Ganryu-jima: The Stage of Miyamoto Musashi & Sasaki Kojiro’s Duel!

Famous for being the location of Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro’s duel, Ganryu-jima is a small (deserted) island floating in the Kanmon Straits at Shimonoseki city, Yamaguchi prefecture.

There is no bridge to Ganryu-jima, but you can take one of boats that leave regularly from Shimonoseki or alternatively from Mojiko. From Shimonoseki, the boat departs from an area called Garado.

The actual time on board is a mere 10 minutes, but you get to see Kanmon Bridge!


And then you reach Ganryu-jima! The islands main attraction is these statues that depict a scene from the duel between Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro.

In comparison with Sasaki Kojiro’s calm and unconcerned expression (left), Miyamoto Musashi (right) attacks with a beast-like expression on his face! Kojiro is quite a good-looking guy and Musashi’s blood-curling expression is fine, too!


If you look carefully, you will see that the statues have been reproduced even to the smallest detail. The Sasaki Kojiro statue holds his katana with a backhand grip (left). This is his secret sword technique, the Swallow Cut!

Opposite him, the Miyamoto Musashi statue yields a long bokken (wooden sword) that he made from an oar!

The concluding moment of the great rivals! It is said that Musashi’s abnormally long bokken reached its target a split second faster than Kojiro’s Swallow Cut.


In addition, a boat-shaped “Ganryu-jima cultural monument” has been set up on the beach with a view towards Kanmon Bridge. Illustrations of Musashi and Kojiro as well as a verse from Genzo Murasaki’s work Sasaki Kojiro are engraved on this stone monument.

This is the Sasaki Ganryu Memorial. It’s not really a grave, but apparently there are many people who put their hands together to pray for the defeated Sasaki Kojiro.


It’s a small island, but standing on the grounds that witnessed the duel of two historical martial arts masters is an experience you will remember!
Boarding the boat again, we leave the island behind (red arrow in photograph).

It’s strange, but for some reason when you visit this island, you begin to feel deeply about the defeated Sasaki Kojiro.
Actually, the official name of the island is Funashima, but it is called according to the name of the defeated Sasaki Kojiro’s fighting style, ganryu (‘large rock style’). It must have been named in Kojiro’s memory at the time…

Of course, the wits of Miyamoto Musashi, who made a special wooden sword out of an oar, should be praised, as well. Such kinds of wild survival methods are certainly necessary in order to survive in this modern society!

How about visiting the site of the final showdown between two great warriors while enjoying the sea breezes of the Kanmon Straits?

Location: 648 Funashima, Hikoshima, Shimonoseki city, Yamaguchi prefecture
Guide Homepage: http://www.city.shimonoseki.yamaguchi.jp/kanko/ganryujima/  (Japanese)

Fees: From Shimonoseki – Adult return ticket JPY500 / From Mojiko – Adult return ticket JPY800
Guide Homepage: http://www.kanmon-kisen.co.jp/route/ganryujima.html (Japanese)

Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Hironobu Matsuoka


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Written by

Hironobu Matsuoka

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'.



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