100 Stories

Osakikamijima: A Hidden Gem on the Seto Inland Sea

Osakikamijima: A Hidden Gem on the Seto Inland Sea

021 / 100

Robert Maximo Parker

One of Hiroshima’s biggest draws has to be its location on the idyllic Seto Inland Sea. There are over one hundred islands located in the Inland Sea that are part of Hiroshima Prefecture, some big, some quite small. Many of these islands are more famous than others, but even those less-famous ones are worth exploring. And one island in particular— well-known to many Hiroshima locals but often unknown to those outside the prefecture— is Osakikamijima. If you like camping, beaches, or relaxing in hot springs with fantastic views of the islands of the Seto Inland Sea, then you have to make time to take a detour to this island. 



  1. 01. Getting to the Island
  2. 02. Okushi Campsite and Beach: Spend the Whole Day Here!
  3. 03. Kinoe Onsen Hotel Seifukan: A Brilliant View of the Inland Sea
  4. 04. The Moment of Joy:
  5. 05. A Detour Worth Taking

What Day?

I would never have discovered this island if not for my wife, who was born and raised in Osakikamijima. We often visit there throughout the year, though in my opinion summertime is when this island shines (though you won’t go wrong visiting in the spring or fall either). Whenever we visit Osakikamijima, there are a couple of places I always want to visit, and activities that I try to take part in when we go in the summertime. While this year, for one reason or another, I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted to all in one trip, I wanted to share some of a trip to Osakikamijima in August 2021, along with some of the other experiences I’ve had there over the past year. 

So if you will, please join me on a journey across the Seto Inland Sea to Osakikamijima, an island that absolutely deserves to be seen and experienced by people from all over the world.

Getting to the Island

Before jumping into my experience, I think it is important to take a little time to talk about how to get to Osakikamijima. One of the only things holding back Osakikamijima from becoming (in my opinion) a prime stop for tourists exploring Hiroshima is getting there. There are no bridges connecting Osakikamijima to the mainland, so you need to take a ferry from the town of Takehara. You can get to the Takehara Ferry Port by taking the Kaguya Hime bus from the Hiroshima Bus Center in downtown Hiroshima City or at Hiroshima Station. These buses run throughout the day, are quite reasonably priced, and will drop you off right in front of the terminal. 

All that being said, my recommendation for those who wish to experience Osakikamijima in the most convenient and easiest way possible would be to rent a car. If you do, take the Sanyo Expressway and get off at the Kochi Interchange, and from there it’s about twenty minutes to the ferry port. While taking a car onto the ferry to Osakikamijima is a bit expensive (around two thousand yen), once you are on Osakikamijima, it will be much easier to get around if you have a car. While there are buses on the island, they are limited. Besides, if you go by car, you’ll have the chance to explore the island more and discover spots that maybe I haven’t even seen yet.

The ferry to Osakikamijima takes about thirty minutes and affords some nice views of other, smaller islands in the Seto Inland sea. It’s a good time to enjoy the fresh sea air, or take a nap, or chart out where you want to go first once you arrive at one of the two ferry terminals (both are close to one another so take whichever ferry is coming next).

Okushi Campsite and Beach: Spend the Whole Day Here!

My wife and I went back to Osakikamijima in August, during our Obon holiday (one of the three main holiday periods in Japan). But unfortunately, August was very rainy and cool compared to regular summers in Japan, and my wife and I were really unlucky that the one week of vacation we spent on Osakikamijima was mostly rainy every single day. That meant that we weren’t able to do one of the main things that I wanted to do: visit Okushi Campsite and Beach, so instead, I’ll share with you some of my experiences and photos from earlier in the year (back around March and April 2021). 

The campsite and beach are located on the western side of Osakikamijima and are fantastic local spots to go camping, swim, and enjoy some marine sports like sea kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. It’s open all year-round and is— to be quite frank— really cheap. To camp there, it only costs 200 yen per person per night. Sea kayak prices go up depending on how long you stay out on the water, but a single-person kayak costs only around 400 yen for four hours. SUP rentals and lessons are more expensive since that’s more involved, but admission to the beach itself is free. You could camp overnight at Okushi Campsite, go kayaking, and spend a few more hours relaxing at the beach, for less than 1000 yen per person. It’s fantastic. 

Back in March my wife and I went kayaking at Okushi with some of my in-laws, and we had a wonderful time. March is not peak season, it was chilly, and the day was a little grey, but we still had a great time. There was a whole warehouse full of brightly colored kayaks we could choose from, and the water was nice and calm. We spent a few hours kayaking, and I had a really fun, relaxing time. It’s really fun to be out on the water and seeing some of the other smaller islands out on the Seto Inland Sea at the same time.

The beach itself is long, so even on busy summer days, you can usually find a spot to put down your towel and relax. When I went there in March it was still chilly, so the beach was pretty empty, but it is a very clean beach, and even on a cold March day, it was a lot of fun to just hang out there for an hour or two. 

The campsite itself is quite big, so there’s lots of space where you could set up for the day or overnight. There are also some palm trees in the area, so you can feel like you’re on a little tropical getaway with the beach nearby. You’ll have more than enough space for whatever kinds of outdoor campy activities you like, be it playing frisbee with your family, having a barbecue, or just relaxing. If you don’t have your own camp gear, a lot is available for rent, including barbecue sets, tents, tables, chairs, and so on. The last time I went (when it wasn’t pouring rain), my wife and I set up a tarp that we rented and relaxed for a couple of hours while eating snacks and enjoying the great scenery. We even brought along the family dog to keep us company, and he really enjoyed being outside in the fresh air. Even though it was still too cold to go swimming (this was around April), we still had a great time. I’m hoping next summer, I come when it isn’t raining and we can go swimming or try SUP.

To make a reservation to either camp or take part in marine sports at Okushi, check out their website here: https://www.ookushi-camp.com/ 

(Japanese-only, but I find with Translate on Google Chrome it is easy to navigate)

Kinoe Onsen Hotel Seifukan: A Brilliant View of the Inland Sea

When traveling in Japan, I love being able to finish my day by relaxing in a hot spring. If the opportunity to do so presents itself, I’ll usually gladly jump on it. With the views offered by Kinoe Onsen at Kinoe Onsen Hotel Seifukan, I’m happy to start and finish my day there. 

The hot spring is located on the southeast side of Osakikamijima, about twenty minutes by car from the ferry terminals or Okushi. If you are staying at the hotel overnight, there are also shuttle buses that can pick you up and take you there. 

The hotel itself is located on a tall hill overlooking Kinoe Beach, a small but great local beach I’d recommend visiting if Okushi is too crowded for your taste. The hotel, both outside and inside, is a relic of a time when these grand, early twentieth-century hotels that inspired the hotel in The Shining were popular— without being scary. I’m never worried about going crazy and chasing my wife around with an ax when I visit Kinoe Onsen. So while the interior might seem dated, there’s something cute and nostalgic about it that makes it feel homely. 


The last time I went to Kinoe Onsen was during the day, and while it was a little cloudy (this was the only day in my August trip that it didn’t rain) I think you’ll be able to see in the photos that the views of the Seto Inland Sea from Kinoe Onsen are pretty striking. I took these from the hotel parking lot as well as from a viewing deck/balcony outside of the hotel lobby. On a clear day, you can even see one of the bridges of the Shimanami Kaido expressway far in the distance.

If you stay overnight at the hotel, then entry to the Kinoe Onsen is of course included as part of the hotel fee— otherwise, you’ll have to pay around seven hundred yen to just use the hot spring. I should mention that, as I’ve mentioned, Osakikamijima is a small island, and so in my experience, the staff that I’ve spoken to at Kinoe Onsen don’t speak any English. This time, just as every other time, I relied on what Japanese I know and my wife to pay to enter the onsen. Even though they don’t speak English, I think it shouldn’t be too difficult to communicate your intention. 

From the lobby’s front desk, you take a quick right turn and will be faced by the entrances to the men’s and women’s baths, which are located in a lobby of their own. The lobby also has a couple of massage chairs, vending machines (including an ice cream vending machine), and a few private rooms for hotel patrons to use for other activities.

The Moment of Joy:

The view from the baths of Kinoe Onsen is spectacular, and even on a cloudy day, my breath is taken away whenever I sit down in the bath closest to the edge of the onsen. You’re basically sitting in a bath at the edge of a cliff, overlooking the Seto Inland Sea. It’s fantastic, relaxing, and just an absolute joy. In my opinion, this onsen is one of the true hidden gems of Hiroshima.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures inside of the hot spring itself (understandably), so I can’t show you exactly how the onsen looks inside— but after a quick Google search you should be able to find some official photos (though the websites will likely be in Japanese). There are a few small baths in the open-air onsen area, and the view is fairly similar to one of the photos I’ve included taken from outside the hotel, so that will give you a sense of what you can see. If you go to Kinoe Onsen at night, the view is still spectacular. You can see lights glimmering in the distance from buildings, radio and electrical towers on faraway islands, boats, and even the lights of one of the Shimanami Kaido bridges. The first time I saw the view, it honestly took my breath away, and every time I’ve gone to Kinoe Onsen, it wasn’t very crowded. In fact, if you go during the day, there’s a good chance that you’ll have the whole bath to yourself (which I did when I went). 

After finishing up in the baths and drying myself off, I browsed the small gift shop in the hotel lobby. It has a lot of popular Hiroshima goods (like lemon baked goods), and some local goods too. There’s even a tare (Japanese sauce) for sale that’s made by my wife’s friend’s father, which is great with yakiniku, or Japanese-style barbecue. This time around we bought some of the tare as a souvenir and some lemon cakes that are pretty famous in the area. If you want to get some truly authentic, local goods, this is the best but possibly only spot in Osakikamijima to get them. 

A Detour Worth Taking

Osakikamijima is a little out of the way if you’re visiting Hiroshima Prefecture. It’s not the easiest place to get to if you don’t have or rent a car. There aren’t that many places to stay and since it’s a small island, there aren’t any convenience stores open late at night. Most people only speak Japanese, despite there being a new international high school on the island. In many ways, Osakikamijima can be inconvenient.

All that being said, as I rode the ferry back to Takehara after bathing at Kinoe Onsen, I was feeling ready to come back again soon. Even if my wife’s family didn’t live on the island, I think it is the kind of place that I would be very happy to visit on my own. The beaches are great, there are lots of outdoor activities to do, the views of the Seto Inland Sea are wonderful, and Kinoe Onsen is one of my favorite little hot springs in Japan. If you are visiting Hiroshima, have some time, and want to experience somewhere that is loved by people across Hiroshima Prefecture but still isn’t swamped with tourists, then I truly recommend visiting Osakikamijima. I think this hidden gem of an island will end up being one of the highlights of your trip.