The Seto Inland Sea – An Introduction


Covering an area some 1.3 times (23,203 ㎢) bigger than Shikoku, and with a coastline about 2.5 times longer (7,230 km) than the total length of Japan, the Seto Inland Sea area is quite large!


Here are some tips on how to view the region:


By roughly piding the Inland Sea into 3 areas, the eastern “Bisan Seto”, the middle “Geiyo islands”, and the western “Bōyo islands”, it is easy to fathom the characteristics of each.



Firstly, “Bisan Seto” lies between the prefectures of Okayama and Kagawa on the eastern side of the Seto Inland Sea. Defined by a myriad of tiny islands dotted here and there, visiting by boat is the best way to enjoy this area. Despite lacking major sightseeing spots (because they are so tiny), you can still taste simple, traditional island style living. Lately, the area has been drawing the attention of contemporary art organizations, such as Benesse Art Site Naoshima and Art Setouchi.



Situated around the Shimanami Expressway between Hiroshima and Ehime prefecture, the most concentrated area of islands is the “Geiyo islands” in the middle of the Inland Sea. Compared with Bisan Seto, the islands are bigger, and as they appear to overlap, it’s easy to imagine that they are a land mass rather than inpidual islands. However, bridges connect several of them, so access to the many sightseeing spots is easy.



Situated between Yamaguchi and Ehime prefectures, we find the “Bōyo islands” on the western side of the Inland Sea. Consisting of the Suō-Ōshima islands, the Kumage islands, and the Kutsuna islands, the area has the more tropical atmosphere of exotic southern islands, especially since emerald green seas surround them. In addition to the beautiful natural environment, over the centuries the area has been influenced by the cultures of both Korea and China, as well as by the customs of Kyushu.


Hope this helps a little when planning your trip to the Setouchi islands…



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