Nakadori Island (中通島, Nakadōri-jima) is the second largest and second most populated of the Goto Islands after Fukue Island. Like Fukue, Nakadori Island is known for its many churches, of which it has an even greater number (about 50). Apart from churches, the island boasts charming views of beautiful nature spots and villages dotted around its rugged coastline.

The entire island falls under the municipality of Shinkamigoto Town, and despite having a few developed areas including Arikawa in the north and Narao in the south, the island feels more remote than Fukue Island. Wakamatsu Island (若松島, Wakamatsu-jima) lies to the southwest of Nakadori, with the two connected by the Wakamatsu Bridge. Even less developed than Nakadori Island, Wakamatsu is the gateway to a chain of smaller islands that become increasingly isolated.

Some of the top attractions of Nakadori and Wakamatsu islands are listed below:

Nakadori Island

Kashiragashima Church

Hours: 9:00 to 18:00
Closed: No closing days (no entry during mass)
Admission: Free
Typical visit duration: 10 minutes
Nagasaki Prefecture's only stone church, Kashiragashima Church was built following the lift of the ban on Christianity implemented during the Edo Period. Prior to that, hidden Christians had settled in the area to practice their faith and avoid persecution. The church received World Heritage status in summer 2018. Visitors are asked to give prior notice before visiting through this website.

Nakanoura Church

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: No closing days (no entry during mass)
Admission: Free
Typical visit duration: 10 minutes
A picturesque wooden church located by a small inlet, Nakanoura was built in 1925 and has camellia flowers, celebrated flowers in the Goto Islands, painted on the inside walls. There stands a pleasant Lourdes grotto just outside the church building.

Oso Church

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: No closing days (no entry during mass)
Admission: Free
Typical visit duration: 10 minutes
Built in 1916, this brick church stands on a small hill by an inlet, making for great views of its octagon-shaped bell tower.

Tainoura Church

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: No closing days (no entry during mass)
Admission: Free
Typical visit duration: 10 minutes
The old church's bell tower was built using atomic-bombed bricks from Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki. Today, a newer building stands at the side of the old church, where present-day services are held.

Hamagurihama Beach

Hours: Always open
Closed: No closing days
Admission: Free
Among Nakadori Island's most popular beaches, this white-sand beach offers changing facilities, toilets and accommodation options within a short walking distance.

Takaitabi Beach

Hours: Always open
Closed: No closing days
Admission: Free
Another of Nakadori Island's nice beaches, Takaitabi is located close to the port of Narao. It offers changing facilities and toilets.

Whale Museum

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: Mondays, New Year holidays
Admission: 200 yen
Typical visit duration: 30 minutes
Whaling has been conducted in the Goto Islands since pre-modern times. The Arikawa ferry terminal building houses a whale museum that charts whaling methods through history with various artifacts on display as well as video presentations and interactive exhibits. Outside the ferry terminal stands Kaido Shrine on a small, forested hill. The shrine has been used to pray for the safety of whalers and instead of a conventional torii gate features a gate made out of what looks like the jaw bones of a whale.

Wakamatsu Island

Ryukanzan Observation Point

Hours: Always open
Closed: No closing days
Admission: Free
This hill-top observation area on Wakamatsu Island affords visitors good views of the Wakamatsu Bridge connecting Nakadori Island and Wakamatsu Island, and the beautiful surroundings. Visitors can drive to a car park from where the observation point is a gentle 5-10 minute hike.

Stone Monuments

Hours: Always open
Closed: No closing days
Admission: Free
This group of a few dozen stone monuments on Hino Island, a tiny island off Wakamatsu, constitutes an ancient cemetery with graves that date as far back as medieval times. As interesting as the stones themselves may be, the journey to the remote location is equally impressive, leading through multiple, isolated fishing towns with beautiful landscapes.

Access

How to get to Nakadori Island

Nakadori Island has an airport but it is currently not served by any scheduled flights. This being so, Nakadori Island is most easily accessed by ferry. The island's main ports are Narao in the south and Arikawa and Tainoura in the center of the island.

By ferry from Nagasaki

High-speed boats operate multiple times per day between Nagasaki and Narao, Tainoura and Arikawa ports, while car ferries are available on the Nagasaki-Narao route. By high speed boat, the one way journey takes around 90 minutes and costs about 4500 to 5500 yen, while by car ferry it takes around 2.5 hours and costs about 2500 yen. The cost to transport a car is around 30,000 yen one way.

By ferry from Sasebo

High-speed boats and car ferries operate multiple times per day between Sasebo and Arikawa Port. By high speed boat, the one way journey takes around 90 minutes and costs about 5000 yen, while by car ferry it takes around 2.5 hours and costs about 3000 yen. The cost to transport a car is around 25,000 yen one way.

From other islands

A dense ferry network connects Nakadori Island to the other islands in the Goto Island chain. The most important route connects Narao Port on Nakadori Island with Fukue Island and is served by high-speed boats and car ferries multiple times per day. By high-speed boat, the one way journey takes 30 minutes and costs 2100 yen, while by car ferry it takes 60-90 minutes and costs 750 yen. The cost to transport a car between the two islands is around 6000-8000 yen.

How to get around Nakadori and Wakamatsu Island

Nakadorijima is covered by a bus network; however, even on the island's main routes, buses are infrequent, making them an unfeasible option for tourists. Instead, a much more convenient way to get around the island is by rental car. A few car rental outlets are located near the island's main ports.

How to get to and around the Goto Islands