Ogami Island is very small and you can walk around the island in 2 hours. There are not many places to see in the island, and therefore most of the tourists visiting this island for sightseeing only stay for a couple of hours.
The last ferry from Ogami Port departs at 4:20 in the afternoon during the winter months, so be careful not to miss it. If you miss the last ferry, you will be taken care of by the staff of “Opuyu Shokudo,” the only hotel in the island (if they have rooms available).
I visit Ogami Island almost every year as I was fascinated by the nature and mystery of the island. Let me show you some places to visit in Ogami Island.
Tomidai Observatory is located in the center of Ogami Island. A sloping road between Opuyu Shokudo and the site where Ogami Elementary and Junior High School once located leads to Tomidai Observatory. There is a small village on the way to the observatory.
Currently there are no children in Ogami Island, so they don’t need a school in the island anymore. I heard from a guide that the youngest resident in Ogami Island is in 50s. The current population of Ogami Island is only about 25, compared to 50 cats (and a dog) living in the island. You rarely see a person (except tourists if you visit the island during holiday seasons) while walking on the road.
There is a house in the village, which is a very important place for people in Ogami Island. It is said that when pirates attacked the island around 300 years ago, only two people hidden in the house survived, and these two people are the ancestors of people in Ogami Island.
After walking through the village, you will find a small path surrounded by trees and fields that lead to Tomidai Observatory.
Tomidai Observatory is prohibited to enter during the period of saishi (religious service). Saishi is held several times a year, and I don’t know exactly when saishi is held, but it was not conducted whenever I visited Ogami Island during the period between middle November and early December. Although saishi is very important for people in Ogami Island, which is called “the island of Gods,” there is only one obaa (old woman) who can hold saishi is left in the island.
At the end of the small path, there is a wooden staircase leading to the top of the observatory.
The altitude of Tomidai Observatory is 74.5m, and the view from the top of the observatory is stunning. Not only you can see the whole of Ogami Island, but also you can see Miyako Island and Ikema Island in the distance, as well as beautiful coral reefs surrounding these islands. There is a rock near the top of the observatory, but be careful not to climb it as it is believed that God dwells in the rock.
Eastern Peripheral Road
Go back to the village from Tomidai Observatory, turn left at the village and walk through a narrow path surrounded by fields, go down the stairs and you will get to a big square along the eastern peripheral road. There is a toilet and a sitting area where you can escape from the sun in the square, so you can take a rest if you get tired while walking around the island. You can also go to the eastern peripheral road from Ogami Port.
The road doesn’t circle the whole island due to some reasons, and it was dead-ended in the middle of the east side of the island.
In the sea along the eastern peripheral road, big rocks are lined up in a semicircle, and you can see two rocks creating the shape of a whale. The tide is low in the morning, so you can go down the stairs along the road in the morning and see the rocks called “notches” closely.
In Ogami Island, it is said that the 17th-century pirate Captain Kidd buried his treasures in the past. It was mentioned in newspapers including The London Times and The New York Times, as well as Japanese newspapers in 1960s.
During the low tide in the morning, there are many places which you can’t see or visit in the afternoon appear from the sea, so you may be able to come across the hidden treasures if you walk around the whole island in the morning. However, be careful that there are many sacred areas in Ogami Island where you are not allowed to enter without good reason. Especially, you are not allowed to enter some Utakis (sacred places) in Ogami Island.
There is an Utaki on the eastern peripheral road where God pays a visit from the sea. A part of a breakwater placed across from the Utaki has been cut off. I heard from a guide that the breakwater got in the way of God coming to the Utaki from the sea, therefore it was cut off based on an advice from an obaa (old woman) in the island.
Ogami Island Contents
- Access to Ogami Island (Ogamijima)
- Dining and accommodation in Ogami Island
- Places to see in Ogami Island
- Places to see in Ogami Island vol.2