Tomogashima, a beautiful “phantom” island of fortress

On a beautiful Akibare 秋晴れ day – a fine autumn day, we visited Tomogashima Island in Wakayama prefecture on a day trip.
It was said to have been an”uninhabited phantom island” dotted with fortress ruins.

You may wonder why the title says “phantom”. Let’s find it out in this blog!

A tropical paradise on the Kitan Strait.

Tomogashima is the collective name for Jinojima, Torajima, Kamijima, and Okinoshima.

source:   There are restrooms scattered throughout the area, making the hike quite comfortable.

The most scenic walking course is the one on Okinoshima Island, which can be enjoyed as a day-trip hiking destination. If you just want to explore the sights, it is about 3.3 km and takes about 3 hours.


By car

To get to Tomogashima, drive 1.5 hours from Osaka (using highway) to Kada Port, and from there take a 20-minute boat ride on the Tomogashima Kisen ferry.
There is a parking lot at the port for your convenience. The fee is 700 yen per day.

By train

It takes about 1 hour from Nankai Electric Railway’s Namba or Shin-Imamiya to Wakayama City Station, and from there it takes about 25 minutes to Kada Station by transfer. From the station, it takes about 15 minutes on foot to Kada Port.

kada port tomogashima ferry

There is a small store at the pier. They sell flashlights, instant noodles, drinks, etc. The fortress is like a maze, and there are dark areas, so if you like to explore, a flashlight (or phone light) is a must! It’s 500 yen with batteries.

shop tomogashima kada port


Now it’s time to go! The boat has a capacity of 100 people and costs 2,200 yen for a round trip. Reservations are not accepted, so get to the pier early if you plan to go on an excursion day!

time schedule ferry kada tomogashima

There are 4 boats a day. We took the 11:00 boat!
It seems that there are sometimes extra services. You can check the website of Tomogashima Kisen. (Tomogashima Liner website: Japanese only)

tomogashima ferry boarding

This is what the inside of the restaurant looks like. There are seats on the deck, but you can stand up too.
The second floor is not accessible.

Landing on Tomogashima!

landing tomogashima

We were blessed with very nice weather. It’s so exciting!

tomogashima map

As soon as you arrive, there is a map of the island.
At the back on the right is the “Rapyu Cafe” where you can have a drink and a light meal.

tomogashima rapyu cafe

Some website said it was an uninhabited island, but it’s actually a tourist attraction. There is no sense of survival💦.

Nowadays, it seems to be a popular photo spot for cosplayers. Cosplayers-welcome island. 🙂

tomogashima cosplay island

First, we headed to the most Instagrammable spot, the ruins of the third battery ruins.
This is a beginner-friendly course where high heels are not recommended, but regular sneakers will suffice.

 Arrived to the 3rd battery ruins!

tomogashima ruins

It looks great! It’s a maze of sorts, fun to stroll through!

tomogashima ruins

Here is a bit of history..
As foreign ships arrived in Japan, it became necessary to defend Osaka Bay, and over a period of 16 years from 1890, the army of the Meiji government built fortifications with modern gun batteries, traces of which can still be seen throughout the island. On Tomogashima, there are turrets 1-5 here on Okinoshima and a redoubt on Torashima. Later, the batteries on Tomogashima became more and more fortified, and the general public was forbidden to enter them. Furthermore, because it was supposed to function as an important fortress, it was erased from detailed topographic maps during the war and became a “phantom island”. And this fortress was actually used until World War II.

The third battery is the largest of the five batteries on the island and is well preserved.

3rd battery ruins tomogashima

The water pooling over the ruins of the battery that would have carried the cannon makes for some very reflective photos!

The sky reflected in the water is bluer!

Lunch time!

Bring your own lunch and you can picnic at a place with such a nice view!
This is the Mount Takanos Lookout. There are benches in the shade.

rest area tomogashima

Awaji Island can be seen over there, about 5 km from here.

viewing awajishima from tomogashima

After a lunch break, we headed for the ruins of the 2nd battery.

This is a spectacular viewpoint of Kōsukematsu coast.

The 2nd battery Ruins

You can get some great shots here!
This is a great spot for cosplayers to take photos, just as good as the ruins of the third gun emplacement.

2nd battery ruins tomogashima

2nd battery ruins tomogashima

It can also be seen from the back.

2nd battery ruins tomogashima

A short walk from the ruins of the second battery ruins is the Tomogashima Lighthouse and the Meridian Square.
The lighthouse is not that high. (sorry, no photos of the lighthouse)

Here is the meridian square. Nice view!
This is the place where the meridian line of 135 degrees east longitude, which determines Japan Standard Time, passes through.

So this is just directly south of Akashi.

meridian space tomogashima

Well, we have now visited most of the sights, I guess.
The road along the coast was closed because it was under construction at the time.
You can return home without any problem by taking the same route you came in.

Gorgeous Sunset Views

sunset tomogashima ferry

We come on the 11:00 boat and return on the 16:30 boat. Beautiful sunset can be seen from the ferry.

It was mid-October and the season was just right (neither hot nor cold!). We enjoyed a comfortable hike.

The Taga port seems to be a very good fishing point. There are so many anglers!
It seems that fishing festivals are very popular in Wakayama.

fishing kada port

It was just dusk when we returned to Kata Port!
kada port parking lot


Check out the Video too!

Thank you for reading! Hope you enjoyed it.


Japanese name stamp seal Hanko

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