Sotohama Beach

A swimming beach with iron sand and rocky cliffs

By Rory Jackson    - 3 min read

A popular swimming place in the summer and a peaceful spot the rest of the year, this beach has dark grey sand, a clue to the islands' volcanic past. There's a rest and clothes changing building and toilets along the back of the beach and a few spots for parking, though a lot of the locals walk here from the local village area of Mita.

The view over the water is beautiful, with rough cliffs nearby and off in the distance. It's a sheltered bay and consequently the water is usually quite calm. Despite this it still feels like the middle of the ocean and that sense of isolation is something that is hard to shake on the secluded islands of Oki. On rough days the surf can be quite a spectacle, crashing up against the light house and the small buildings near the water.

The coastal hills are incredibly green and reflect off the calm sea, resulting in deep aquamarine waters that look ripe for swimming. The sand varies between white and dark grey, and holds significant amounts of iron. Local school kids have used it for science experiments, testing magnetism and sediment composition.

In the summer break this beach is very popular with the school children from the nearby elementary school. The town blocks off the boats and sets up water slides to keep the kids occupied with long days playing in the surf. The rest of the year it's usually quiet, with only the odd local enjoying the sand. It's a great place to relax and take in the seaside nature of Nishinoshima amongst luxurious scenery. Further south down the road into Komukai you will find Club Noah Oki, the place to go for your water sports needs.

The Funabiki Canal runs along the west side of the beach, disconnecting Nishinoshima into two pieces (although it's still considered one island). Used by the fishing boats to quickly get from one side of the island to the other, the canal is also a good spot to fish and you'll find local school boys hanging out here with spears and rods. The spear fishing is particularly good because the water is so clear and it's easy to spot the fish lazily floating along.

To get to the beach you should head inland from Beppu to Funakoshi in the Mita village (10 min drive) and find your way to the north side. If you get lost you're a talented individual since it's not hard to find. If you're taking the bus get off at Funakoshi and walk up the road to the nearest bridge over Funabiki Canal and turn right to get down onto the sand. This is the only swimming beach on Nishinoshima, so make sure to check it out if you're keen for a dip in the surf.

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Rory Jackson

Rory Jackson @rory.jackson

I'm a journalism and philosophy student from Brisbane, Australia. I like travel photography and getting into the wilder areas to find what nature has to offer. As long as I have my camera in hand and some cash I'm ready to travel.

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Kim B a year ago
Such a picturesque spot - those views are amazing!
JapanTravel Guest
JapanTravel Guest 3 years ago
Beautiful pics, and beautiful place!