Awashima is a small island in the Seto Inland Sea, which once prospered as a base for the shipping industry. With a perimeter of 16km, it takes only about half a day to go around the island. A symbol of the town is a quaint Western-style building, which used to be a school for training sailors. You will also come across rustic works of art scattered around the island made by local residents. The amateur arts are sweet and adorable, if not renowned or sophisticated. Owing to its geographical feature, the embayed island is a safe haven for oceangoing ships from neighboring seas during the typhoon season. If you are lucky enough, you may get a chance to see a cluster of black finless porpoise.
[NOT TO MISS]
Nishihama is a beach located about 15 minutes on foot from Awashima Port. Covered in white sand, the 1km-long beach is full of driftwood and flotsam gathered by the west wind, which makes it perfect for beachcombing. Nishihama is also the best spot for watching the sunset. It’s lovely to wait for the moment when the sun slowly sinks down below the horizon.
MISSING POST OFFICE
The Missing Post Office was created by artist Saya Kubota as a part of the Setouchi Triennale 2013, which is actually a renovated post office which closed down in 1991. It is an artwork to welcome unaddressed post cards and keeps them for eternity if need be until they end up with the rightful owner even if they aren’t alive. Mr. Nakata who was the director of the Awashima Post Office for 45 years until retiring regularly opens this artwork every 2nd and 4th Saturdays.
The island is dotted with unique artworks made out of the buoys from fishing nets. The lovable cat dolls created out of used buoys were made to serve as guides in the Setouchi Triennale 2013. The flower garden near Kamishinden Port is known as “Buoy Buoy Garden”, where hundreds of endearing buoy dolls with different expressions huddle side by side.
The best season for umi-hotaru watching is late July through late September. During this period, you will see swarming umi-hotaru beneath the water surface at nighttime turning the ocean shiny cobalt blue, as though watching a sky full of stars.
FRESH FOOD OF THE ISLAND
The gentle tidal current occurring along the shallow coastline around the island is suitable for growing tasty oysters in the winter. There are local inns serving fresh fish from the Inland Sea, as well as “cha-gayu” or tea porridge, among other local specialties.
INFORMATION - AWASHIMA
Area: 3.68km Circumference: 16.5km
15 minutes by ferry from Suda Port (eight ferries per day, one-way fare: 320 yen)
50 minutes by ferry from Miyanoshita Port (via Shishijima) (three ferries per day, one-way fare: 670 yen) (*Awashima Line)
*Access to main ports
Suda Port: take a community bus (Mitoyoshi Community Bus) from JR Takuma Station and get off at “Suda” (10-minute ride) and walk for two minutes
Miyanoshita Port: take a community bus (Mitoyoshi Community Bus) from JR Takuma Station and get off at “Suda” (four-minute ride) and walk for 10 minutes
Means of transportation on Awashima: walking or bicycle rental (500 yen per day)
The road along the coastline from Awashima Port is perfect for a stroll or refreshing bike ride. It is recommended to take your bicycle on board the ship if you plan to go to the Kamishinden area, which is located in the northeastern area of Awashima Port, approximately 15 minutes on a ferry for Shishijima (one-way fare: 160 yen).