A constant theme while exploring Amami Oshima is, without a doubt, water. Be it in the ocean or its rivers, travelers to this beautiful island will definitely have an endless amount of fun in the water. Here, we give you a short list of the main activities one has access to while in Amami and those you should not miss during your trip.
Although surfing is not the only reason to make the trip down to this part of Japan, it is the main reason for many who make Amami Oshima their vacation destination of choice. Unless you’re a pro surfer and carry your own, the best way to get your hands on a surfboard is through one of the few surf shops on the island. And this being Japan, where simply renting a board is not common, you’ll want to sign up for a quick lesson with either Surf x Cafe GreenHill or Kazbo Surf and SUP. You’ll find these two outfits at Yoan Beach and Tebiro Beach, respectively—the two best surf spots on the island. Keep in mind that these are reef breaks and thus not surfable during low tide. For peace of mind, getting advice from the locals is your best bet.
The calm waters on the Sea of Japan side of Amami Oshima are perfect for an afternoon of sea kayaking, which is something we recommend you do. But if you want an experience even more unique to the island, you should head just south of Amami city and venture deep into the second-largest mangrove forest in Japan. You can rent kayaks at Mangrove Park or Mangrove Chaya, which is a few hundred meters from the park. The latter is the best option for early birds, as the tours into the forest have small groups and start at 9 a.m.; you also get the chance to walk a path along the mangrove before boarding your kayak. Mangrove Park start at 10 a.m, where larger groups get on the water.
For those who enjoy the water on a stand-up paddleboard, Amami Oshima also offers various ways to paddle its calm waters as well as its more challenging areas. One outfit that provides a fun and professional experience is Kazbo Surf and SUP. Fukuda-san, the man in charge of Kazbo, is one of the coolest guides on Amami and very knowledgeable about the sport. Once at Kazbo, you can choose to SUP at Yoan Beach, where you can put your skills to the test and try SUP surfing if the swell is right, or ask to be taken to Akaogi Beach in the direction of northwest for a more leisurely place.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
For those looking to explore the underwater world surrounding Amami island, scuba diving and snorkeling are perfect activities while in this Japanese paradise. For a proper diving experience, we suggest contacting Native Sea Amami. They offer one of the most complete diving experiences on the island and are sure to provide a memorable underwater tour. Not quite comfortable with scuba diving equipment but still want to hang out with Amami’s fish? Then snorkeling is also an awesome activity to take on. If you have your own gear, head to Kurasaki Beach, jump into the water, and keep an eye out for the marine life right after. You might get a glimpse of a lionfish, but keep your distance, because they do sting. Whatever your choice, always be respectful of the ocean and have fun.