Candle Rock Sunset Cruise, Dogo, Oki Islands, Shimane Prefecture
Dogo, the largest of the Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan off the coast of Shimane Prefecture, is home to many sites of scenic beauty and some stunning coastlines, which is not surprising as it is a part of both the Daisen-Oki National Park and a UNESCO Global Geopark.
Probably the most photographed, and hence iconic, of all the sights on Dogo is Rosoku-jima, translated most commonly as "Candle Rock".
Located about 500 meters off the northwest coast, Candle Rock is a narrow spire of volcanic rock rising vertically 20 meters out of the sea. Interesting enough, but what makes it special is when viewed with the setting sun resting on the tip of the rock it looks like a lit candle.
Candle Rock and the section of coast around it can be seen from the lookout at Ojirobana Park, and there is an 850m trail down to another observation point closer to the water, but to see the sunset effect you need to take one of the tour boats.
The boats run from April to October, times depending, of course, on the sunset time. If the weather is windy and the seas choppy, or if it is heavily overcast, then the boats don't operate.
The boats operate out of two different ports, Fukuura Port and Akasaki Port, and when making a reservation they will tell you which. If you leave from Fukuura, on the way out of the harbor you pass by the Fukuura Tunnels, hand cut through solid rock to allow local people a direct route around the headland rather than the longer route over the mountain.
As the boat heads up the coast the dramatic cliffs and headlands bask in the warmth of the setting sun. Numerous sea caves are passed before Candle Rock finally comes into view, although from a distance it doesn't look like much.
The boat explores some more inlets before heading in between Candle Rock and the coast. Though it is cloudy the sun peeks through as it approaches the horizon. The captain slows the boat and everyone waits with cameras ready as he switches off the engine and the boat slowly drifts forward until suddenly click-click-click-click as the sun is positioned right on top of the rock.
The boat reverses slowly for some more shots and then turns around and heads back so the passengers on the other side of the boat get their chance. The boat then veers away for a while to let the other boats in the area take their turn before once again coming in for the photo op.
Reservations on 0851 22 0787
Getting Between the Oki Islands
A fairly frequent and fast ferry service connects the three islands of Dozen, but between Dozen and Dogo you need to use the car ferry or fast ferry.
Read more about access to the Oki Islands and getting around the islands.
Useful Oki Island Resources
- Oki Islands UNESCO Global Geopark
- Oki Islands Events Calendar
- Oki Islands Nishinoshima
- Oki Kisen Ferries