Looking for an interesting place to spend the day with walks, picnics, history, or relaxation? The island of Tomogashima will not let you down.
Having been taken there by invitation and not discovery, I was surprised I had not heard about it before. Truthfully, the ferry ride was what initially got my attention, but Tomogashima is an interesting place whether you`re a fan of history or not.
Apparently, the island was inhabited and used for diverse purposes ranging from Buddhist rituals to World War Fortress. It seems to have a small number of inhabitants still, but for the most part the island was devoid of people other than tourists like me. What remains in all that space are a variety of scenic views, interesting wildlife, nice beaches, war fortresses, and a light house.
It's about a twenty minute ferry ride from Kada in Wakayama City. It will cost you 2,000 yen for a round trip. The ride was fun and windy, but that is not the only choice you have. They give you the option of an indoor (seated) experience in the front, or an outdoor (standing, very windy, and wet) experience in the back. Nevertheless, bring, at least, a light sweater to keep the cold away during the ride there.
When you arrive, you will be greeted by a grassy area with several signs giving you optional directions and sightseeing locations. Restrooms and drinks are in the immediate buildings to the right. I suggest you use the restroom, as they are not always available. Also, bring a water bottle or buy something to drink from the vending machines prior to your walk. A large part of your trek will involve tackling some inclined terrain ranging from easy to moderate for some. On a hot day, it will be easy to become dehydrated. Oh yeah, and for those who are a bit afraid of the dark, bring a flashlight for the underground fortress. You will thank me later.
Okay, for the good stuff. The course you take is up to you, but I recommend going for the light house first. On the way, you will see some old fortress ruins, but the hike is marked by a number of stunning views. The path itself is littered with remnants of the past in the form of dilapidated buildings and objects. One of my personal favorites was the Coca-Cola machine with spider webs across from a marshland with a pond filled with turtles.
If you are interested in flora, or simply like a mixture of different plants to look at, you will be pleased. Having said that, my visit took place in mid May, so your experience may differ. As for fauna: snakes, spiders, mosquitoes, and bats abound. In the tide pools, Jelly fish, crabs, fish, and other sea creatures are easily visible.
Coming into the first set of ruins, it`s difficult not to stop to observe. One has to wonder what took place there and what sort of life people led. The view doesn't hurt either. The red brick buildings , the greenery, and the beautiful ocean blue create a nice contrast in colors that will give you some beautiful photos.
The lighthouse and surrounding areas allow for a nice break or picnic for those looking to get a great ocean scenic view. The immediate fortress next to the lighthouse makes for good photographs. As you work your way around the island, you will run into some underground fortresses, mangroves, and beaches with tide pools. The more time was spent there, the more it seemed like a great place to camp.
It is best to arrive as early as possible to appreciate all that is there. It is an island, so be prepared to bring nourishment in the form of easy snacks. Good grip shoes would be best as there are inclines and many stairs to manage. Mostly, take your time to appreciate the scenery. If you are not into history, it doesn't matter. It`s a great place to relax and pass the day to get away for a bit.