HafH Travel Blog: The beauty and charm of Iki Island!

Hi all! I’m Haruka! : ) I’m part of the team at HafH, working in our customer success unit and also on the team that runs our in-house media.

I currently reside in Fukuoka, and use HafH about 5 days each month to mainly travel around to different parts of Kyushu. This time I traveled to the Island of Iki in Nagasaki Prefecture.

The trip was so much fun, that I want to share it with you all!

*HafH Coin amount as of May 28

Iki – just a 1 hour trip from Hakata (Fukuoka)

While Iki is an island in Nagasaki Prefecture, access from Fukuoka is actually a little better given the islands northern position. It’s actually quite a popular holiday destination for locals of Kyushu. To see Iki’s actual location, check it out on Google Maps.

My journey to Iki started from Hakata Port, which is relatively close the center of Fukuoka. If you’re heading to the port on foot from the center of Fukuoka, it will take you about 30 minutes, and only about 10 minutes if you take the bus.

Form Hakata Port you have two options, a regular ferry or a high-speed ferry called a jetfoil. A ferry trip between Hakata Port and Iki will take about 2 hours, whereas a a trip on a jetfoil will have that time. Naturally, I decided to go by jetfoil!


The company that runs the ferry service Kyushu Yusen has an English version of its website available, so for details on cost and ferry/jetfoil timetables, click here.

It’s a beautiful view from the jetfoil, and before you know it you’re arriving at Gonoura Port on Iki Island. I have to admit, I was actually surprized at just how easy it is to get here…

The jetfoil I took made port at Gonoura, but depending on which jetfoil you take, it may make port at a different location on Iki, so be sure to check which route your ferry/jetfoil is heading in advance.


After arriving at the port, I jumped on a bus to get to my destination Katsumoto-cho. You can see the ocean several times during the bus trip, but I was also welcomed with a beautiful sunset.

Considering I’d only just arrived on the island, I wasn’t expecting to already be seeing such amazing views. It was really breathtaking.

After alighting from the bus, my destination was right in front of me.

A 90 year old former ryokan lodge renovated and transformed into a guesthous

I chose to stay at Guesthouse LAMP IKI for my trip to Iki this time. The dorm rooms won’t require you to use any HafH Coins, and private rooms are an easy 100 HafH Coins per night.

LAMP IKI was created by renovating and refurbishing a historic 90 year old Japanese style inn. The owners made sure to pay respect to the building’s history and heritage while also updating and modernizing necessary details to make guests more comfortable, like the dormitory and shared work space.

I pretty much have no contacts or aquaintances on Iki, but Ide-san, the manager at LAMP IKI, was kind enough to connect me with some locals and gave me plenty of information and local insight.

Ide-san is such a warm and welcoming person, so when you head to Iki please go and have a chat with him.

Ide-san’s Twitter account:
https://twitter.com/ide_chanpon

IDE-san – Manager at LAMP IKI

After checking in at LAMP IKI, I was able to participate in an event being held there that evening. Freelance chef Nao-san was there running a pop-up restaurant using local ingredients to make mouthwatering dishes. Her food is always amazing!

Nao takes her pop-up restaurant all over Japan, so if you’re interested be sure to check her out social media!

Freelance Chef Nao’s Instagram & Twitter account:
https://www.instagram.com/naomeshiya
https://twitter.com/naokoamigo1


Across from LAMP IKI is a craft beer shop that just opened in May this year called ISLAND BREWERY. They have an excellent range of beer, from regular brews to fruit beers.

It seems that this is the only craft beer brewery in all of Nagasaki Prefecture!! After tasting it for myself, it’s safe to say that I’m a huge fan, and might have sampled more than my fare share!

There was also a decent seafood menu, with dishes like calamari and fried fish available. Being an island, the seafood here is as fresh as you can get!

ISLAND BREWERYのInstagram:
https://www.instagram.com/islandbrewery/

An invigorating morning, and a delicious breakfast

The next morning, I woke up a little early to go walk by the harbour. The fresh seaside air and the gentle morning breeze left me feeling energized and ready for the day ahead.


If you stay in a private room at LAMP IKI, you have the option to purchase a breakfast set for ¥800. My breakfast included dried fish that I was able to grill to my taste on a little tabletop BBQ.

Along with the dried fish, I also had a miso soup made using a hearty stock, freshly made onigiri rice balls, and a few extra side dishes. Delicious!!!

A great work space for remote workers and digital nomads!

I actually came to Iki for a workation, so after breakfast it was time to whip out my laptop and get some work done!

At LAMP IKI, the breakfast hall (that was formerly a restaurant) can also be used as a kind of coworking space. The space has a traditional Japanese feel to it, but there is a good Wi-Fi connection and plenty of electrical outlets. I had no problems concentrating on my work whatsoever.


There is also a shared lounge space on the second floor of the guesthouse, so you have more than one option for when you need to work.

I was able to use the space to work from even after I had checked out, which I was super grateful for!

Exploring the nature of Iki on a leisure boat cruise

I had been invited to go on a leisure boat cruise by someone I met the previous day, so after getting a good amount of work completed, I headed out to marvel at the beauty of the Iki coastline.

The leisure boat takes off Katsumoto-cho Fishing Port, just a 5-minute walk from LAMP IKI. Tickets can be purchased from the port for just ¥2,000 for a tour that can last up to 3 hours.


The captain is an Iki Island local and was very knowledgable about the area. We were also super lucky the weather stayed nice for the entire cruise.


After touring the waters around many small islands, we landed at an uninhabited island called Tatsunoshima (辰の島). We were given some free time to walk around and explore the island.

There were so many beautiful spots on the island, but the white sand and emerald sea made for the most striking scene.

The pictures below are just a few snaps out of hundreds I ended up taking.


On returning to LAMP IKI after the cruise, the owner Ide-san had prepared some ingredients for a BBQ he was putting on for guests staying at LAMP IKI.

The local veges were so fresh and delicious, but it was the famous Iki beef that stole the show! Beer and BBQ after an afternoon of cruising around islands and enjoying beaches on uninhabited islands…You couldn’t ask for a more perfect day!

Serendipitous encounters and being invited to fun events is a big part of why I like being a HafH Neighbor (member).

I was only supposed to stay for one night, but after meeting and hanging out with other guests, and having so much fun exploring Iki, I ended up extending my stay for one more night!

Get around Iki more easily on an electric assist bicycle

I highly recommend renting one of these electric assist bicycles for getting around on Iki Island. They can almost reach speeds of up to 50km/hr!!

This little bicycle is worth having with you if you’re planning on heading around to all the major attractions on Iki, and best of all, you can rent them from LAMP IKI!

<Cost>
¥1,500 – 4 hours
¥3,000 – 12 hours
*Due to the speeds these bicycles can reach, you do need to have a driver’s licence to rent one.

A must try curry shop!

The last place I stopped at was a little shop called Chilitoli Jiyu Shokudo, popular for its spice curry dishes. The ocean view from inside is not too shabby either!

Chilitoli Jiyu Shokudo is about a 20-min walk from Ashibe Port, or a 30 min bus ride from LAMP IKI.

The owner of the store was also super friendly and we had a great conversation about Iki as well.

Chilitoli Jiyu Shokudo’s Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/chilitoli/

My time on Iki was so much fun, and like all things fun was over in a flash. After a great meal Chilitoli, I headed back to Ashibe Port and boarded a jetfoil back to Fukuoka.

To anyone wanting to travel with HafH

This article was written by Haruka, a crew member at HafH.

Getting to Iki from Fukuoka is really so easy. If you’re heading to Fukuoka or to Kyushu, you really should take the opportunity to visit this amazing island!

HafH has locations right across Japan and all over the world, so you can travel around and find your favourite location!

If you’re not already a HafH Neighbor (member) you can read about HafH and sign up here .
*From the day you sign up to HafH to the end of that month is free.
**If the above link opens up our Japanese website, scroll to the bottom to switch to English.