Shodoshima is an island locating on the Seto Inland Sea in southeastern Japan, just off of the coast of Kagawa prefecture. The island is famous for its lush nature, olive crops, beautiful seas and more. This article will introduce 6 must-visit spots on Shodoshima.
1. Kankakei Gorge
The Impactful Gorge
Kankakei Gorge is known as one of Japan’s 3 Major Gorges. It was created as a result of a volcano eruption about 1.3 million years ago.
This is the only gorge in Japan where you can see a gorge and the ocean together. You can definitely say this is a main sightseeing point for your visit.
Access to the Summit
Kankakei Gorge in the fall
You can see this view from the ropeway connecting the bottom of the gorge to the top of it. The ropeway operates on a 12-minute interval. See the panoramic view of the Kankakei Gorge and Seto Inland Sea on a 5-minute ride to the Summit. It is a perfectly good activity even for those who do not have all that much time. All four seasons are absolutely stunning at Kankakei Gorge. The fall foliage is especially beautiful.
The gorge is great for more active travelers too. There is a hiking path up the gorge, and if you’re lucky, you may be able to see some rare animals such as the Japanese pheasant. There are 3 hiking paths, which take about an hour one way.
2. Shihozashi Observatory
See the Superb View from the Observatory
From Shihozashi Observatory, you can enjoy a view of the island. The area of the observatory is called Utsukushinohara Highland.
There is nothing to block the view around the observatory. You can see as far as 60 kilometers from here! The views from the observatory are beautiful during both day and night.
Recommended to visit along with the Kankakei
There is another observatory called Tenku Stairs. This observatory is located at about a 30-minute drive away from the Shihozashi Observatory and is 777 meters above the ground. From here, you can see the Great Seto Bridge and Onaruto Bridge on the Seto Inland Sea. Although it is a bit further away from the Central City, it is about a 10-minute drive from the Kankakei, so it is recommended that you see both during one visit.
3. Angel Road
Cross the road while holding hands with a loved one and get your wish granted!!
Angel Road is a sand road that appears twice a day during low tides. This road is known for connecting island to island. It is said that crossing Angel Road with a lover will grant both of your wishes. Angel road is accessible by car, bicycle, or feet. How does visiting with a loved one sound?
Yakusoku no Oka Observatory
From Yakusoku no Oka Observatory, located on a small hill, you can see Angel Road from above. At the observatory there is a bell that couples ring together, which got its other name, “Couple’s Holy Place “. It's a great photo spot as you can see the entire view of the angel road from the Observatory. There are steep stairs on the way to the observatory, so comfortable shoes are recommended.
4. Olive Park
Take a picture while flying on a magical broom?!?!
Shodoshima Olive Park is located on a small hill with a great view of the Seto Inland Sea. On the hill, there are over 2,000 olive trees.
Olives first arrived in Shodoshima in 1908. The first olive trees on Shodoshima were brought from the United States, and planted experimentally on the island. Shodoshima’s warm, dry climate was perfect for olive cultivation, and the island eventually became known for its olives.
The olives grown on Shodoshima are used for many things, such as olive oil, cosmetics and more.
The Greek-style windmill in the park is a popular photo spot. You can rent out a free magic broomstick, and take photos on it with the windmill in the back for a fairy tale-like photo.
Olives that Carry Happiness
It is said that if you find a heart-shaped olive leaf on the island, that it will bring you happiness. You can get your own olive leaf laminated for you to take home! Keeping the leaf in your wallet is recommended.
In the park, you can find this olive colored mailbox. You can purchase a special themed post card at the nearby Olive Memorial Hall.
5. Nakayama Senmaida Terraced Rice Field
Nakayama Senmaida Terraced Rice Field
Japan’s Best Valley Views
Nakayama Senmaida is a terraced rice field in the mountainous Nakayama area. It is made up of over 800 small rice fields.
Tanada, or terraced rice fields, is a way to grow crops on hills. They are now well known for the amazing views they produce.
This rice field has been used to film movies, such as “The Eighth Day”. This beautiful view in the mellow countryside is sure to relax you and have you appreciating traditional Japan.
Enjoy the Seasonal Changes
At the Nakayama Senmaida Terraced Rice Field you can enjoy different views season by season. When the season changes from spring to summer, the green rice plants spread like a carpet, and when autumn comes, the rice field flourishes with bright yellow colors. In July, there is an event, called “Hote”, which is held to pray for a good agricultural season.
6. Kasane-iwa Rocks
Power Spot of 2 Stacked Rocks
Kasaane-iwa are two rocks miraculously stacked on top of each other.
These rocks are of Kozeishizuchi Shrine, and are said to be a result of “special powers” from the heavens. It has become popular for the beautiful views along with the heavenly power spot atmosphere. You should be able to feel the power by placing your hands together at the front of the small shrine.
Better to Wear Comfortable Clothing
In order to get to Kasane-iwa Rocks, you will have to hike up stone steps and mountain roads. Although the steps are maintained well, part of the hike can get rocky and unstable. Therefore, going in comfortable clothing and shoes is strongly recommended. During the hike, you will get a great view of the Seto Inland Sea. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes from the parking lot to the Kasane-iwa area.
Access to Shodoshima4
■From Honshu (mainland Japan)
There are five ports on Honshu that have direct ferries to Shodoshima: Kobe Port, Okayama Port, Himeji Port, Hinase Port and Uno Port.
There are two ports in the Shikoku region that have direct boats to Shodoshima: Takamatsu Port and Takamatsu East Port.
Shodoshima: an island surrounded by an astonishing view of nature
These are only some sights on Shodoshima; there is much more to see on the beautiful island! Visit Shodoshima for a relaxing, rejuvenating trip.