Scattered between Yakushima, south of the large island of Kyushu, and Okinawa-honto (Okinawa Main Island), at the far southwest of Japan, the archipelago of Amami is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east and the East China Sea to the west.
The main islands - Amami-Ōshima, Kikai, Tokunoshima, Okinoerabu and Yoron - have countless splendid and little-visited beaches, broadleaf evergreen forests and subtropical mangroves, sugar cane plantations and coralline limestone caves. Having been much less exposed to tourism than Okinawa-honto, they remain beautifully preserved. The humid subtropical climate dispenses hot summers and mild winters, with an average temperature of 23°C (typhoons June to October).
Michelin's recommendations for Amami Archipelago
Four good reasons to pay a visit to the Amami Islands
Idyllically poised between earth and sky, the Amami Islands are only a 3hr-flight from Tokyo and 1hr from Kagoshima. Despite being little more than a stone’s throw from the very touristy island of Okinawa-honto, they remain as yet off the beaten tourist track. Here are four good reasons to visit these tiny pristine pearls of paradise.
Amami islands: an outstanding geology
The northern Ryukyu Arc is the geological extension of the Outer belt of southwestern Japan. Of volcanic origin, the Amami Islands possess a granite subsoil and are lined in coral reefs. Some are also entirely covered in ancient corallian limestone reefs.
The outstanding kimonos of the Oshima Tsumugi workshop
The Oshima Tsumugi workshop in the north of Amami Oshima Island upholds ancestral know-how devoted to the manufacture of exquisite silk kimonos. Set in an idyllic landscape at the foot of a mountain, the craftsmen and women continue to use natural ingredients to dye the fabric, together with traditional weaving techniques.