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
KYUSHU TRAVEL TIPS
WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?
Here’s a checklist for you to start:
- Fukuoka: If you want to be in a vibrant city scene and a central base, you may want to stay in Fukuoka.
- Kumamoto (my pick): If you’re looking to get away from the bustling city life and be centrally positioned for all hotspot tourist locations then visit and stay in Kumamoto.
- Beppu: If you want to check out a lot of hot springs, mud baths, and sand baths, Beppu in Oita prefecture is the best place for you.
- Kagoshima: If you are eager to go hiking in Kirishima and see Mt. Sakurajima, head to Kagoshima prefecture.
- Yakushima (Separate Island): If you want to hike through the stunning Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley, see ancient cedar trees, and waterfalls, Yakushima is the best place for you.
For a full article about how to split up your time between the popular regions in Kyushu, check out my guide about how to plan your Kyushu Itinerary: THE ULTIMATE KYUSHU ITINERARY: 5-DAY, 7-DAY & 10-DAY
WHERE TO STAY IN KYUSHU
Best Luxury Place to Stay in Fukuoka: Hotel WBF Grande Hakata (Value): This is by far the most popular hotel and one of the most luxurious in Fukuoka. There are a large public bath and an open-air bath on the top level of the hotel where guests can relax and enjoy the views.
Best Value/Budget Place to Stay in Fukuoka: WeBase Hakata Hostel (Budget): This stylish hostel offers a wide range of dorm-type rooms with shared bathrooms, sockets, and safes for your belongings. They also have a kitchen, a terrace, and is within walking distance to convenience stores, a subway station, ramen shops, and sightseeing spots.
Best Value Place to Stay in Kumamoto: Hotel The Gate Kumamoto (Value): Hotel The Gate is a well-situated accommodation in the heart of Kumamoto, just across the train station and walking distance to shops and restaurants.
Best Budget Luxury Place to Stay in Kumamoto: Kumamoto Hotel Castle (Luxury): Set near the infamous Kumamoto Castle, this luxury hotel features a wide range of carpeted rooms from standard rooms to suites fitted with plush amenities.
For a full list of the top-rated places to stay in Kyushu, you can check out my comprehensive guide: WHERE TO STAY IN KYUSHU: BEST REGIONS & HOTELS
HOW TO GET AROUND KYUSHU FOR ADVENTURERS
While the train may suit those in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and even in Fukuoka, it won’t cut it out here on Kyushu. The trains will get you from major towns and even into some regional areas with bus connection but almost all of the adventure sports I visited had no bus connection. When I searched on Google Maps and clicked the public transport option it would just say ‘not available’. It was very clear, very quickly that Kyushu island is best to explore by car, especially if you are doing hikes and activities outside of the city (literally everything on this list).
Renting a car wasn’t too expensive and I did it through RentalCars.com, finding them to be the best-reviewed and had the cheapest options. I flew in from Tokyo so picked the car up from Fukuoka Airport and dropped it back when I was done. If you click on RentalCars.com and then search to pick up at Fukuoka Airport you should find a range of options. I got a very small car as it was cheap but it turned out very handy as the narrow roads of Japanse suburbs where my Airbnb was made it impossible for big SUVs. There was also no time that I needed to be off-road or anything like that so a small, fuel-efficient car made it cheap and convenient.
*** It is extremely important to know that you MUST HAVE an international driver’s license to rent a car in Japan. In fact, they won’t even look at your actual driver’s license and only want to see the international driver’s license. Take that seriously as they genuinely will not give you the car and likely no refund if you don’t have that. To get one you need to be in your country of residence and you can get one on the spot or order online and receive in a week or so. Make sure you organize that in advance as I almost got caught out not knowing that.
Here is my little blue whip that I rented on RentalCars.com
ARE YOU FOLLOWING MY KYUSHU BLOG SERIES?
I spent over three weeks exploring Kyushu and visited some incredible waterfalls, hiked some amazing trails, and visited a number of epic volcanoes. I created a number of guides to help travelers find the best spots in Kyushu. You can explore the articles by clicking on the links below.
The Ultimate Kyushu Bucketlist: 30 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN KYUSHU
A guide to the best places to stay in Kyushu in each region: WHERE TO STAY IN KYUSHU: BEST REGIONS & HOTELS
How to plan your Kyushu vacation: THE ULTIMATE KYUSHU ITINERARY: 5-DAY, 7-DAY & 10-DAY
Interested in chasing waterfalls?: 12 AWESOME WATERFALLS IN KYUSHU
Keen for some epic hiking?: 11 AWESOME HIKES IN KYUSHU
Everything you need to know about Oita: 11 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN OITA
Your Ultimate Guide to Kumamoto: 13 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN KUMAMOTO
My favorite waterfall in Kyushu: TAKACHIHO GORGE – MOST BEAUTIFUL WATERFALL IN JAPAN