I went to Iki Island (Ikinoshima) from Fukuoka on a ferry. What I was looking forward to was Tatsunoshima Island, which is a deserted island. When I was searching around beautiful beaches in Kyushu recently, thinking if there are any wonderful beaches somewhere, a friend of mine told that the ocean was beautiful in Iki Island. Then I visited the island.
Access from Fukuoka (Hakata port):
Ferry (one way): 2 hours and 20 minutes, 2,640Yen (economy class)
High-speed boat (one way): 70minutes, 5,120Yen
Iki Island is located on the sea of Genkai, northern part from Kyushu, which has a long history. The island was called Ikikoku, which was an independent state during the Yayoi-era (300 BC – 250AC). The island appeared in the chapter “Gishi” of the Chinese history book, “Sanguozhi”, or Three Kingdom Saga published at the end of third century. Iki Island played an important role as a relay place of maritime transportation which connected Kyushu, China and Korea.
Harunotsuji-Iseki (Harunotsuji Heritage)
Harunotsuji-Iseki in the Ikinoshima is the heritage of the settlement that prospered in the Yayoi era.
Harunotsuji is regarded as a leading and very important heritage of Japan along with Yoshinogari Heritage in Saga prefecture and Toro Heritage in Shizuoka prefecture.
The museum shows the antiquities unearthed from Harunotsuji-Iseki. I recommend the movie of “Ikikoku story” very much. I was very impressed at the last scene of the movie, which I can’t tell about now…. I came to like Iki thanks to the movie. The building of the museum was designed by Kurokawa Kisho, the leading architect in Japan and is unique. I kept looking at the building because I like architecture.
Tourists can rent a bicycle in the island. It’s very easy to pedal up a hill because they provide you with an electric bicycle. I didn’t use it myself though.
Here many people engage in farming so you can see beautiful rice paddies everywhere in the island. Well, every island sure be nice.
Tatusnoshima (Tatsuno Island), a deserted island
The ocean along Tatsunoshima is blue and clear as a friend of mine told me. The beauty of the ocean let out my involuntary yell of surprise. “What a beautiful ocean it is!”
It takes eight minutes by ferry to go to Tatsunoshima from Katumoto-cho that is located in the north end of Ikinoshima. I was there just in summer so I kept swimming at the bathing beach. I wished I could have been here forever.
Operation days: between March-20 and November-30
Fare(round trip): Adult 700Yen、Child 350Yen
Iki Dolphin Park
I visited the park because I like dolphins. It is located 2.5km away from Katsumoto-cho. I could see many cute dolphins up close during the dolphin show and the Fureai-experience, or playing with dolphins. I enjoyed feeding dolphins very much.
Business hours: 8：30～17：00
Admission fee: adult 200Yen, child 100Yen
A roadside bluff in the vicinity of the Dolphin Park
Many ocean sports are available in the island. You can enjoy scuba diving, fishing and surfing.
There are morning markets in Katsumoto-cho, the fisherman’s town. Women from the island sell fish and vegetables.
Many old wooden houses stand side by side at an alley so that I could see a real intact piece of scenery of Japan.
“Uni-don” specialty in Iki
Uni-don is a bowl of rice topped with raw sea urchin. It is said that woman divers are busy fishing in Iki and get a lot of sea urchin. I tried the specialty, Uni-don and found it delicious! The Uni-don is the cuisine that is come from the idea of woman divers. I recommend you have Uni-don when you visit Iki.
Umesima, a restaurant is famous for Iki-beef, which comes from a cow raised in Iki. Specialties in Iki are Iki-Shochu (distilled spirit), Uni-don and Iki-beef. I tasted all of them. Cows that produce Iki-beef are branded cows and very famous since the old days. Its calf is one of the most branded cows in Japan. It is traded as an original cow for the highest rank cows like Kobe-gyu and Matsusaka-ushi. That is why it must be delicious.
Yunomoto Hot Springs, which is located in the west of Iki, consist of six hot springs. They are known as Kodakara- noyu, which means if you take these hot springs then you will have babies plenty. After I took hot springs, I had a smooth skin. They are good for women! There is another hot spring, Yukawa Hot Spring in the vicinity of Gonoura port southern part of Iki. Once you take a hot spring, you feel refreshed instantly.