Feel the island vibe and talk with the local people! Recommended cafés in the UNESCO Global Geopark-designated Oki Islands in Shimane Prefecture, Japan!
Here are some activities that can be enjoyed regardless of the weather.
Cafes that are recommended in Okinoshima Town
In Okinoshima Town, there are quite a few coffee shops and cafes near Saigō Port, where the ferry terminal is located.
From retro shops to stylish shops in renovated old buildings. If you can enjoy the unique flavors of the island and talk with the islanders, you should be able to experience the atmosphere of the island while cooling off.
The first is Kyomiya Bunten, which is close to Saigō Port. It's not just a cafe, it sells miscellaneous goods, outdoor goods, and souvenirs, and you can also drink Shimane's craft beer such as "Okinoshima Beer" inside the store. And above all, the couple who run the store are wonderful. It is a place where people of the island naturally gather even if they have no plans. You may be able to see how the locals interact and exchange thoughts, a treat for any tourist who likes interacting with local people.
Cream soda float is a popular menu item. The vanilla ice cream on top is rich and delicious!
Address: Kyomiya Branch 3-81 Yao, Nishimachi, Okinoshima-cho, Oki-gun, Shimane Prefecture
Regular holiday: Tuesday
Official Instagram @kyomiyabunten
Next is "100TARO Coffee" which is about 5 minutes by car, or 25 min on foot from Saigō Port.
This is a home-roasted coffee shop where you can enjoy the owner's specialty coffee. It's a shop that doesn't look like an island in a good way, and you'll be surprised when you enter the shop. The space was designed by someone who designs beauty salons.
There are many types of coffee and the explanations are carefully written, so you may be able to find the coffee that suits you. It is a shop with a strong commitment that all sweets are handmade.
If you find beans that you like, you can buy them at the store. There are no fixed holidays, so it might be better to make a reservation before going on business days as much as possible.
Address: 117 Johoku-cho, Okinoshima-cho
Regular holiday: Irregular holidays
Tsuki Akari Cafe
We also recommend Tsuki Akari Cafe, which is closer to Saigō Port even than the Kyomiya Bunten.
This cafe is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is run by the owner of Shugetsudo, a local Japanese pastry shop, which is well-known in Okinoshima Town for its sazae monaka, a type of sazae-shaped sweet with azuki beans sandwiched in crispy wafers. Sazae is a type of shellfish that is widely used in local cuisine.
The inside of the shop gives off an island vibe; it looks like a nostalgic Kyo-machiya (Kyoto-style traditional house). From the table at the back, you can see the river flowing towards the sea up close. Experience the islands by getting a glimpse of the local life while taking a rest.
Cappuccino with cinnamon will warm your body up if you are caught by a cold shower rain, too. They also have parfaits using seasonal fruits, sweets such as cakes, and hot snacks such as french fries. This time to cool down while glimpsing the life of the island is sure to be a good island experience.
Address: Okinoshima-cho Nishimachi Yao-no-3 45
Closed: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, 2nd and 4th Sundays
Take your time and relax in Ama Town!
The Infirmary of the Island, Kura
"There is nothing that we don’t have" is the catchphrase of Nakanoshima Island, Ama Town. Many young people are now living on this island, where Emperor Go-Toba was exiled 800 years ago.
There are many places and opportunities on this island for people of all ages to heal their daily exhaustion, discuss their concerns, and interact with each other.
Recently, such places have become available not only to locals but also to tourists. Why don't you come and enjoy a relaxing day in Ama Town and take the time to re-evaluate yourself while sightseeing.
At Kura, you can treat yourself to some aroma or facial treatments, clay footbath, and lenormand cards reading sessions by making appointments.
The cafe is divided into two buildings, one is where you can do these activities, and the other is a whimsical cafe! There is no need for a reservation, just stop by at any time to enjoy herbal tea.
A “Rainy Day Blend” herbal tea is served exclusively on a rainy day, so make sure to visit if your Oki Islands travel plans are changed by bad weather.
In addition, workshops such as scented mist or lotion making, are also held here.
A fun experience that we recommend is a clay footbath. There are various types of clay available, each with different potential benefits. You can choose one based on your senses from the five types and experience the clay-filled footbath.
It might feel strange to choose one with your own intuition, but just relax and you will naturally choose the one with the effect you need now. Clay footbath is great for detoxing, helps relieving muscle and mental tension, and overall increases your health and well-being.
*The layout of the store was significantly renewed in August 2021. Have a rest with herbal tea at the fashionable counter.*
In August 2021, the layout of the store will be greatly renewed. Take a break with herbal tea at the stylish counter.
Address: 1367-1 Fukui, Ama Town
Closed: Irregular holidays
A leisurely experience in Nishinoshima!
Nishinoshima Community Library "Ikaaya"
When it comes to Nishinoshima, most tourists think of the skyscraper cliffs of Kuniga Coast where you can see the spectacular scenery created by nature.Having a leisurely look at the vast natural beauty of Nishinoshima is what most people visit here for, but the weather does not always cooperate with those plans.
On rainy days the fog will cast over the hilltops, making the atmosphere on the island a little more mysterious; and on hot summer days you might want to seek shelter from the sun and relax indoors. There are several places in Nishinoshima where you can do just that.It is a place where people from Nishinoshima gather to spend time, and where tourists can easily enter, too, so make sure to not miss it.
"Ikaaya" means "let's go" in Nishinoshima dialect.
Nishinoshima Town Community Library "Ikaaya" opened in July 2018, and boasts a chic and beautiful exterior and interior. According to the library director, none of the founding members had experience working at a library. The residents of the island were at the core of this project; continuous discussions about the kind of library they would want to go to were carried out, and the building was created according to that.
For that reason, there are many spaces in the library such as reading space, an engawa cafe and a terrace (engawa is a Japanese style sunroom) , as well as a small kitchen, which are not often found in ordinary libraries. The kitchen is basically operated with a paid reservation system, and since it is also available to the general public, you can buy ingredients on the island, and cook your meal here.
Events are held on a regular basis, and are a good opportunity for islanders and tourists to meet and interact, making "Ikaaya" an even more attractive place. Read a book, drink coffee, or even cook. Come here and have a leisurely experience on a rainy or hot day.
67-8 Urago, Nishinoshima Town, TEL: 08514-2-2422
Closed: Wednesdays About 8 minutes by car from Oki Kisen Beppu Port Ferry Terminal 1 minute walk from Hinode-machi bus stop
Norari Coffee, a comfy cafe in Chibu Village!
The only cafe in Chibu Village! Drop by to enjoy some coffee or tea.
It is also a perfect place for you to have a rest after visiting after visiting Mt. Akahage and Sekiheki (Red Cliff). Make sure to try the owner's home-baked cakes or custard puddings. For lunch, you can have the cafe's special recipe curry rice, prepared by the owner using different spices.
Info: 1300-4 Chibu-mura, Oki-gun, TEL: 080-6348-5448, Friday 11:30–16:30 (L.O. 16:00), Saturday Sunday 8:30–16:30 (L.O. 16:00)
≫ Official Instagram @noraricoffee
What did you think of these ideas on how you can spend a rainy or hot day on the 4 islands of Oki?
You might think that it’s hard to find what you can do indoors on the islands, but surprisingly there are a lot of available options to enjoy the island atmosphere.
I hope you can enjoy sightseeing in the Oki Islands no matter what the weather is, and make wonderful memories by referring to this article.
Text by Ryota Ikeuchi
Translation by Nicharee Plubsiri (Yaleen)
Photos by Ryota Ikeuchi and Nicharee Plubsiri (Yaleen)