If you are looking for a quick yet physically active outing, this is the one for you. This is the second largest mangrove forest in Japan. You get to kayak in a solo or two-person kayak. The tours occur in groups with one to two guides depending on the number of guests. The entire experience took no more than one hour.
Kayaking through the mangrove forest was just so special. It is extremely quiet (as there are no motorized boats) allowing you to truly appreciate the environment with more than just your eyes. The waters are very calm so it is great fun for children as well. The youngest in our group was a 4-year old and she had a great time.
Mid-way through the tour the guides stop in the thickest part of the mangrove and explain how the ecosystem operates and how the trees and shrubs filter the salt water. One type of tree has a strong filtering system. Another type of tree does not filter all of the salt, so it collects any remaining salt in a single leaf on each branch. This leaf turns yellow while all others remain green. When the leaf has reached its maximum salt-carrying capacity, it falls off. Really fascinating.
A couple of quick notes:
(1) the tour is given in Japanese so it helps to have someone who can translate for you if you are not fluent in the language. Also, although we did not do so on this particular tour, in some cases you also get to alight from your kayak and explore the mangrove on foot for a little while.
(2) I was not aware of any public transportation to the mangrove forest. We had a rental car to get around the island, so I did not pay attention to the public transportation infrastructure.
(3) there is a pretty decent restaurant here offering an assortment of lunch dishes included ramen with slow-cooked pork, udon in miso broth, curry udon, curry rice, etc.
Overall, I highly recommend making this a part of your trip to Amami.
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