Osakikamijima is located in Hiroshima Prefecture. Although it’s an island, it’s easy to get to; ferries pass to and fro from the mainland several times a day. In this article, I’m going to introduce a new way of enjoying the island!
The Electric Vehicle – “Mobility”
I traveled around the island in a small electric vehicle nicknamed “Mobility” (Nissan’s New Mobility Concept), which can carry 2 people. There are 3 places on the island where you can rent one, and it was my first experience of driving such a car. The tourist information center will teach you how to drive it and let you practice before heading out. It almost feels like a toy when you’re driving it, and it’s pretty fun! Let’s go!
The Mysterious Tunnel
A short while after turning off the main road, I came upon a tiny, adorable tunnel. Dug out and constructed by hand in the early Showa Period (1926~1989) by local people, the name of the tunnel is Ogorosu. It’s a tight fit for regular cars, but my Mobility went through without a problem!
The Citrus Fruit Island
On the other side of the tunnel was a large mikan tangerine farm. Both climate and temperature are favorable for growing the fruit, so you can find numerous mikan farms across the island. The trees are so close to the road that you can almost reach out and grab a mikan from the car window. Apparently, in springtime the island is bathed in the scent of fresh mikan. Driving slowly, I heard a voice coming from the trees.
Some farmers were picking dekopon mikan and stuffing them into bags as I was driving by. One of them – a kind woman with a gentle and warm voice – asked me where I was from and offered me a mikan.
The Island Beauty of Setouchi
Climbing up and down the mountain road, the view soon opened up to reveal a stunning panorama of the fantastic Setouchi scenery of azure waters dotted with green islands. This is the true charm of the Seto Inland Sea.
Next, I came across the old town of Kinoe. The area was a prosperous harbor town from the Taisho Period (1912~1926) until the beginning of the Showa Period (1926~1989). As it’s sandwiched between the sea and the mountains and has very little flat land, many 3-story (and more) buildings have been constructed. In the photo above you can see a 5-story wooden residence that was built in 1917. It’s incredible to think it has been there for 100-years!
Osakikamijima is known for having a prosperous shipbuilding industry. You can watch shipbuilding in progress from the road, and if you’re really lucky, you may be able to witness the launching ceremony of a shiny new ship.
Iwao Akiyama’s Fusama Paintings
The last stop on my drive was Shokobo Temple, which was built 900 years ago. The famous poet Santoka Taneda visited Osakikamijima in 1935-1936, and during his stay he composed a poem that has been carved in stone. In 2008, the temple was visited by the famous woodblock printmaker Iwao Akiyama – a student of Shiko Munakata – who was following Taneda’s footsteps.
During his stay at Shokobo, Akiyama created a fusuma (sliding paper door) painting as a token of his gratitude. Although he was 88-years old when he painted it, his work has a sense of force and awesomeness. There are more paintings of his at the temple, and if you’re lucky, you might find them.
Come to Osakikamijima and experience a relaxing drive around the island for yourself!
Location: Kamigumi Higashino, Osakikamijima, Toyota District, Hiroshima Prefecture
●The Island Beauty Vista
Location: Sotoomote Higashino, Osakikamijima, Toyota District, Hiroshima Prefecture
●The 5-Story Wooden Building
Location: Kinoe, Osakikamijima, Toyota District, Hiroshima Prefecture
Address: 65-1 Kinoe, Osakikamijima, Toyota District, Hiroshima Prefecture
Address: 2425-4 Higashino, Osakikamijima, Toyota District, Hiroshima Prefecture
●Mobility Rental Places
Osakikamijimi Tourist Information Center
Tarumizuko (information: Sanyo Bus)
Rental Fees: 3 hours – 3,240 yen. 6 hours – 4,320 yen.
※Reservations required. Additional insurance fee of 500 yen applies.
2 people per car. The driver must have a driver’s license.
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Nana Takei
> 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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