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Islands

Fukuoka-ken has a wealth of pretty islands located off its coast. Ferry services can be a little infrequent, but are easy to use. The beach season in Japan is actually quite short, only lasting from the end of the rainy season in July to Obon in August, when the jellyfish hit the beaches. A brave few have been known to swim even after Obon, but be careful–you might get stung.  

Ainoshima is a fishing island in Fukuoka with one tiny store near the ferry landing. Try cycling along the Genkai cycling trail. Access via a 17-minute ferry ride from Shingumachi.

Aishima and Umashima are two islands just off the coast of Kokura that are popular for fishing. Aishima is the larger of the two. It is populated by more than 100 families and is currently being used as a storage depot for oil tankers. There are three or four hostels, some eating places, and a small store. The ferry terminal is in Kokura near the International Center and the same ferry goes to both islands. 

Nokonoshima has a nice botanical garden with a craft village where you can watch potters transform clay and blacksmiths hammer out knives. Bicycle rentals are also available. Take the ferry from Meinohama, Fukuoka-shi to get there.

Oshima is the largest island in Fukuoka prefecture. There are many hostels and inns (minshuku ryokan). Fishing rod and bicycle rentals are available. Take the ferry from Meinohama, Fukuoka-shi.

Shikanoshima was a separate island from Kyushu long ago, but a sand bar (now called Uminonakamichi) has built up over the years. Shikanoshima has a nice beach with great views of Hakata bay. Uminonakamichi Seaside Park has lots of space, bicycle rentals, an amusement park, and Marine World. It is best to take the ferry there from either Bayside Place or Marizon in Momochi, Fukuoka-shi. It is also served by the JR Kashii line.

Iki,  is an island belonging to Nagasaki Prefecture. Despite not technically being part of Fukuoka, it is easily accessible from Hakata by ferry. It is said to have the most beautiful beaches north of Okinawa. Check the ferry times before you travel as there are only four ferries a day. Iki’s delicacy is sea urchin and locally brewed shochu. In the 14th and 15th centuries, Iki was an important base for Wakou – Japanese pirates who raided the coasts of China and Korea.