You’d Definitely Want to Travel to These Islands! Top 5 Islands in Seto Inland Sea With Picturesque Views
Seto Inland Sea, where you can fully enjoy the beautiful sea and delicious dishes, is an area that has increasingly been gaining attention in recent years. Below are five islands in this sea where you can enjoy gorgeous scenery.
With a land area of 153.29sq.km., Shodoshima is the second largest island in Seto Inland Sea, next to Awajishima. It can be reached by ferry from Takamatsu Port in Kagawa Prefecture, as well as from Hyogo and Okayama.
If you stand on Kankakei, one of the three most beautiful gorges in Japan, you can enjoy a view of the deep gorge and the calm Seto Inland Sea. The Angel Road, a walkable sandbar that only appears twice a day during low tide, is also famous in Shodoshima. They say that if you cross this sandbar while holding the hand of your loved one, your wish will be granted. Shodoshima is also known as the birthplace of olives in Japan, and from the roadside rest Shodoshima OLIVE PARK, which is on top of a small hill, visitors get to marvel at the incredible scenery, as well as feel the charm of olives.
Naoshima is an island that can be accessed via ferries and high-speed boats from Takamatsu and Okayama. It measures 16km in diameter and 8sq.km. in area. This island is also known as the “island of art”, as it is dotted with multiple art museums and outdoor art pieces within its tranquil townscape.
Here, visitors can see works of art in three areas: Miyanoura (gateway to the island), Motomura (castle town), and the Museum Area (houses 3 art museums). There are also Art House Projects, which are vacant houses that have been renovated and converted into art pieces, as well as art facilities that can be used as public baths. It is difficult to see all the artworks in a single day, so it would be best to stay the night at the island so you can take your time appreciating the art.
Accessible by ferry from Takamatsu Port, Ogijima is a small island with a diameter measuring approximately 4.7km and land area of 1.4sq.km. Here, the private houses are concentrated on the southwestern part of the island, and the labyrinth-like network of alleys in the village that is sprawled on the slope create a distinctive landscape.
Ogijima is also the venue of ART SETOUCHI, where people get to see artworks everywhere while they walk through the village. One of the highlights of this island is the Ogijima Lighthouse at the northern tip of the island. Built more than 100 years ago, this lighthouse is made completely out of granite, something that is rarely seen even in Japan.
Honjima is an island that can be reached by ferry from Marugame Port in Kagawa, as well as Kojima Port in Okayama (around 30 minutes). Measuring 16.4km in diameter and 6.74sq.km. in land area, Honjima is the heart of Shiwaku Islands, which is dotted with 28 small to large islands. It flourished as the home base of the Shiwaku Navy that had control over the waters during the Edo period (1603 – 1867), and there are a lot of cultural assets that have remained intact on this island today.
Kasashima, which has kept its olden landscape, is an area that has been designated as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings of Japan. You can enjoy its beautiful townscape with preserved plastered white walls and latticed windows, among other structures. Make sure to try the Chinu-meshi, a local dish that consists of rice that has been cooked with kurodai (black sea bream).
Located south of Hyogo Prefecture, Awajishima (Awaji Island) can be reached by highway express bus from Osaka and Kobe since it is connected to Honshu by bridge. It has a land area of about 593sq.km., making it the largest island in Seto Inland Sea. This island is filled with sightseeing spots.
If you do visit, you must check out the Awaji Hanasajiki, an approximately 16ha flower field overlooking the sea, and the Uzushio, the largest whirlpool in the world that can be seen from the Naruto Kaikyo Bridge. You have to take photos! There are also many onsen in the island, with Minami-Awaji Onsen-kyo (Hot Spring Village) and Sumoto Onsen being the more famous ones. Myths claim that Awajishima was the first island to be born in Japan, and now there are many places that are associated with this myth, such as Nushima.
There is an abundance of local ingredients at this island, including fresh seafood, Awaji beef, onions and other agricultural products. You should try local dishes like the Awajishima Burger.
Four of the islands on this list, except Awajishima, are also venues of ART SETOUCHI (an art festival also known as Setouchi Triennale), which is held once every three years. There are many art pieces from past festivals that can still be viewed today, so you can enjoy beautiful artworks while soaking in the picturesque sceneries at these islands.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.