Looking for a tranquil place full of nature, with both mountains and beaches? You are also looking for unique sceneries and a place where you can step out of the mundane routines and start a new journey?
In the Goto Islands, you can spend your days in the traditional villages, try out fishing, immerse yourself in the islands’ spiritual and serene atmosphere and start a new thrilling adventure.
What are the Goto Islands?
The chain of islands also known as Goto Retto, Gotos or Goto are compounded from 5 Japanese islands (the name translated as five islands).
The Gotos are situated in the East China Sea and the main islands are Fukue, Naru, Hisaka, Nakadori, and Wakamatsu.
Between the five, the largest island and most known one is Fukue. Besides the Goto-Fukue Airport and the port of Fukue, the island has many important sites famous among the tourists along with many events happening yearly.
What to see in the Goto Islands Island?
I firstly recommend visiting Fukue-Jima (Fukue Island) as it is very famous for the castle ruins and the various sites with a lot of history behind.
Fukue Castle (or Ishida castle) was the last one built as Japan’s castles system and it was completed in 1863.
The garden designed by Morinari Goto is now planted at the ruins and the plants used are representative of Edo Period’s Japanese gardens.
You can explore the Goto Tourism and historical Materials Museum or the many temples, shrines, and churches around the area.
My recommendations are the Minjindo Chinese Shrine and the Myojoin Temple of Fukue. As for churches, Mizunoura Catholic Church and Dozaki Catholic Church Museum are a must-visit if you are in Fukue.
I also recommend the Nizou Yamamoto Museum if you are in the area.
For the Ghibli fans out there, you will be excited to find out that Nizou Yamamoto (1953) directed many of the Ghibli masterpieces such as Spirited Away, Whisper of the Heart, etc. Another reason Goto Islands are very popular is because of the samurai neighborhoods and Bukeyashiki-Dori (Samurai House Street).
Situated only 5 minutes' walk of Ishida castle, this street is full of small houses that belonged to the samurai and are still very close to their original state.
For those who enjoy nature or a more relaxing atmosphere, I recommend strolling around the Takahama Beach, discover Otosezaki Lighthouse’s surroundings or pass by the inactive volcano of Fukue, Onidake.
The next island of Gotos I fell in love with is Naru Island. I love the tranquility of this place; Naru island has a long history of fishery and was a sanctuary for the Christians that hid from the persecution of Tokugawa, so you will discover quite a few churches and get to feel the spirituality surrounding it.
This island is the perfect place to rest and enjoy the nature’s beauty to its fullest.
Same as Naru Island, Hisaka is a good place to explore and give off a peaceful feeling. I recommend visiting the Old Gorin Church and walking around the island to discover its charm.
Nakadori and Wakamatsu islands
Nakadori Islands is the second largest from the chain of islands and is connected to Wakamatsu through a bridge.
Nakadori has a considerable number of churches, beautiful beaches, and even a whale observatory, while in Wakamatsu you can see various stone monuments or look at the stunning scenery from the Ryukanzan Observation Point.
If you are tired of the routine or simply feel like exploring a new place or relax surrounded by nature, the Goto Islands of Japan are unmistakably the perfect place to do so.
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