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Aoshima Island

This pristine sub-tropical paradise looks like it belongs in Okinawa, but it’s actually just off the coast of Miyazaki.

Aoshima Island may be small, but it packs a whole lot of paradise into every square meter! Accessible by bridge from the city of Miyazaki, those who make the crossing find a circle of beautiful beaches enclosing a sub-tropical forest which is a haven for a host of exotic flora. The entire circumference is only 1.5km and makes for a memorable walk.

Head inland and you’ll find Aoshima Jinja Shrine, said to bring matrimonial luck to couples who visit. There’s also a smaller auxiliary shrine hidden down a serene pathway, where you can try your hand at tossing clay discs for good luck. In fact, the whole island holds a significance in Shinto as a so-called “power spot,” so even chilling on its white beaches technically counts as a spiritual experience!

You can reach Aoshima Station on the JR Nichinan Line, which runs from Miyazaki Station. After that, it's best to either rent a bike or have a leisurely walk along the bridge leading to the island. If you approach during low tide, keep an eye out for the strange geological phenomenon known as the Oni no Sentakuita (demon’s washboard) — peculiarly straight rows of basalt which look as though they’ve been carved out deliberately.

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