Eshima Island, located in Iwaya fishing harbor in the north of Awaji Island, is also known as Onokoro Island.
According to the creation myths in Kojiki (Japan’s oldest historical record) and Nihon-shoki (oldest chronicles of Japan), Izanagi (a god) and Izanami (a goddess) dropped a heavenly jeweled spear in the middle of the great ocean. After churning the spear and lifting it up, the salt water that trickled down piled up and became an island where before there had been nothing.
This became the first domain of Japan, and was called Onoroko Island. There are various theories about the island’s location, including one that refers to the whole of Awaji Island. But even within Awaji Island there are several places that claim the legendary status of being Onoroko Island.
Eshima Island is one of the locations referred to in those legends. It’s a small island with geologically rare (nearly) 20 million year old exposed layers of sandstone, characterized by the shape of its eroded rock surface.
Eshima Island, located at the corner of Iwaya fishing harbor… It’s more like a boulder than an island, but it’s a unique sight.
Right next to Eshima there is a high-speed ferry terminal, and the location can be easily accessed from Akashi on the Honshu side, as well.
An around a 2-minute walk from the high-speed ferry terminal, there is a bridge that leads to Eshima Island. Setting one’s foot ashore at a location that may be the oldest domain of Japan is an exciting experience.
We reached Eshima Island! There is a peculiar pattern on the bedrock. Apparently it’s a scientifically valuable geological formation, as well.
On top of Eshima Island stands a small torii gate, and the air is filled with a sacred atmosphere. Furthermore, the area with the torii gate is off limits, so you cannot climb to the top.
The inner part of the island is level, and benches made out of stone like this one have been set around. The ocean seascape seen from these special seats is wonderful!
A little further on from the special seats you can also see Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge. Eshima Island’s rock surface with a hint of yellow is clearly different from the surrounding bedrock… Standing here you can’t help but think about the works of ancient gods!
Eshima Island, an island that may just be Japan’s oldest domain.
It’s a small island with a sacred atmosphere that has lately been brought to the attention of many as a location flowing with mystical energy.
Location: 884-4 Eshima, Iwaya, Awaji city, Hyogo prefecture
Guide Home Page: http://www.awaji-web.com/index.php?sightseeing_eshima (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Hironobu Matsuoka
Hironobu Matsuoka / Photo-writer Born in 1974 in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, and currently living there, Hironobu is the president of Mediapolis Inc. "I travel around the country in Solar King, an eco-camping car that has a solar power generator, and film the beautiful scenery of Japan in high-definition. I want to move around the country as much as possible and leave behind videos of precious Japanese nature and scenery for future generations to enjoy. Although I travel all over the country, I love my home area of Setouchi." 'Healing Japan TV' - Traveling virtually around the country through 'healing videos'.
> A guided tour, including teatime, where you can see the former “Koshien Hotel” – “Frank Lloyd Wright type” architecture by Arata Endo. / Koshien Hall at Mukogawa Women’s University (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo)
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
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