Tomogashima – 友ヶ島

Tomogashima is the name of an island group in Wakayama prefecture that consists of the islands Okinoshima and Jinoshima. However this article serves only as a guide to the island Okinoshima….

Okinoshima has become a popular tourist destination recently because parts of the island resemble the environment of Ghibli’s movie Laputa.

The island is accessible by Ferry, only 20 minutes away from the port town Kada.

Preparation

failing to prepare is preparing to fail – John Wooden

First thing to do before you go to Tomogashima is to give them a call and see if you will need to make a reservation for tickets. If you plan to go there during Japanese holidays there is a good chance you can not ride the ferry without a reservation.

What to bring:

Mosquito repellent! (I can’t advice this enough. In hindsight I was so extremely glad I prepared this. If you are allergic to mosquitos like me it will be a lifesaver.)
Sunblock (If you are a pcgeek like me and your skin barely sees daylight, i’d strongly advice bringing sunblock. The sun in Japan is extremely strong. Even when its a little cloudy, you can get a sunburn)
Smartphone and charger. (Make sure you bring a working and fully charged smartphone. You probably wont need it but better safe than sorry. Especially if you have a long trainride to go to Kada and you are using your smartphone.)
Petbottle and some small food (You can buy this at the port too but the selection is minimal) I only brought a bottle of water and a slice of poundcake from the family mart.
A watch. (You probably don’t need this as you have your smartphone but again, better to have some backup to keep an eye on the time for when the ferry comes and leaves.)
Good walking shoes. (You will be hiking on rough and dirty terrain here and there. Bring shoes with a thick sole and are comfortable to walk)
Flashlight! (I unfortunately forgot this. Some parts of the island you can go inside tunnels, bring a flashlight so you can find your way around. Make sure the batteries are charged. Don’t want to enter a pitch-black maze and run out of batteries halfway trough)
Long-sleeve shirt (The hallways inside some of the ruins can be a bit chilly, so bring a long sleeve shirt to keep warm just in case.)

last but not least.
Bring your CAMERA!! (unless you rather use your smartphone). There are some gorgeous areas on the island that you probably want to shoot.

The trip to Tomogashima

You can get to Kada by either train or car. I have only taken the train but I’m almost certain that by car is faster and easier. Depending on the season that is. Going to Wakayama by car in the summer is going to be difficult and you can certainly expect a traffic jam as everyone will probably be heading to Shirahama beach.

By train
The following is for people who come from Osaka.
1. From JR Osaka station, take the JR Line, platform 1 to Wakayama Station. (¥1,240 one way)

2. At Wakayama Station, transfer to the Kisei line heading to Wakayama-Shi station. (only 2 stops ¥190)

3. At Wakayamashi Station, Switch to the Nankai line to Kada. Kada is the final stop, so you can’t miss it.(¥330)

One of the trains on the Nankai line is easily recognizable as its completely PINK! And has a fishy interior.

Once you arrive at Kada, you will find yourself at a cute tiny Japanese station.

**Make sure to bring a map of Kada from the station.** I forgot and ended up taking a small detour which took some extra time and I ended up missing my boat.

Once you have arrived at the harbor, there will be a red bridge.

Cross the red bridge and then head down under the bridge where you will find the ticketbooth and ferry for Tomogashima.

Ferry Timetable

I’ve taken the liberty to translate the timetable a little but for exact times please visit the official ferry website.

Now get over to that island and start your real adventure.

As you can see from the map below there are a few different routes you can take on the island. To see the “basic” spots (mostly left and center (until the big yellow part) of the map) will take about an hour and a half if you are quick. So the earlier you go to the island the more time you have to check around which is recommendable. Every spot is different and unique. I only visited the island for 2 hours and really regret not being able to stay longer and see more of the islands coast.

There is a path that goes all the way to the north-east of the island. That path will take about 3 to 4 hours I assume, depending on how easy it is to walk there. Please remember that most paths are not concrete but dirt-roads and are more difficult to walk.

To be honest, it will be quite difficult to see the entire island in one day I guess, well….unless…unless you run or go by bike.

Which btw is also possible I think. When I took the ferry back to Kado there was a guy with his own mountainbike on the ferry, but I think you will need to ask special permission and see if extra costs are involved.

I would love to tell more about my trip and the island but I will leave the discovering of the island up to you. I have only one warning/rule.

Bring your garbage back with you, DON’T throw it on the ground. Pick it up and let’s keep this island clean so more people after us can enjoy it.

If you find any wrong info on this page, please let me know and I will do my best to update it.

Have fun!

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