This lovely national park is so close to the port town of Hojo, you could actually swim there if you wanted to! Although, we advise taking the ferry instead, which takes under 5 minutes and costs only 200 yen for an adult return ticket and 120 for kids.
The real draw of Kashima is the chance to find your own little private patch of bliss, whether it be for fishing, swimming, or sunbathing. You’ll find plenty of small beaches around the coast, from where you can enjoy snorkeling and other activities. If you’re lucky, some of the island’s friendly deer might even come down to join you.
There are also plenty of nice walking trails around the small island, best of which is a 1.6km circuit around the coast which runs across quaint bridges and oceanside cliffs. Heading inland, you can make your way up to the hilltop at the center of the island.
Around these various walking routes, you’ll stumble across haiku poems carved into stones. The island has inspired poets and other artists for a long time, including the famous Kawahigashi Hekigoto.
It wasn’t just the artists who recognized Kashima’s value — military men also set up here, namely the Kono clan of samurai who controlled the region. The ruins of their castle are still visible near the center of the island.
You might rightly be imagining that it’d be difficult to leave this lovely island paradise, but the best part is that you don’t have to! Camping on the island is free, so you can stretch out your time here to a couple of days or more.