Next Stop, Japan

Yamaguchi Prefecture

Omijima (Sea Alps)

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Omijima (青海島 - Oumi Island) in Nagato City faces Korea across the Sea of Japan (East Sea) on the northern coast of Honshu in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The island's scenic outcroppings on the north coast are called the "Sea Alps" (海上アルプス). The name is quite suitable as the sharp stone columns thrusting out of the ocean and sheer cliffs with ocean caves are indeed reminiscent of the real alps. It all makes for a dramatic backdrop for wildlife and fishing boats.

The island can be toured by sightseeing boat or by car. Most of the best scenery faces out onto the ocean and can only be seen properly by boat. There is a large lagoon, campground and swimming beach on the island. The island is 14km² and 40km in circumference.

Boat Tour

The boat tour of the coastline leaves from Seaside Square near the bridge to the Oumi Island in Nagato City. Seaside Square has a number of tourist stalls to the left of the cruise ticket office. The normal route circles the island (clockwise - sit on the right side) and takes about 90 minutes. Shorter alternate routes are used in the event conditions on the water are poor. Cruises leave only at a few time a day so check ahead and plan to arrive 10 minutes before the departure time.

The guided tour around the island is quite informative and points out many features on the island and the mainland of Honshu. People who don't speak Japanese will, of course, miss out on this. In any case, the pamphlet is well put together and it is easy enough to figure out what you're supposed to be looking at. Once the tour has begun, it is possible to stand in the rear of some of the boats and enjoy the tour outside.

Land Activities

As noted above, there is a bridge to the Omijima. A scenic road winds from the west where the bridge anchors across the island. A popular beach and a campground are both located on the eastern shore. To the west of the bridge is a fairly large lagoon.

Getting There

Omijima is in Nagato City on the north coast of Honshu in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The city is a fair distance from any large city but there are a number of ways to get there. The fastest, easiest and possibly cheapest way to explore this area of Japan is by car.

Nagato City's JR Nagato-shi Station is on the coastal Sannin Line and is the northern terminus of the Mine Line. Travelers coming from Shimonoseki City (120 minutes) can use the Sannin Line and those arriving from the east on the south coast can transfer (Shinkansen and local) at JR Asa Station to the Mine Line (60 minutes).

Buses to Nagato City also leave from Shimonoseki and take 140 minutes.

Pronunciation Note: Omijima is pronounced O-umi-jima. The de facto standard spelling used on this page is one syllable short of the real name in Japanese.

Posted: April 17, 2011 Updated: February 15, 2015


Nagato City
Yamaguchi Prefecture

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W - 60 minutes (car)
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