Tomogashima Island

Tomogashima Island, Wakayama: Address, Phone Number, Tomogashima Island Reviews: 4.5/5

Tomogashima Island
Historic Sites • Islands
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

128 reviews
Very good

Singapore287 contributions
Mar 2017 • Solo
This is the place worth visiting if you have a day to spare and wish to get away from the Dotonbori or Gion crowd. Most visitors are locals or independent travellers. Literature on the island are plenty on the net. Best to read up before going. A few practical tips –

1. Check the ferry schedule on the net. There is basically an off-season schedule and a normal season schedule. Decide which ferry you wish to take to get to the island and which ferry to take to return from the island.

2. If you are taking the Nankai train from Namba, take the limited express train (which makes only selected stops) and not the local train. It takes about 60 minutes on the limited express to reach Wakayamashi which is the terminal station. There, go to platform 3 to take the local Kada train to Kada station (10 to 15 minutes journey).

3. Give yourself at least 30 minutes between your arrival at Kada station and your ferry departure. The walk from the station to the ferry point is about 2 to 3 km.

4. If you arrive early, you can visit the Awashima-jinga (shrine) which is just 5 minutes from the ferry point. This is a shrine crammed full of interesting dolls and figurines. Entry is free.

5. You know you are near the ferry point when you see a prominent red-painted bridge. However do not cross the bridge as there is no path for pedestrians. Instead, follow the signs and reach the ferry point through the open car park from the south.

6. The ferry ticket cost 1,000 yen (single) or 2,000 yen (return). For return ticket, you need to tell the ticket seller if you intend to return the same day. You will be given a brochure along with the ticket. The brochure contains a useful map of the island.

7. As there are no food or drink stalls on the island, stock up on some snacks and drinks at the ferry point. There is a sundry shop manned by an elderly couple located just next to the ferry ticket office.

8. There are no dustbins on the island. Bring along some garbage or plastic bag to contain your own trash. Unfortunately, certain areas of the island (especially those near the sea) are badly littered with trash.

9. The ferry ride takes about 20 minutes. There is a covered seating area, an open seating area and an open standing area. Each trip takes about 50 passengers only.

10. Decide what you want to see on the island and how much time you want to spend. Decide on your return ferry time and plan accordingly.

11. Put on appropriate clothes and footwear. But this will depend on how much and how far you want to explore the island. Hiking or walking shoes will be useful for the trails. Some parts carry 10 to 15 degrees elevation.

12. Plan your route round the island. All attractions have been assigned numbers which are reflected on the map and on site. Basically, you can do clockwise (i.e. visit battery no. 4 first) or anti-clockwise (i.e. visit battery no. 2 first). There are prominent directional signs at all junctions.

13. Of the disused batteries, battery numbers 4 and 3 are similar in design, and you may just want to visit one of them.

14. The lighthouse is quite a disappointment although the view from the vicinity is spectacular.

15. The disused naval listening post is atmospheric and worth visiting.
Written March 15, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jenn G
Melbourne, Australia17 contributions
Dec 2014 • Solo
BEWARE! There is ONLY ONE ferry that leaves from Kada station to Tomogashima and that's at 10:30am on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays only. The ferry returns to Kada station at 3:30pm. I found this out the hard way, as I arrived at Kada station at 10:50 only to learn the last ferry for the day (let alone week!) had just left. I was devastated because I had a planned a whole trip to Kansai just to see it. So I missed seeing the island, however I was very surprised with the kindness and level of service from the Kada station master and the little makeshift "tourist information" umbrella nearby. When he saw how disappointed he was he found a bunch of brouchures about local attractions then approached me with the leaflets. He said in Japanese "You wanted to see the ruins at Tomogashima, right? There is a place nearby, it is not Tomogashima, but it has ruins. Here is a picture, see? They look the same! Please go there, you will enjoy". I brushed away my tears and he walked me down a hill to the bus stop nearby and explained very carefully what bus to catch to get to the ruined houses. When I was waiting he even returned with a hand full of coins to refund my return train ticket. So I went to this place, it was in a national park nearby and there were several small houses that were abandoned. The ruins probably aren't as cool as those on Tomogashima but they still looked pretty and there were many hiking trails in the area. There was also a huge hotel in the park that had onsens, restaurants etc. Despite the mix-up with ferry times I ended up having a great day thanks to the staff at the Kada station who made a huge effort to ensure I had fun in their town. Thank you!
Written January 24, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Keith S
Perth, Australia8 contributions
Apr 2016 • Couples
Tomogashima Island is a misnomer, there are actually 4 islands that are collectively referred to by that name. Access is by ferry from Kada port and the ferry only takes you to Okinoshima Island.
Getting to the ferry terminal is simple enough, we took the train from Wakayama station to Wakayamashi station, then switched to the Hankei line that takes you to Kada station. From there it is a 1.1 km walk to the ferry, just head west. The ferry terminal is small and hard to find. When you reach the port there is a large red traffic bridge, which you can walk across, however there is no room for pedestrians on either side, so cross with caution! There is another way to get to the other side, if you look left. In any case the ferry terminal is UNDER the bridge on the far side, access from the south through a carpark.
Ferry times are variable, on the day we went the service was hourly leaving at 1.00, 2.00 etc, last ferry across at 4.00 PM, last ferry off the island at 4.30 PM. I'm unsure as to the first ferry, probably at 9.00 AM. Be sure to check, at times there is only one ferry in the morning and one return ferry in the afternoon.
There is a small shop near the ferry terminal that sells coffee, noodles etc, we had the noodles for 250 Yen, very nice.
The island is long and thin, maybe 7km end to end and not more than 1 km wide. It is very steep and covered in dense vegetation, you have to follow the well-marked tracks to get around. Wear walking or hiking boots, the tracks are dirt/rock and can be steep and wet in places.
There is a good map (available at the ferry terminal), it is in Japanese, however the tracks are clearly shown and it is very useful for navigation. A word of caution, the tracks as shown on the map are not to scale, and the directions don't always match what is on the ground. However, there are numbered stations everywhere, shown on the map and its very easy to get around.
You can camp on the Island. We didn't but saw tents in various places.
The vegetation along the walks is lush, temperate rain forest with many ferns in the understorey, broken up with an occasional cherry tree. We saw Camelia flowers on the ground, a number of squirrels, several turtles sunning themselves on rocks in a small lake. There are birds, including lots of sea eagles and something large with a raucous call that we did not see.
The island has various ruins of previous military activity, including underground bunkers, tunnels and so on. You'll need a torch if you want to explore.
There are no shops on the Island, so be sure to take food and water if you intend to spend the day.
We saw lots of families with young children, be wary if you take children, there are steep stairs in various places and opportunities to fall.
We had a great day, the quiet natural surroundings were very soothing after days in the crowds at Kyoto and Osaka castle.
Written April 2, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kyoto, Japan150 contributions
Mar 2015 • Couples
We woke up very early and caught the 7am train towards Kada station. Then we had to nearly run to get to the ferry, which is not at all easy to find without a bit of directions from locals and a good map. Then when we finally arrived, there was a sign that said it was too windy so there would be no boats that day. There were about 10 other disappointed people there as well... It was a beautiful sunny day otherwise, but we definitely wasted it coming all the way out here for nothing. Since the island seems to be pretty popular, they should do a better job of getting people there, and also a better way to communicate when the ferry will not be running.
Written March 27, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tokyo, Japan445 contributions
Mar 2013 • Solo
Because if you walk to all the attractions, it can take a while to find them all. Maps are provided and there are road signs, but it is still confusing. I would love to go back to this island with a mountain bike, and spend the better part of a day there. Also the ferry timetable is every two hours, so I found myself rushing around. If you get lost on the island, you will miss the next ferry back. It is best to spend at least four hours on this island, but I was able to see some of the major sites. There is also some old structures not mentioned on the tourist ads, but it's quite fascinating to see the ruins of this old fortress. When I visited in March it was quite cold and windy, so dress appropriately. Also quite surprising for Japan, there is NO food on the island, no gift shop, nothing! So bring snacks. You can get quite hungry with all the hiking. Although there is a hostel type accomodation which was closed when I visited. I think it's only open during the summer.
Written July 31, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

菜穂 柴
77 contributions
Oct 2014 • Couples
This place used to be a fortressa stronghold. it takes around 20 minutes from Kada port by a small ship. (9pm, 10pm, 1am, 3am, 4am from Kada port, return tickets : 2,000 yen). Tomogashima 's port is placed middle of island. If you walk round the island, it takes 4~5 hours. if you don't have any time, I recommend you to go east side way. Third remains of a gun buttery is good place to walk around. I entered like a tunnel, down stairs and walked lots of total darkness place. It's so scary but It's so exciting!!
Unfortunately I saw a lot of rubbish. So I evaluated just 4 points.
Written November 17, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kelowna, Canada178 contributions
Aug 2013
This was a great day trip from Osaka. We took the "Southern" Nankai train from Namba Station to Wakayama City (be sure to reserve a seat for just 500 yen more and travel in comfort). We then took a little local train to Kada. In Kada we walked a bit until we found the ferry. The island is fascinating. Pick up a pamplet in the ferry terminal with a map. We did the 3.7 km hike and saw most of the historical sites on about 2 hours. We arrived at 11:30 and travelled back on the 1:30 ferry. The tunnels in the historic battery instalations were a bit scary and made you think about the soldiers that used to be there. The flashlight app on my phone came in very handy. Be sure to bring LOTS of drinks and there is no food on the island, so snacks aren't a bad idea. If you are a war history buff this trip is a must, but be warned, the hiking is pretty strenuous.
Written August 16, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Wim H
The Netherlands22 contributions
Apr 2015 • Couples
Take the ferry from Kada (the ferry located near the bridge) and enjoy the trip to the island. Most of the information on the island is in Japanese, but the island is easy to explore. You'll find old military buildings that are abandoned now, it can make for a really mystic experience... you have to come to this island if you like to do some Urban Exploration. There were not to many people on the island on our trip so at times you can be alone in the old buildings and if you are lucky you'll see some shugendo monks climbing the rockface on a remote part of the island.
Written May 29, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Prague, Czech Republic24 contributions
May 2014 • Friends
We just saw the island because the ferry service is not available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Take that into account if you want to go.
Written May 20, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia54 contributions
Dec 2019 • Solo
Has anyone heard of Ghibli studio Laputa, Castle in the sky? Well, this island was the background inspiration for that animation. It was an interesting island though one need to really go early else there will be a long waiting queue since there is only 1 ferry operator from the Kada port, Wakayama. Also, some instruction was not really clear and lack of English direction. For example, one of the bunker no 5, if not mistaken was closed but it was not on any notice. Imagined walking up the hill only to find out it was not accessible? (Tiring to do so). Nevertheless, for those who are interested, please visit the bunker no 3 which is the place that inspired Laputa, the movie.
Written December 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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