Spotlight on Lush Nature, Movie Sets, and Captivating Art

The Seto Inland Sea (also known as Setouchi) is blessed with beautiful views, rich seafood, unique islands, and permanent artworks from the Setouchi Triennale. A visit to the olive island of Shodoshima will yield encounters with modern art nestled in nature, fabulous cuisine and olive products, and captivating island atmosphere and hospitality.

From Shin Okayama Port, set sail on the Olympia Dream, a comfortable ferry that offers views of lush scenery, drinks and snacks for purchase, and even a free hot foot bath on its deck. The ship was designed by Mitooka Eiji, a celebrated designer in Japan. For an additional fee, you can even bring along your car or bicycle.

As you head toward Shodoshima, relax with the foot bath while marveling at small islands sporting tall trees and temples. Keep an eye out for the enormous Kannon goddess statue on Shodoshima as you approach. You can also watch the water for jellyfish, finless porpoises native to Asian waters, and even great white sharks. (This information is as of November 2017)

Shodoshima Olive Park

As the name suggests, Olive Park features plenty of olive trees, a Greek-style windmill, and greenhouses that wouldn’t look out of place on Santorini. Olive Park was used as the location for the 2016 live action version of the famous Studio Ghibli animation Kiki’s Delivery Service, so grab a free broom and pretend to fly in your photos. The hill with the Greek windmill provides the perfect spot, especially if you jump while having your photographer stand lower than you on the hill.

Olive Park also contains the delightful Herb Cafe Corico, offering assorted goods including olive wood items and potpourri. There is also a small cafe inside that serves a selection of freshly brewed herb teas. This building served as the bakery where the little witch Kiki worked in the film, and offers brooms to borrow.

If you’re lucky, you’ll see a jet-black cat that looks just like Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service. The cat’s name is Aloe, which is pronounced ah-roh-ey in Japanese. Call to him with the correct pronunciation and get a photo!

Twenty-Four Eyes Movie Studio

Set on Shodoshima, the 1954 movie Twenty-Four Eyes tells the story of a World War II era teacher and her twelve students. This “movie village” still contains all the sets used in the movie, including an old school building that was once a real school. The old school and the surroundings are a great way to learn about retro Japanese life. You’ll find an old timey wooden interior and typical student artwork inside the school, while outside there is a beautiful ocean view as well as fun takeuma bamboo stilts and hoop rolling.

In the cafe, you can enjoy kyushoku, Japanese school lunch, with its mandatory glass bottle of milk that must be drunk to completion and comfort food like curry and rice and fluffy white bread. This is a great stop for kids, Japanese adults who want to relive their childhoods, and foreign visitors interested in typical Japanese school life.

Angel Road

Angel Road is a land bridge formed at low tide. It is said that if you cross this “power spot” hand in hand with your loved one, your wishes will be granted and you will find eternal happiness. Will you find love at this angelic and amorous power spot?

“Power spots” are places that make you feel in-tune with nature or a spiritual je ne sais quoi. This uniquely Japanese concept has only recently come into vogue, but now numerous TV specials and books highlight power spots to excited travelers.

Kankakei Gorge

Kankakei Gorge, considered one of Japan’s three most gorgeous gorges, offers breathtaking views, a chance to toss tiles from the summit for luck (only in the designated area!), and the occasional wild monkey sighting. Ride the ropeway and admire the lovely views and soaring birds, or go the hard way up one of the hiking trails. The gorge is particularly breathtaking during the autumn leaves season in late November.

Yuhigaoka (Sunset Hill) Mandarin Orange Orchard

As the name implies, this is a beautiful spot to watch the sunset. There is a comfortable terrace with benches and tables. Just remember to bring bug spray!

Gift of the Sun, by Choi Jeong Hwa

Immediately upon alighting at the port on Shodoshima, you are greeted with this impressive piece of artwork by Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa. The leaves are inscribed with messages from island children and contain solar panels, giving you a deep impression of the dedication to art and sustainability here.

Dream of Olive, by Wang Wen Chih

This work of art was constructed from thousands of pieces of local bamboo and sits nestled among dramatic terraced rice fields. It is otherworldly yet somehow simultaneously blends right into the surrounding landscape. Across the street, there is a temple and Kabuki performance space, where locals have performed “Farmers’ Kabuki” for generations.

Regent in Olives, by Hisakazu Shimizu

This curious piece of art featuring a “regent” hairstyle was created for the Setouchi Triennale. If you’re lucky, an old man will be lying in wait for visitors. He will give you regent wigs and direct you in a number of amusing poses. Play along and you’ll get some great photos!

The English word “regent” has taken on new meaning in Japanese, referring to an exaggerated pompadour that is the hairstyle of choice of Japanese bad boys. Japanese people will swear that the hairstyle comes from abroad, but the magnificent regent certainly stands taller than the pompadours sported by Elvis and James Dean!

Features

Onomichi is a quaint town located along the Seto Inland Sea in eastern Hiroshima Prefecture. Onomichi was certified as as Japanese Heritage on 2017. The town extends from the mainland across some of the neighboring islands.Small ferries operate between the downtown area and the nearby islands, adding to Onomichi's nostalgic port town atmosphere. RELATED ARTICLES
ONOMICHI
Onomichi is a quaint town located along the Seto Inland Sea in eastern Hiroshima Prefecture. Onomichi was certified as as Japanese Heritage on 2017. The town extends from the mainland across some of the neighboring islands.Small ferries operate between the downtown area and the nearby islands, adding to Onomichi's nostalgic port town atmosphere.
We present to you a collection of short movies filled with stunning western Japan locations that you have almost certainly never seen before. The scenes of Seto Inland Sea islands, beautiful towns and the daily lives of the locals will make you want to book a trip as soon as possible. RELATED ARTICLES
MOVIES
We present to you a collection of short movies filled with stunning western Japan locations that you have almost certainly never seen before. The scenes of Seto Inland Sea islands, beautiful towns and the daily lives of the locals will make you want to book a trip as soon as possible.

Themes

The exquisite beauty of the blooming cherry blossoms, and also their transient beauty as the petals fall, has been revered in the literature and aesthetic concepts of Japan since ancient times. Spring in Japan is the perfect time to immerse yourself in its hanami (flower viewing) culture, when friends and family gather under the cherry blossom trees and appreciate the beauty of the flowers while drinking and eating merrily. RELATED ARTICLES
SAKURA
The exquisite beauty of the blooming cherry blossoms, and also their transient beauty as the petals fall, has been revered in the literature and aesthetic concepts of Japan since ancient times. Spring in Japan is the perfect time to immerse yourself in its hanami (flower viewing) culture, when friends and family gather under the cherry blossom trees and appreciate the beauty of the flowers while drinking and eating merrily.
What would a trip be without a special meal or treat along the way? Enjoy a luxurious time that satisfies your stomach and even your heart with cuisine created and meticulously finished by a master chef, using local, high-quality ingredients. RELATED ARTICLES
SOMETHING SPECIAL ON YOUR PALATE
What would a trip be without a special meal or treat along the way? Enjoy a luxurious time that satisfies your stomach and even your heart with cuisine created and meticulously finished by a master chef, using local, high-quality ingredients.
Japan's one and only enclosed sea, the Seto Inland Sea. It contains over 700 islands, each with a culture and cuisine blessed by mountains and sea. It's so beautiful that some call it "the Aegean Sea of the East." RELATED ARTICLES
SETO INLAND SEA
Japan's one and only enclosed sea, the Seto Inland Sea. It contains over 700 islands, each with a culture and cuisine blessed by mountains and sea. It's so beautiful that some call it "the Aegean Sea of the East."
Registered Japan Heritage towns like Kurashiki and Onomichi, born out of the unique geography of the Seto Inland Sea, are places that feel nostalgic and allow visitors to get a sense of daily life there. RELATED ARTICLES
SCENIC STROLLS
Registered Japan Heritage towns like Kurashiki and Onomichi, born out of the unique geography of the Seto Inland Sea, are places that feel nostalgic and allow visitors to get a sense of daily life there.
Western Japan is dotted with spiritual “power spots”, including the Shikoku pilgrimage ("Ohenro") of 88 sacred sites, and Itsukushima Shrine, a religious center and UNESCO World Heritage Site. RELATED ARTICLES
SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS
Western Japan is dotted with spiritual “power spots”, including the Shikoku pilgrimage ("Ohenro") of 88 sacred sites, and Itsukushima Shrine, a religious center and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As an island nation, unique cultural forms have developed in Japan. Traditional Japanese homes, where you can experience the earth and wood beloved of old Japan, are on trend worldwide. Enjoy these somehow comforting and soothing spaces. RELATED ARTICLES
JAPANESE TRADITION
As an island nation, unique cultural forms have developed in Japan. Traditional Japanese homes, where you can experience the earth and wood beloved of old Japan, are on trend worldwide. Enjoy these somehow comforting and soothing spaces.
There is nothing better than sampling the local seasonal flavors and specialties of a region. There are so many kinds of local cuisine Western Japan. Be sure to taste the foods beloved by locals when you take a trip RELATED ARTICLES
LOCAL FLAVORS
There is nothing better than sampling the local seasonal flavors and specialties of a region. There are so many kinds of local cuisine Western Japan. Be sure to taste the foods beloved by locals when you take a trip
Western Japan has mesmerizing sights you have never glimpsed before,from the islands in the vast waters of the Seto Inland Sea to the ancient castles rising into the sky and rivers that will make you sense eternity. RELATED ARTICLES
AMAZING VIEWS
Western Japan has mesmerizing sights you have never glimpsed before,from the islands in the vast waters of the Seto Inland Sea to the ancient castles rising into the sky and rivers that will make you sense eternity.
Kagawa is a byword for udon noodles, and the delicacy that is Sanuki udon is famous not just in Japan but throughout the world. Enjoy the local flavor of Kagawa that has been the favorite of common people here. RELATED ARTICLES
UDON
Kagawa is a byword for udon noodles, and the delicacy that is Sanuki udon is famous not just in Japan but throughout the world. Enjoy the local flavor of Kagawa that has been the favorite of common people here.
Find out about Japan-made jeans, which have worldwide fans and are made from regional denim varieties that include those from Japan’s most famous denim-producing zone, Kojima and Onomichi. RELATED ARTICLES
DENIM
Find out about Japan-made jeans, which have worldwide fans and are made from regional denim varieties that include those from Japan’s most famous denim-producing zone, Kojima and Onomichi.
There are many places for art in west Japan, where outstanding natural beauty and traditional aesthetic are protected. In particular, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Kagawa are attracting attention as great destinations that drive artistic culture in west Japan. RELATED ARTICLES
SETOUCHI ART
There are many places for art in west Japan, where outstanding natural beauty and traditional aesthetic are protected. In particular, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Kagawa are attracting attention as great destinations that drive artistic culture in west Japan.
The Seto Inland Sea boasts scenic cycling routes that showcase its maritime and mountain views, including the Shimanami Kaido that skips from island to island and the Kibi Route that leads around historic sites. RELATED ARTICLES
WONDERFUL CYCLING
The Seto Inland Sea boasts scenic cycling routes that showcase its maritime and mountain views, including the Shimanami Kaido that skips from island to island and the Kibi Route that leads around historic sites.
It is said that the history of okonomiyaki is the history of Hiroshima, such is the love of Hiroshima’s people for this exemplar of regional cuisine, passed down through generations. RELATED ARTICLES
OKONOMIYAKI
It is said that the history of okonomiyaki is the history of Hiroshima, such is the love of Hiroshima’s people for this exemplar of regional cuisine, passed down through generations.
The culture of therapeutic bathing and mind by relaxing in a hot bath amid beautiful ever-changing scenery is a fixture of Japanese culture. The Setouchi region boasts scenic outdoor baths set above sprawling islands. RELATED ARTICLES
ONSEN
The culture of therapeutic bathing and mind by relaxing in a hot bath amid beautiful ever-changing scenery is a fixture of Japanese culture. The Setouchi region boasts scenic outdoor baths set above sprawling islands.
With its warm climate, West Japan has many fruit-producing regions, including Okayama, "the fruit kingdom," famous as the top producer of white peaches and Muscat grapes. You can savor sumptuous sweet treats using lavish portions of seasonal fruit such as parfaits and shaved ice. RELATED ARTICLES
PREMIUM FRUITS
With its warm climate, West Japan has many fruit-producing regions, including Okayama, "the fruit kingdom," famous as the top producer of white peaches and Muscat grapes. You can savor sumptuous sweet treats using lavish portions of seasonal fruit such as parfaits and shaved ice.

Destinations

Okayama, the Land of Sunshine, abounds with the blessings of lush mountains and a bountiful sea, the beauty of nature and the crossroads of prominent Japanese historic heritage. Always a key transport hub in the Setouchi region, in recent years it has also become the gateway to the art of the Seto Inland Sea. RELATED ARTICLES
OKAYAMA
Okayama, the Land of Sunshine, abounds with the blessings of lush mountains and a bountiful sea, the beauty of nature and the crossroads of prominent Japanese historic heritage. Always a key transport hub in the Setouchi region, in recent years it has also become the gateway to the art of the Seto Inland Sea.
Hiroshima, the International City of Peace, is known throughout the world for its two World Heritage sites and for being the setting of superb literary works. This is a compulsory stop for connoisseurs from around Japan looking for unique food culture, not least of which are okonomiyaki, said to be Japan's national dish, and oysters. RELATED ARTICLES
HIROSHIMA
Hiroshima, the International City of Peace, is known throughout the world for its two World Heritage sites and for being the setting of superb literary works. This is a compulsory stop for connoisseurs from around Japan looking for unique food culture, not least of which are okonomiyaki, said to be Japan's national dish, and oysters.
Shimane Prefecture is redolent of tradition, boasting a large number of nationally-recognized historical and cultural treasures such as the Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine and Matsue Castle. Its large number of hot springs means it attracts a large number of people seeking healing in body and soul. It is also popular among visitors who can enjoy the fresh seafood from its Japan Sea coast and traditional foods such as soba noodle and Japanese sweets. RELATED ARTICLES
SHIMANE
Shimane Prefecture is redolent of tradition, boasting a large number of nationally-recognized historical and cultural treasures such as the Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine and Matsue Castle. Its large number of hot springs means it attracts a large number of people seeking healing in body and soul. It is also popular among visitors who can enjoy the fresh seafood from its Japan Sea coast and traditional foods such as soba noodle and Japanese sweets.
In the northern part of the prefecture facing the Sea of Japan, there is a beautiful stretch of coastline of the Tottori Sand Dunes and white sand and pine trees while the south is a majestic mountain range including Mt. Daisen, the tallest peak of the Chugoku region. Tottori is therefore an area of natural beauty changing by the season, where delicacies from the sea and the mountains await. RELATED ARTICLES
TOTTORI
In the northern part of the prefecture facing the Sea of Japan, there is a beautiful stretch of coastline of the Tottori Sand Dunes and white sand and pine trees while the south is a majestic mountain range including Mt. Daisen, the tallest peak of the Chugoku region. Tottori is therefore an area of natural beauty changing by the season, where delicacies from the sea and the mountains await.
Kagawa is the smallest prefecture in Japan. It is famous in Japan and abroad for being home to Sanuki udon, one of the “big three” udon noodle varieties, to the point that Kagawa is also known as “Udon Prefecture.” Kagawa is also gaining ground as a leader of Japan’s art culture by serving as the stage for the Setouchi Trienniale, a renowned contemporary arts festival. RELATED ARTICLES
KAGAWA
Kagawa is the smallest prefecture in Japan. It is famous in Japan and abroad for being home to Sanuki udon, one of the “big three” udon noodle varieties, to the point that Kagawa is also known as “Udon Prefecture.” Kagawa is also gaining ground as a leader of Japan’s art culture by serving as the stage for the Setouchi Trienniale, a renowned contemporary arts festival.
Kochi Prefecture is a premier destination for natural beauty, with its dynamic, warm Kuroshio current-bathed coastline, crystal-clear rivers such as the Niyodogawa famous for its “miracle blue” waters, and ample scenic hotspots. It is also popular as a foodie destination, a variety of seafood including skipjack tuna and its delicious sake rice wine. RELATED ARTICLES
KOCHI
Kochi Prefecture is a premier destination for natural beauty, with its dynamic, warm Kuroshio current-bathed coastline, crystal-clear rivers such as the Niyodogawa famous for its “miracle blue” waters, and ample scenic hotspots. It is also popular as a foodie destination, a variety of seafood including skipjack tuna and its delicious sake rice wine.
Many people flock to Ehime prefecture to soothe their mind and body with the healing waters of Japan's oldest hot springs resort Dogo Onsen, and the breathtaking Tashimabi scenery of numerous islands scattered throughout the Seto Inland Sea, as seen from the Shimanami Kaido bridge route connecting six of the larger islands. In addition to these and other attractions, Ehime is also blessed with a warm climate and locally grown citrus fruits, as well as an abundance of seafood sourced from the three coastal waters that surround it. RELATED ARTICLES
EHIME
Many people flock to Ehime prefecture to soothe their mind and body with the healing waters of Japan's oldest hot springs resort Dogo Onsen, and the breathtaking Tashimabi scenery of numerous islands scattered throughout the Seto Inland Sea, as seen from the Shimanami Kaido bridge route connecting six of the larger islands. In addition to these and other attractions, Ehime is also blessed with a warm climate and locally grown citrus fruits, as well as an abundance of seafood sourced from the three coastal waters that surround it.
Tokushima prefecture magnificently captures the beautiful nature and traditional culture of Japan in its many attractions including the Kazura Bashi Vine Bridge, one of the country's three uniquely structured bridges, and the Iya Valley region with its preserved nostalgic rural scenery. A trip to Tokushima will surely be unforgettable as you marvel at the Naruto whirlpool, one of Japan's top three tidal streams, and experience the excitement of the country's hallmark Tokushima Awa Odori Dance Festival. RELATED ARTICLES
TOKUSHIMA
Tokushima prefecture magnificently captures the beautiful nature and traditional culture of Japan in its many attractions including the Kazura Bashi Vine Bridge, one of the country's three uniquely structured bridges, and the Iya Valley region with its preserved nostalgic rural scenery. A trip to Tokushima will surely be unforgettable as you marvel at the Naruto whirlpool, one of Japan's top three tidal streams, and experience the excitement of the country's hallmark Tokushima Awa Odori Dance Festival.