Jogashima Island near Yokosuka popular with couples

Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi
Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi

Jogashima Island near Yokosuka popular with couples

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

The weather is great and the landscape in Japan is changing colors, so fall is one of the best seasons to spend time outdoors.  My wife and I recently visited Jogashima Island, known as “Lover’s Island,” to enjoy the autumn breeze and plentiful sunshine.

 

The largest island in Kanagawa Prefecture

Jogashima Island makes for a great daytrip as it is home to a beautiful park and two photogenic lighthouses. This tiny island is off the coast at the top part of Miura Peninsula and, at four kilometers in circumference, is also the largest island in Kanagawa Prefecture.

To get there from Yokosuka Naval Base, it is a short 40-minute drive on the toll-free Jogashima Ohashi Bridge. There are six parking lots available on the island and you can move among the parking lots without additional fee within a day after paying an initial 450-yen fee.

After we parked near the bridge, we walked towards Jogashima Park along a path dotted with pine trees at a tilt due to the strong winds blowing off the gulf. In the winter, this wooded area attracts many visitors for narcissus blossom viewing from mid-January through mid-February.

Beyond the path is the grassy picnic square and, in the distance, we could see the radish-shaped Awasaki Lighthouse. Families were enjoying their picnics while children were running around and enjoying the spacious field.

On an observation tower near the lighthouse, we enjoyed the breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of the park, black cliffs, shining blue sea and views of Mt. Fuji and the mountains of Hakone.

Lighthouses in love

The Awasaki Lighthouse on the east end of the island along with the Jogashima Lighthouse on the west end are referred to as the “lighthouses in love.” Many couples visit this spot because it’s lucky for love.

During our visit, we saw many couples – young and old – hand in hand hiking between the two lighthouses raising their loves. The hike between the two lover lighthouses is an easy, unpaved but relatively flat path for a nice walk.

The Awasaki Lighthouse is 16-meters high and was constructed in 2020 with a motif of Miura Radish (famous local brand of agricultural product). The unique shape and the white and green gradations reminded us of radish and made a great contrast against green-grass field in the park.

Jogashima Lighthouse was constructed in 1870 making it the fifth oldest lighthouse in Japan. Standing at 12-meters high, it was designed and built by French engineer Francois Verny who built the Yokosuka Naval facility (currently U.S. Naval Base). The current lighthouse is a reconstruction of the first which was destroyed during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. 

From the Awasaki Lighthouse, my wife and I made our way to the Jogashima Lighthouse. Along the way, we came across a couple in their wedding attire for pre-wedding photos. This is definitely a romantic setting to symbolize long-lasting love and commitment.

We greeted them with our sincere “congratulations” when we overtook the couple on the route.

Horse’s Back Rock Gate on the rocky shore

As we continued on the path, we found several observation points where we could observe the local seagulls and hawks flying over the rugged cliffy terrain and blue waters.

“Umanose Domon” or Horse’s Back Rock Gate, is another spot to make sure to stop in for a break. When this large natural rock formation was discovered in ancient times, the people named it after its shape— the back of a horse. Originally, the Umanose Domon was in the water and boats could go through the center, but it, like the lighthouse, was also affected by the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and became an on-land structure. The black rock gate looked majestic amongst the surrounding rocky beach and cliffs.

At the foot of Umanose Domon you’ll find scattered pools of water where you can see starfish, sea hares, shrimp and other small sea creatures. There were many children and parents beachcombing and fishing here. My wife collected many beautiful seashells on this beach, too.

On clear nights, the beach is also popular for stargazing since there are no artificial lights in the area. You can find the Milky Way very clearly just above the rock gate.

Jogashima Lighthouse

After spending some time exploring the surroundings of the rock gate, it took us 30 more minutes to reach “Miharashi Hiroba,” or good-view square in English. This observation spot has a couple of love-related monuments and wooden benches. Here, we took another rest and enjoyed a look out to the Pacific Ocean in the glow of the afternoon sun before another 30-minute-walk to finally reach Jogashima Lighthouse.

This relatively small, lighthouse was sublimely beautiful and really photogenic on the monotonous black cliffs. Facing west, this lighthouse is known as a great place to catch the beautiful sunset with the silhouettes of Mt. Fuji and Izu Oshima island off the Sagami Gulf.

Just like the wedding party we’d seen earlier in the day, both Awasaki and Jogashima were very beautiful and we could see why they are the “lighthouses in love.”

After our long walk, we stopped at the souvenir shops and restuarants selling local seafood at the foot of the lighthouse. We decided to treat ourselves with some soft cream. The shop offered some interesting ice cream flavor options like tuna, squid ink, whitebait for 300 yen. But we chose standard vanilla and chocolate flavors – they were rich and creamy and very delicious.  

Romantic island attracts lovers and artists

Heading back to our car, we took a different walking path along the northern coast. We saw the Misaki Port of Miura Peninsula, the other side of the narrow strait and small ferry boats carrying tourists between the ports. We also found a large stone monument of famous poet Kitahara Hakushu on the corner of the northern coast. The stone monument is a reminder of all the poets, painters and couples this romantic island has attracted through the years.

Close by, we found more couples staring out, holding hands and enjoying each other’s company. Yes, this is the island for lovers!

If you are in love, Jogashima Island is a must-see attraction. Don’t miss the current nice autumn weather to check it out!

Jogashima Island

Location: Misakicho, Miura City, Kanagawa Prefecture (a 40-minute drive from Yokosuka Naval Base)

URL (Japanese)

Tel: 046-881-6640

 

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