[Sidenote¹: Especially for ‘islandhopping‘ you board a 15-seat propeller tiny kind of thing.
Amaziny/Scary at the same time for first-timers like I have been.]
To escape the cold of Tokyo I decided to visit my husband, who was on some remote islands near Okinawa for business. [» Jump to: Travelfacts]” Destiny seems to support such decisions of mine, as I could catch a 40 bucks flight from Tokyo to Amami Island. My husband was on Tokunoshima so I changed plans, stayed here 2 nights and then took another 30min flight [due to heavy weather conditions no ferry was scheduled] heading for his direction. [follow up post TWO and THREE]
Amamishima welcomes you. People talk to you even you didn’t asked for help. Staff is friendly. I feel they are not afraid of foreigners as people usually are in Tokyo (staring at you, keeping a certain distance, trying to come up with broken english to answer your question which was in perfect japanese…we know these funfacts…)
Anyway its not an “island” island. Blue sea, yes. Beach, yes. But less touristic than you might have created your typical –island image- in your head.
For fun (and to save money) I stayed at some kinda brasilian-flair-”hotel” thing. Very nostalgic and old, but it has its charm and you hate it or love it. I do love it, already for its name “ Hotel California “ (and location is not bad at all either.)
»Some impressions. I call it – the “industrial beach flair” (surprised or not, the air is sooo fresh. Compared to Tokyo) And somehow it takes some time to realize – Mr. Donuts and AEON in front of your hotel – that you are actually on an –island in the middle of nowhere-Ocean.
Ferry: Kagoshima – Okinawa (different lines, some stop at every island)
» takes some 4-24h depending where you start/go
» sea is unpredictable and rides might get canceled on short notice
» cheaper than flights, quite comfy [mini-hotel style]
» tickets can be reserved by phone and bought directly at port
Flights: Tokyo – Kagoshima/Amami (Vanilla Air so cheap) other islands served by JAL only
» takes some 30-120min depending where you start/go
» Island weather is unpredictable and flights might get canceled/delayed on short notice
» much faster but also more expensive
» small airplanes ! (especially islandhopping is with propeller only)
Hotels: Quite rare and expensive
» try AirBnB or cheap (but less clean/comfy) hotels
» Island weather is unpredictable so bring an umbrella for sure
» There are convenient stores so you wont starve
» get your Japanese drivers license (rent a car) as buses are rare and taxis quite expensive