Shodoshima is the second largest island after Awaji-shima in the Inland Sea. It is much larger in size compared to other smaller islands, with a parameter of 126 km. Home to 30 000 residents, the island is able to fulfill most daily needs through convenience stores, supermarkets and clothing stores. The primary means of transportation for visitors are busses and rental cars; however, the winding roads and a rich variety of scenery attract many cyclists and motorcycle riders. There are three ports and harbors on the island, and around 50 ferry/high-speed boat shuttles between Takamatsu and the island.
The island has been inhabited for a very long time. Sea salt production on this island dates back to the Yayoi period (circa mid-3rd century BC to late 3rd century AD). As such, the island flourished as minashiro (meaning "emperor’s land" in ancient times) and has housed a salt-making manor for the imperial family and shrines since ancient Japanese times. The island's location holds strategic importance; it has been a major base for fishing, ship-building and shipping agents, and also cooperated with pirates in Seto during ancient times. During the Edo period (1603-1868), the island's economy was supported by the production of soy sauce and somen noodles (fine dried noodles made of wheat). These are still renowned specialties of Shodoshima today, with the mire modern addition of sesame oil and olive oil (the first successful olive production in Japan). The produce grown on the island has nurtured Shodoshima’s unique food culture.
Today, Shodoshima is an island resort with a unique culture, traditions and a nostalgic atmosphere. This is not the island's only charm, however. Its perfect combination of nature and the tastes of a traditional town complements this atmosphere, with attractions including Kankakei Gorge, one of the most beautiful gorges in Japan, the scenic beauty of the Senmaida terraced rice fields and the Angel Road, which appears only during low tides every day. You can also view art works merged with the natural scenery, as the island is one of the Setouchi Triennale venues.
By ferry: Appx. one hour from Takamatsu Port
By high-speed boat: 35-45 minutes from Takamatsu Port
*Other regular ferries travel to and from the island from Hinase Port in Okayama and Himeji Port in Hyogo.
NOT TO MISS
1. ANGEL ROAD
The Angel Road is a sand bar of approximately 500 meters connecting Shodoshima to small offshore islands. It appears twice a day during low tide, during which time you can walk on it to the islands. It is said that if you cross it with your love hand in hand, an angel with come down in the middle of the bridge and the two will become a couple in the future. Thus, it is a popular matchmaking (enmusubi) spot.
[Address] Ginpaura Tonosho-cho Shozu-gun, Kagawa
[Access] 10 minutes by bus from Tonosho Port heading for Oze(小瀬) and 5 minuete walk from the stop "Kokusai Hotel"
*Twice a day, during low tide (subject to change depending on the season and the weather )
2. NAKAYAMA SENMAIDA
In the Nakayama district in the middle of Shodoshima is Nakayama Senmaida, comprising more than 800 pieces of terraced rice field. It has been designated as Japan’s best among 100 terraced rice fields. Rise is grown using spring water from a source that has also been designated as 'one of the best 100 natural water sources in Japan'. From rice planting in June until its harvest in September, you can enjoy the scenic beauty of the fields.
Address] Nakayama Shodoshima-cho Shozu-gun, Kagawa
[Access] 20 Minutes by bus from Tonosho Port heading for Nakayama and 0 minute walk from the stop “Nakayama Kasuga Jinjya Mae” （中山春日神社前）
3. OLIVE PARK
Approximately 2000 olive trees and more than 130 types of herbs are grown in this park, rendering it reminiscent of Mediterranean Greece. The park is located on a hill looking down on the Inland Sea. It offers a range of fun courses for making craftwork using olives and herbs. Herb teas are also served.
[Address] 1941-1 Nishimura-Ko Shodoshima-cho Shozo-gun, Kagawa
[Access] 25 minutes by bus from Tonosho heading for Sakate Port and 1 minute walk from the stop “Olive Koen Guchi” （オリーブ公園口）
5. KANKAKEI GORGE
One of the highlights in the Setonaikai National Park area and considered one of the “three most beautiful gorges in Japan". The beauty of the gorge is the result of two million years of natural processes: the superb view from the ropeway, which runs through strangely shaped rocks – the result of natural erosion – and a huge rock wall is a must-see. The gorge also reveals itself to look different during the four seasons.
via © Kagawa Prefecture Tourism Association
[Address] 168 Kankakedori Shodoshima-cho Shozu-gun, Kagawa
[Access] 15 Minutes by bus from Kusakabe port heading for “Kountei” (紅雲亭) and take off at the last stop (60 minutes by bus from Tonosho Port; change busses at Kusakabe Port).
6. SOY SAUCE VILLAGE
Soy sauce production on the island has ongoing for more than 400 years. Twenty or more producers are still producing soy sauce and tsukudani (vegetable, fish, shell-fish or seafood boiled down into a sweet soy sauce) using traditional methods. The quarter where these manufacturers and their shops are gathered is called "soy sauce village". The quarter has its own unique characteristics, the streets lined by the black walls of cellars and the air filled with the savory essence of soy sauce. Some soy sauce manufacturers also offer tours of their cellars.
[Address] Umaki/Nouma Shodoshima-cho Shozu-gun, Kagawa
[Access] 7 minutes by bus from Sakate port heading for Sakate Port and 5-10 minute walk from the stop “Umaki” (馬木) or "Marukinmae"(丸金前)
7. MONKEY PARK
This nature park is located along the mountain path on the way to Kankakei gorge. Roughly 500 Japanese monkeys run loose within the park. Attractions for visitors include a feeding experience and monkey shows. Large groups of monkeys running towards someone holding their food is quite a spectacular scene.
via © Kagawa Prefecture Tourism Association
[Address] 1341Hitoyama Tonosho-cho Shozu-gun, Kagawa
[Access] 20 minute drive by car from Tonosho Port (No local bus available)
[Admission] Adult 380 yen, Child 190 yen (4-15 years of age)
[Opening Hours] 8:10-17:00