Mishima Islands

The Mishima Islands (三島列島 Mishima-rettō) are a small archipelago in Japan, south of Kyushu and north of the Amami Islands.

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The Mishima Islands are the northernmost bit of the Satsunan Islands chain that extends from Kagoshima down via the Amami Islands and Okinawa as far as Taiwan. Lightly inhabited, with a total population of only around 500 people, they’re visited mostly by hot-spring fans coming down from the mainland. The name literally means “Three Islands”, and the three are:

  • Takeshima (竹島) or “Bamboo Island”, the closest to the mainland
  • Iōjima (硫黄島) or “Sulphur Island”, highly volcanic with several hot springs; same name but not the same place as the Iwo Jima of World War II fame
  • Kuroshima (黒島) or “Black Island”, better described as green and sometime dubbed Yakushima in miniature

The Mishima Islands are sometimes included in the nearby Tokara Islands chain.

Mishima (ship)

There is only one practical way to get to the islands: the Mishima (みしま) [dead link], tel. 099-222-3141, which sails between Kagoshima and the islands three times a week. The Kagoshima office and terminal are located near Kagoshima centre (Map: )

Travel time from Kagoshima is 3 to 6 hours depending on the island, and the ferry overnights at Kuroshima before heading back. As of December 2011, the 3 departures per week from Kagoshima are at 9:30 AM on Mon/Wed, and either Fri or Sat, with returns at 8 AM the following day respectively, but there are frequent scheduled changes and occasional weather-related cancellations. Contact the ticket office directly for an up-to-date schedule (Japanese only). Allow time in your schedule for an unplanned overstay on the islands due to the weather.

The ferry stops on both sides of Kuroshima, first at the village of Osato (大里) and then overnighting at Katadomari (片泊). Fares are fixed at ¥7000 (1st class) / ¥3500 (2nd) one-way for any trip between the mainland and the islands, or ¥2200 (1st class) / ¥1100 (2nd) for travel between any of the islands.

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