There are so many beautiful islands in Japan, that is really hard to make a choice when preparing a trip. However, if you are looking for a quite island, more for yourself and away from crowds, you have to visit Sensuijima. It doesn’t sounds familiar at all, isn’t it? Well, that’s the beauty of it. Many didn’t heard about it, which makes it even more interesting if you’re looking to go off the touristic path.
Sensuiima island is a tiny island, of 6km in circumference and with a maximum height of 159 meters at Mount Omisen. It is part of the Tomo Park, the only seaside national park of Japan, which has been declared in 1925 a National Site of Scenic Beauty. And you will have no objections to make once you’ll explore the place by yourself.
The place is pretty much untouched by humans, excepting a few buildings near the port, which also hosts the only accommodation on the island. Excepting that, you are pretty much on your own. So, get a map to visualize the available trails and start enjoying the peaceful islanding life.
If you’ll check the map, you will see several trails with different colours. I personally done them all in less than one day and I recommend you to do the same. Each of them offers different views and are definitely worth in the effort.
This trail is very short and very close to the port. It has only 600m and it takes 20 minutes for the full loop. You will have a great viewpoint with Bentenjima island in front of you, as well with the city of Tomonoura. You will then pass the Tanoura beach, which is in front of the lodging place. From here you can admire the small island in front of you, called Kogojima.
At Mount Gozenyama observation point don’t miss the two stone monuments out there. One is commemorating Tomo’s Park as a national site of scenic beauty. The other, is honouring a visit paid by the Crown Prince of Japan, who later became the Showa Emperor.
The second must shortest trail on the island takes you up to the Senningaoka Hill. It has only 700m and it takes about 30 minutes to complete the loop. You can start trekking from the Tanoura beach, even going straight to the view point and then descending through the forest, even the way around. I recommend to start from the forest, as it is quite hilly the other way around.
The observation points, as well as the island, owes the name to a legend in which a Sennin (a mysterious mountain sage) came to enjoy the scenery along with a stiff drink. As the alcohol is the bad guy in any story, he got him “drunk” and asleep. He was discovered by a local and vanished in shame, never showing his face again.
The blue train will make you explore the inside of the island. It has 2.9km and it takes about 1.5 hour for the full tour. A part of it is common with the red trail, so if you’re planning to visit both, maybe you want to consider some shortcuts on the way. Starting from Tanoura beach, you can chose to start with the coastline promenade. First, you will be see the Sensui Strata. basically a distinct striped pattern in the rock face. These strata are layered sediment, such as from sand and mud consisting of ash expelled by volcanoes that existed many years ago.
Then, you will arrive at the second beach of the island, Hikoura beach. From here, in the afternoon you’ll have the opportunity to walk till a small peninsula, once the water is gone. Check the shells in the stones, it is incredible how they stick to them!
From here, you will start going inside the island. The first stop will be Akaiwa observation point. From here you’ll have a great view of the islands of Kogojima, Tamatsushima abd Tsugarushima, but also with other ones a bit more far. When ready, start trekking till the highest peak of the island, Mount Omisen. It has only 159meters, but despite its height it offers really good views around. From here, continue your journey back to the start point.
If you done the blue trail, then you already completed one third of the red trail as well – as they have some common path. This trail by itself had 2.7km and it takes around 1h to complete, as you don’t have to hike so much as in the blue one. If you must chose only one trail during your visit to Sensuijima, this should be the one!
From Hikoura beach, prepare for a short hike to reach Karasunokuchi observation point. From my point of view, this is the best view you’ll have from the entire island. And I say this seeing it during the day, but it looks like for sunrise is even better. Karasunokuchi means mouth of the raven, which is in reference to the hill beaklike shapes observed from below of Hikoura.
From here you can admire big vessels on the sea and have a great view with the sea and the islands around. While you go down, keep an eye on the beach. At some point it appears like being half a heart, isn’t it? And if you’re brave enough, so a bit off the track and check out the bamboo forest on the right. I even walked a bit till the other side of the island, until I had no path to follow and I came back. You will end up being alone, truly feeling part of the nature.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter which path you chose, as long as you decide to visit Sensuijima. You will get great memories and views almost from everywhere. Above, you can see some pictures from the common path between the red and blue trails.
I have a great news: it’s very easy and convenient to visit Sensuijima island. You only have to take a ferry from the municipal ferry port of Tomonoura and you’ll be on the island in about 5 minutes! It costs only 240Y for a round trip and it operated 3 times a hour, every 20 minutes, between 7am and 9pm (at +10, +30. +50 minutes) – easy peasy!
If you want to spend the night on the island, there are no choices. You must stay at the only accommodation available which is Kokumin Shukusha Sensuijima. I am not aware of the prices or the conditions, but I would assume it’s not cheap with no competition around. I also saw a restaurant which may be open for tourists, but better come prepared with some food and drinks from Tomonoura. Everything looked closed when I was there.
Well, that’s it from my side. I hope you enjoyed the article and one day you’ll visit Sensuijima island. Meanwhile, get inspired from more articles across Japan and not only, here.
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