Koshiki Islands consists of three small islands located in the East China Sea. Since a high speed ferry service between Kami-Koshiki Island and Sendai port started in 2014, the area has become more accessible, and for tourism especially as the islands have many nature spots to appreciate and leisure activities available. On my trip, Kenta Yamashita who runs a local tofu shop on the Kami-koshiki Island, kindly guided me on a tour around the place.
The first spot he took me to was the coast in Taira district. The rocks from Koshikijima are well known in Japan as they are often used for building stone walls. Along the coastal area the rocks are called ‘Hidontamagai’ by the locals as they have a fairly unique property. The name is made-up of the words ‘hidon’, which means ‘the sun’, and ‘tamagai’ which means ‘something that surprises you’. So the name roughly translates as ‘the rocks that are surprised by the sun’, being sedimentary rocks which can break easily due to dryness caused by the sunlight. Hidontamagai is also used to make pottery by locals. I’d say it would be a fun trip in itself to investigate all the geological features and minerals around the coast.
During the tour we arrived at a local shop called Hatake Foods and Kenta recommended the Yogruppe, it’s a yoghurt drink very common in the Kyushu area, ‘do you want to buy a bottle and try it’ he asked. So I bought one and tried it. Well, it actually tasted very nice. In fact, it’s of the same quality you can buy in most shops, though funnily enough I tend to think it’s the best I’ve bought anywhere! Afterward Kenta mentioned his idea to create a system as an opportunity for tourists to spend some cash in the town, perfectly timed for when the tour members start to become thirsty. I call it ‘magical Yogruppe’ he said.
Nearby, there used to be a Taira primary school in the district and though now closed the school building still remains. And in the school ground there is a button on a bronze statue which plays a song that is sung by the school children. This brought on quite a nostalgic feeling for me as I imagined a scene of all the kids running around at the time.
The next place on the tour was called Segami district. It’s a small community and a charming place, where interestingly public and private areas seem to be connected in subtle ways.
And there’s a communal water well out on a main street that would be hardly noticed without being mentioned, an example of traditional local lifestyle that still lives on here. It made me wonder if there are other similar places like this situated in such a rural island area?
As dusk approached I was taken to Nagame shore where the view was beautiful, and is recommended as a wonderful spot to watch the sunset over Koshiki Island go down. In the photos you can see some lakes, Kuwazaki-ike, Kai-ike, and Namako-ike. Kenta explained to me that each lake has a different quality of water and ecosystem.
Overall it was very satisfying trip. So I’d advise that rather than simply relying upon a guidebook, it may be worthwhile to just ask people on the island.
Yamashita Shoten – online shop
Koshiki Islands Guide – Shimanavi