To get to Nosaki island, you will need to take a small ferry from Ojika port at 7:20 am. You will pay a fee of 500 yen per person once you are on the boat. The ride is about 20 minutes long and from the boat you will already get a nice view on Nosaki and get a first glimpse of the big stone tori of the Oki no kojimajinja shrine.
When you arrive on Nosaki island, you will join a quick introduction in the "visitercenter", where they tell you not to feed the deers an to "beware of the wild boars and snakes". After that you are free to explore the island on your own.
First, we went to the now abandoned houses of kyu-nozakishuraku, the former village on Nosaki.
There you can visit the house of the last monk on Nozaki, the only building that is still fully standing.
We followed a group of tourists to the kitasakitenbojo, a great viewing spot. The surrounding is quite bizarre; it reminds of some sort of red savanna. You can really see that the island has a volcanic origin.
Next we started our hike to the kojimajinja shrine even though the guy at the visitercenter did not recommend to go, since they do not take care of the path leading there anymore. Against our expectations, the hike was doable and it took us 1 and 1/2 hours to get to the shrine. The path is leading you through the woods, where you will see many shy deers and passes by the top of the hiratake mountain, where you can peek through the top of the trees to see Ojika island from above.
When we arrived at the shrine, we were surprised to find a group of japanese locals, that told us they were in charge of documenting the age of the different parts of the shrine to make it easier to take care of and restore them. You can clearly see that the place has not been taken care of well in the last few years, but it is still an impressive view. We then climbed up some rocks and sat down on a huge one just below the stone tori to have the delicious sandwiches that Ume-san, the cook of the island Inn, had prepared for us. We had the best view over Ojika island!
After our little break, we walked up to fully see the stone tori. Apparently it is not clear if the tori was build by the islanders or if it was formed naturally. Either way, it is really impressive.
To go back to the port it only took us one hour, since the path is going down most of the time if you come this way.
Now it was finally time to see that mystical church. After a 20 minutes walk, the red stone building appeared behind former terrace rice fields. We were lucky, because right at that moment, the sun decided to peak through the clouds that had been bothering us the entire day.
We sat inside the church, enjoying the silence and letting our minds take us away to the time, where the church was still used.
Stepping outside the church felt like awakening from a dream.
Since we only had about an hour of time left at that point, we decided to visit the beach right beneath the hill on which the church was build. We wandered down the huge sand dunes towards the bright, sandy bay. We passed the time listening to the sound of the waves and eating some snacks.
Then it was time to go back to the port, from which the ferry leaves to Ojika at 3pm.
We still had a bit of time left, so we went to visit the former graveyard of Nozaki on the tip of a cliff.
On the way back by ferry (500 yen fee) we were able to see the white cross on the southern end of the island.
We arrived back on Ojika at around 3:30pm.
What a memorizing trip!