Secret Japan Series: Suo Oshima 周防大島 Holiday hideaway

Suo = Old Place Oshima = Big Island 周防大島 is known as the Hawaii of Japan and the secret is still not out about this stunning beach lined island, popular with Japanese locals and tourists.

Suo Oshima isn't going to be top of your list for a luxury escape.  But if you enjoy the great outdoors and want to relax like a local, with plenty of beaches, walks and cycling.  Then this is a great place to stop off on your journey through Japan.  We would highly recommend it, as a secret place, not many tourists from abroad visit. 
It will require a little more effort on your part to get here, but the reward will be a truly authentic Japanese experience.  Well worth adding this little gem in the Seto Inland Sea to your journal list, for your next Japanese adventure!


Map of Suo Ohshima 周防大島 island in Japan.  Holiday destination

Suo Oshima is known as the Hawaii of Japan, because over 4000 people emigrated to Hawaii in the early part of the 20th Century.  With a sister island relationship established with Hawaii in 1963.  Both islands have a very similar tropical climate and are both holiday destinations.  There is the Museum of Japanese Emigration to Hawaii on Suo Oshima Island too, which is in both English and Japanese.

Museum of Emigration to Hawaii on Suo Oshima Island Japan

Museum of Japanese Emigration to Hawaii
2144 Nishiyashiro
Oshima District
Yamaguchi 742-2103
〒742-2103 山口県大島郡周防大島町大字西屋代2144
Open: 9:30am - 4:30pm (Closed Mondays)

 Suo Oshima has a great mix of beaches, mountain walks and cycling routes for you to explore.  The ideal place to fill your holiday notebook with inspiration.

People from all over the world come to the wider area to cycle, with the 7 bridges in the Seto Naikai National Park a favourite.  These seven bridges cross small tropical islands, from the mainland, onto the larger island of Shikoku 四国. 

But Suo Oshima doesn't disappoint either, with a ring road that hugs the coast line and is a beautiful level cycle ride.  Its a great way to explore the many beaches and stunning scenery along the coastline.  Our inside tip is definitely to get out and explore on a bike if you can.  The route is quiet flat, as it is along the coast line with very few hills.  You can cycle around the island in around 5 hours and is about 60 miles, so is perfect for a few days either on a bike, or in a car if your feeling less energetic.

Suo Oshima Coastal road loops around the whole island.

 If your more of a hiker, you also won't be disappoint with four mounts to climb, nicknamed the 600m ridge line.  It comprises of Mt. Monju, Mt. Kano, Mt. Genmeizen and Mt. Dake.

You can take the scenic drive up to Monju Temple, where you can park up and start your journey.  There is also parking near Mt. Dake, at the other end of the ridge, where you can also start.

VIEW from top of 600m ridge line suo oshima japan hike

  The ridge line is walkable from either starting point.  On top of the ridge you will get awe inspiring 360degree views of the island and sea.  You can also see ruins of a former Japanese army battery on top of Mt. Kano. 

Map of walk along 600m ridge line suo oshima japan hike

Collect a map from the tourist information.  

Suo Oshima Sight Seeing Information Centre
4316 Kuka
Oshima District
Yamaguchi 742-2301
〒742-2301 山口県大島郡周防大島町大字久賀4316

Open: 9:00am - 5:30pm (Everyday)

Look out for the bright orange building.  At least one person speaks very good English, who will be able to help you with a map and anything else you want to explore on the island.  Well worth a visit near the start of your adventure on the island to see what else you want to see.

 Re.seto is a beach side cafe, you can't go wrong with. They have beautiful views over the sea for a lunch treat or to get out of the sun.  Situated on the southern end of Hirano beach 片添ヶ浜海水浴場, where you can spend the day sunbathing and swimming.  This spot is the perfect lazy day, with a good book or podcast, to relax and enjoy some down time.

Re.seto cafe in Suo Oshima on the beach with lovely views japan
Re.seto Cafe
1118-1 Hirano
Oshima-gun 742-2512
Yamaguchi Prefecture
〒742-2512 山口県大島郡周防大島町片添1118-1
Open: 11:00am-5:00pm (Closed Tuesdays)


If you are a fish lover then Kawai Sushi is the place for you.  Fresh fish, sushi and sashimi from local Japanese waters, freshly prepared each day.  Its definitely a favourite of our Japanese insider, that tipped us off about Suo Oshima.  Not over priced for the quality, it is a firm favourite with Japanese.  If you are going to eat sushi while in Japan, why not try it on this amazing island overlooking the sea.

Kawai Sushi restaurant in Suo Oshima Japan
Kawai Sushi
1958-22 NishigataSuooshima
Oshima District
〒742-2921 山口県大島郡周防大島町大字西方1958-22
Open: 11:20am - 9:00pm (Closed Tuesdays)


How to get here!

Suo Oshima is located South of Hiroshima and is the third largest island in the Seto inland sea.  Connected to the mainland by Ohashi Bridge, it is easily accessible by car. 
Ōbatake Station (大畠駅 is also very close to the island and takes about 50 minutes, from High Speed train services, at Hiroshima Station.  There is a bus, hourly, that takes you onto Suo Oshima island, from Ōbatake Station or you can hop in a taxi.  The journey on to the island is only 5 minutes, so you will be there in no time.
If you are already on the larger island of Shikoku 四国, you can take a ferry from Mitsuhama 三津浜 port, on the West coast of the island, directly onto Suo Oshima's East coast.  
So whichever direction you are coming from theres options.  If you are planning a tour of Japan, this is well worth plotting into your journal and seeing an authentic natural Japanese landscape.


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