Himakajima and Shinojima are two small islands off the Chita Peninsula, south of Nagoya city.
Himaka Island is the closest to the mainland, seems the more prosperous and is perhaps prettier than its neighbor Shino Island.
Both islands are an easy and pleasant day trip from Nagoya and there are a number of ryokan and small hotels on both islands if you wish to stay longer and really experience the tranquillity and excellent seafood.
Though within 90 minutes of Nagoya city, both islands are a world away in terms of the pace of life and both are a haven for wildlife including birds and the occasional dolphin offshore.
The islands depend on fishing, mainly octopus and fugu (blowfish) for their livelihood with tourism as a secondary source of income. The islands attract amateur anglers and water-sports enthusiasts throughout the year. It is possible to experience a hands-on fishing trip with professionals and learn how to cast nets and catch octopus.
On Himakajima, bicycle hire for the day is available for 500 yen and visitors can cycle round the island or enjoy the 5km walk. There is an excellent sunset at the western port, where most of the island's development is located and an equally spectacular sunrise at the eastern port. The small town at the western port around Sunset Beach is built up into the cliffs and still has some attractively painted weatherboard houses.
There are Meitetsu ferry connections to Himakajima from Kowa (20 mins), Irago, Shinojima and Morozaki (10 mins).
From Nagoya Station or Kanayama Station take a Meitetsu train to Kowa (47 mins), then it is a 5 minute walk left out of the station to Kowa Port or jump on the free shuttle bus. From Toyohashi take a Meitetsu bus to Irago (90 mins) then a ferry to the island (30 mins).
Return fares on the ferry to Himakajima & Shinojima are presently 2,270 yen.
Tel: 0569 68 2388
Images taken on a FOMA SH7001 mobile phone