizza, and seared horse carpaccio -- horse meat being a regional favorite. With a sleek white exterior and floor-to-ceiling windows, LDK is a breezy but refined dining option.
Wrap up your day with a nice, long soak in the natural hot springs at Aoshima Fisherman’s Beach Side Hostel & Spa. Open until 10:00 PM, the onsen is open to the public and features a a large indoor bath, an outdoor bath, a sauna, a cold water bath, and a private bath for couples and families. With plenty of seating, reading material, and hanging chair pods, the relaxation room warrants a special visit after your dip.
About the author:
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.