The island of Honjima, located in the Seto Inland Sea, has a rich history as a regional shipbuilding center and has even served as a movie set. This small island is part of the Shiwaku Islands, a picturesque archipelago consisting of 28 islands that belong to Kagawa Prefecture. Honjima was once home to an important naval base and played a significant role in the maritime industry.
To reach Honjima, visitors can take a ferry from either Marugame Port or Kojima Port. From Shikoku, the ferry from Marugame Port is the most convenient option, as it is just a 10-minute walk from JR Marugame Station. If you are coming from the mainland, you can take the ferry from Kojima Port, which is located next to Kojima Station. To reach Kojima Station, you can take a train from the city of Okayama.
When you arrive on Honjima, you will have the opportunity to explore its charming old town, Kasashima Town. This area was once a bustling hub for shipbuilding between 1600 and 1867. Today, it still retains much of its traditional architecture, offering a glimpse into the island’s past. As you wander through the streets, you will come across wooden townhouses that were built over a century ago. Some of these houses are open to the public, allowing you to step back in time and experience the island’s history firsthand.
One particular attraction in Kasashima Town that shouldn’t be missed is a former elementary school that was featured in the 2004 Japanese movie “Kikansha Sensei”. This school provides a unique glimpse into the island’s educational history and the lives of its residents. Exploring the classrooms and hallways of this old school is like taking a step back in time.
For breathtaking views of the surrounding islands and the iconic Seto Ohashi Bridge, make your way to the observation point on Mt. Tomi. From this vantage point, you can marvel at the beauty of the Seto Inland Sea and appreciate the engineering marvel that is the Seto Ohashi Bridge. The bridge connects Honshu and Shikoku, spanning a length of approximately 13.1 kilometers. It is an impressive sight that showcases the region’s connectivity and serves as a symbol of unity.
As you explore Honjima, take the time to appreciate its natural beauty. The island is surrounded by crystal-clear waters, and its coastline is dotted with pristine beaches. Whether you want to relax on the sandy shores or take a dip in the refreshing sea, Honjima offers the perfect setting for beach lovers. The tranquil atmosphere and picturesque scenery make it an idyllic retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.
In addition to its natural beauty, Honjima also offers a variety of outdoor activities for adventure enthusiasts. The island is a popular destination for hiking and cycling, with numerous trails and paths that allow you to explore its rugged terrain. As you traverse the island’s trails, you will encounter stunning viewpoints and hidden gems that showcase the island’s unique charm.
For those interested in history and culture, Honjima has several cultural sites worth visiting. The island is home to several shrines and temples, each with its own unique architectural style and significance. These sacred sites offer a glimpse into the spiritual traditions of the island’s residents and provide a peaceful retreat for contemplation and reflection.
Throughout the year, Honjima hosts various cultural events and festivals that showcase the island’s vibrant heritage. One of the most notable events is the Honjima Lantern Festival, held annually in July. During this festival, the streets of Kasashima Town are adorned with beautifully crafted lanterns, creating a magical atmosphere. Visitors can participate in traditional dances, enjoy local cuisine, and immerse themselves in the island’s lively cultural scene.
Another highlight of Honjima is its local cuisine. The island is known for its fresh seafood, particularly its delicious oysters. Honjima oysters are renowned for their plumpness and rich flavor, making them a must-try for seafood lovers. You can enjoy these delectable oysters at local restaurants and seafood markets, where they are prepared in various mouthwatering dishes.
Honjima offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and cultural heritage. Whether you are a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a food lover, this small island has something to offer everyone. Its tranquil atmosphere, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality make it an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat away from the crowds.
As you explore Honjima, take the time to interact with the locals and learn about their way of life. The residents of this small island are known for their friendliness and welcoming nature, and they are always eager to share their stories and traditions with visitors. By immersing yourself in the local culture, you will gain a deeper appreciation for the island’s history and create lasting memories.
In conclusion, Honjima is a hidden gem in the Seto Inland Sea that offers a unique and enriching travel experience. Whether you are interested in history, nature, or cultural immersion, this small island has something to captivate your senses. From its charming old town to its breathtaking views, Honjima will leave you with a sense of awe and a desire to return. So, plan your visit to Honjima and discover the beauty and charm of this regional shipbuilding center and movie set.
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