KEYA NO OTO HIKE IN ITOSHIMA, KYUSHU
Keya no Oto is a beautiful coastal viewpoint of Itoshima, which has incredible views of the beach from the ominous ridgeline and a 64m cave below!
HOW TO GET TO KEYA NO OTO
Keya No Oto is located in the coastal region of Itoshima. We were based at the time in Fukuoka and caught the Kuko Line to Itoshima and then there is either a bus or you can take an Uber/taxi to the coast. The Uber cost us $30 just so you know that in advance.
Once you get anywhere near the coast you can follow the coastal trail to the pin on the map below. Once you are right near it there is a small trail that leads up the ridge. You can hike all the way up onto the top of the ridge as there is a bit of a trail, which includes some basic bouldering/rock climbing. It isn’t a trail I would recommend unless you are athletic and adept at bouldering and climbing. I’ll detail more of that below.
There is also a ferry that takes you to see the front side of Keya No Oto, which is actually a huge cave and a popular tourist activity. I’ll add the ferry times for that tour below also.
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING KEYA NO OTO
Without too many expectations, we caught the train from Fukuoka and then a $30 Uber from Itoshima to the coastline. We really just had the Keya No Oto pin location that we were headed for and figured we would discover some spots along the way.
We ended up getting dropped by the Uber about 1-kilometer away from Keya No Oto and headed off along the coast towards the Keya No Oto viewpoint. As falcons soared above us and some surprisingly big waves crashed to our left, we strolled along the beach to the trailhead. There was a beautiful spot called Keya campground we passed along the way. I imagine it bustling with weekenders during the summer but now in winter, it was sparse as we crossed paths with just a few others rugged up in jackets on a mini winter adventure.
The trailhead is marked by a number of signs but you really can’t go wrong. It’s an 800m trail that has only one possible route as you make your way up to the viewpoint. Through a thick forest, we made our way not knowing how far the trail would extend. We reached a small viewing platform made out of wood that was quite handy. It rose about 2-meters above the trees to give a great view down towards the beach. This is where most people were stopping but the trail did continue, albeit a little rugged.
We continued on to the next point of interest, which was the small shrine. From this point on the trail become a little dangerous and I’d advise you turn around if you are afraid of heights or have no experience rock climbing or bouldering. There are steep drop-offs and on top of the ridge, it could be a deadly drop with some dangerous exposure up there. One slip and you’re done so make that decision at the shrine.
The trail was now very overgrown, so much so that we had trouble finding the ‘trail’ at all. We opted on the rocky trail, which seemed more sturdy than the grassy and dirt that seemed to fall off at awkward moments. Once we committed to the adventure it wasn’t too difficult but was a little more than we had bargained for.
Atop the ridge, it was a very narrow path. A 50m+ drop on either side meant we had to focus on our steps until we reached a safer, wider spot on top of the ridge. We took a moment to relax up here, taking in the view of the beach and down to the volcanic cone at the other end of the coastline.
Below is the famous cave, which is a popular tourist spot. From the top of the ridge, you cannot see it but with a drone, everything is possible so we went for a bit of a sunset flight. The cave is one of Japan’s three largest Genbudo Caves. It is a national treasure and one of the most famous spots in Itoshima. The “Hexagonal Pillar Rock” inside the cave, a rock which has been designated as a national natural monument. The cave itself is 90m long and 64m high.
We made our way back along the ridge and safely down before catching the Uber back to Itoshima and then the train back to Fukuoka to complete our adventure. Our conclusion from the day was that Itoshima was a beautiful area worth another day or two of exploring for sure!
KEYA NO OTO FERRY TIMES
The ferry ride to the cave takes around 30 minutes and gives you a good look at the front cave, which is a national monument. You don’t need to book in advance apparently and can just get your ticket 10-15 minutes prior to departure.
9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Ferry departing times:
9:30 AM, 10:15 AM, 11:00 AM, 11:45 AM, 12:30 PM, 1:30 PM, 2:15 PM, 3:00 PM, 3:45 PM, 4:30 PM