Amami Oshima’s best accommodation options tend to lie on its coastline, either sitting right on the oceanside or tucked within one of the island’s numerous, and breathtakingly beautiful, bays. Our three recommendations are no exception, and include options for glamping hipsters, surf culture-lovers, and those seeking a touch of Mediterranean style on this subtropical island.
Guesthouse Bayside Higashigaoka
Located inside a picturesque bay on Amami Oshima’s northern coast, this is one of the island’s most popular accommodation options. A charmingly simple Mediterranean-style building, it boasts both a garden and an expansive terrace that is perfect for sipping a cocktail while gazing out over the verdant bay and the East China Sea beyond. Inside, a bright and airy first floor lounge, with antique furnishings gives way to corridors again dotted with vintage globes, sculptures and other artifacts.
Guest rooms, consisting of standard twin; economy twin; and double rooms, feature rattan furniture that perfectly suits the Ryukyu climate, along with free wifi-, a flat-screen TV, fridge, and a private bathroom. Additionally, for those who prefer more Airbnb-style accommodation, selected rooms also contain a small kitchen complete with oven. The Guesthouse Bayside Higashigaoka lies 21 kilometers (roughly a 50-minute drive) west of Amami Airport.
This is one for the glamping crowd. Holly Camp, lying within a bay to the island’s northeast, is a sought-after option where accommodation is in the form of a vintage Airstream camping trailer. Sleeping a maximum of four people over one double bed and a sofa bed, the gleaming metallic trailer is flanked by a spacious wooden deck which faces out to sea and leads down to a small rocky beach. Lush green surroundings, and relative isolation, make Holly Camp one of the island’s most tranquil places to stay.
The Airstream’s interior is anything but ‘trailer trash’: white walls and furniture make it feel roomier than you might expect, while the mini bathroom features mosaic tiling and luxury grooming products from Aesop. Other facilities include a small microwave-equipped kitchen and a laptop-friendly work desk, while back out on the deck you’ll find two sun loungers along with a parasol-shaded table for al fresco wining and dining. HOLLY CAMP is just over 7 kilometers (about 15 minutes drive) from the airport.
The Villa Kazbo
The Villa Kazbo is another coast-side accommodation option, and one that takes full advantage of its Pacific Ocean-facing location by also offering surfing and SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) tuition. Family-built and run, this modern villa development sits right on the beach and boasts panoramic ocean views, as well as a pool and a kitchen offering freshly-cooked burgers and snacks.
The prefab-style building isn’t the prettiest architecturally, but its guest four rooms (ranging from couple-sized to group/large family-friendly) offer relaxing decor and great sea views courtesy of sizable floor-to-ceiling windows
Kazbo gains a heightened appeal after dark, when the complex is bathed in light from the illuminated swimming pool. Surfing and SUP lessons are offered in both English and Japanese, at levels from beginner upwards. Find The Villa Kazbo just under 9 kilometers west (about 10 minutes drive) of Amami Airport.