What's Setouchi?

What's Setouchi?

Setouchi is the largest inland sea in Japan, surrounded by Hyogo, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Tokushima, Kagawa, and Ehime prefectures. A waveless and calm sea, islands that look as they were floating, and a large bridge that connects them. This is the scenery of Setouchi that we the Japanese people imagine. Of course, such scenery is essential in talking about Setouchi, but this region fosters a history and culture through the sea and creates a wide variety of tourist resources. Here we introduce the attractiveness of Setouchi, which many tourists visit from home and abroad.

Setouchi seen by numbers

We introduce the distinctive information on Setouchi, which straddles seven prefectures and is blessed with abundant nature, such as the sea and mountains.

Ranking of the size of islands

There are about 700 islands of different sizes and characteristics.
In order for you to understand the size of Setouchi, we compared the size of islands here.

  • 1Awajishima (Awaji Island)/Hyogo prefecture


    Awajishima is the largest island in Setouchi and is said to be as large as Guam. It is located almost in the center of Hyogo and Tokushima prefectures and bridges connect these prefectures.
    Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge runs from the Hyogo Prefecture side and is registered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's longest suspension bridge.

  • 2Shodoshima (Shodo Island)/Kagawa prefecture


    Shodoshima is an island that produces the most olives in Japan and is a popular tourist site among people of all ages. Kankakei Valley, where autumnal leaves are beautiful, and Angel Road, which appears due to the ebb and flow of the tide, are famous. This island is not connected by bridges but you can go to the island by ship from Okayama or Kagawa prefectures.

  • 3Suo-oshima (Yashirojima) (Yashiro Island)/Yamaguchi prefecture


    Suo-oshima is an island that is famous for its beautiful blue ocean, also known as Hawaii in Setouchi. Every year, many beachgoers visit the high transparency ocean. It is also famous as a mandarin-growing area, and guardrails, which are usually white, are painted in orange. Mikan Nabe (Mandarin Pot), for which mandarins with the skin are used, is also popular.
    *The orange-colored guardrails can be seen throughout Yamaguchi Prefecture.

World heritage

4 world heritages

Out of the nineteen world heritage sites in Japan, you can see four in Setouchi. Beautiful Himeji Castle in glistening white (Hyogo prefecture), the Atomic Bomb Dome that makes us think about the preciousness of peace, Itsukushima Shinto Shrine (Miyajima/Hiroshima prefecture) that is characterized by the vermilion torii gate, and Industrial Heritage Sites in Hagi (Yamaguchi Prefecture) that are counted as one of the legacies of the industrial revolution in Japan, and every one of them is a place worth visiting at least once. (As of November 2016)

The catch of oyster

The catch is 1,641 tons in Setouchi,
which is about 76% of the oyster catch in Japan.

The oyster catch in Hiroshima prefecture is the largest in Japan. You can see the scenery of Kaki Ikada (Oyster rafts) to culture oysters floating on the ocean along the coast. Kakioko, okonomiyaki (pancake with various ingredients) in which oysters from Hinase City in Okayama Prefecture, is also very popular. Please enjoy large oysters with the rich taste in Setouchi!

Types of citrus fruits

About 49 types of citrus fruits are grown in Setouchi.

In Setouchi where the rate of fine days is high and the climate is warm, many types of citrus fruits, including mandarins, lemons, sudachi, are harvested and distributed all over Japan. They are delicious on their own, but many processed products such as juice, jam, seasoning, etc., are produced that are good for souvenirs.

Number of sake breweries

Setouchi has about 275 sake breweries.

Two of the three major sake brewery sites in Japan are in Setouchi and Nada in Kobe (Hyogo prefecture) and Saijo in Higashi-Hiroshima (Hiroshima prefecture) are dotted with sake breweries popular among sake lovers. Delicious water is important in brewing sake, and Setouchi is characterized by the fact that there are many satisfactory sake breweries.

National park

900,000 ha, the largest in Japan

Setouchi is the first designated national park in Japan. Its area is too broad to be called as a park with over 900,000 ha in total area including its water area and is the largest area among the designated national parks. You will never get tired of looking at the scenery of the calm ocean surface and floating islands there, attracting many tourists from home and abroad.

Climate in Setouchi

Setouchi is characterized by the high rate of fine days throughout the year. Mountains on the Shikoku side during summer and on the main island side during winter (Chugoku region) block seasonal winds that make rain difficult. Climate is relatively warm among other areas in Japan and is said to be appropriate for sightseeing.

Distinctive sightseeing spots in Setouchi

We introduce sightseeing spots that you should know first in Setouchi. There are many spots to visit, ranging from traditional culture to world heritages, hot springs, and famous buildings. Please make your travel plans along with the articles posted in Setouchi Finder.

Iwakuni (Yamaguchi)

· Kintaikyo Bridge

Himeji (Hyogo)

· Himeji Castle (World heritage)
· Koko Garden

Kobe (Hyogo)

· Kobe Beef
· Kobe Harborland

Takamatsu/ Naoshima/ Kotohira/ Shodoshima (Kagawa)

· Ritsurin Garden · Kompira Shrine
· Naoshima · Shodoshima
· Great Seto Bridge

Tokushima/ Naruto/ Awajishima

· Awa Dance Festival
· Uzushio (Naruto Whirling Waves)
· Awaji Onion

Oboke/ Iya (Tokushima)

· Iya Valley
· Oboke Valley/ Koboke Valley

Okayama/ Kurashiki (Okayama)

· Korakuen Garden
· Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter

Shimanami Kaido Expressway

· Shimanami Kaido Expressway
· Tomonoura Bay
· Ohkunoshima

Shimonoseki (Yamaguchi)

· The Kanmon Straits
· Karato Market

Yamaguchi/ Hagi (Yamaguchi)

· Sites of industrial heritage (World heritage)
· Rurikoji Temple, Five Storied Pagoda (National treasure)
· Yamaguchi Xavier Memorial Church

How to get to Setouchi

Access by plane

Access by Shinkansen

From Tokyo/Osaka (Tokaido Shinkansen)

From Kyushu (Kyushu Shinkansen)

How to travel around Setouchi

To fully enjoy the beautiful sea and nature of Setouchi, sightseeing on the attractive islands is also recommended. You can easily access Miyajima, Naoshima, etc., by ferry or passenger ship. Please use the chart to visit the islands of Setouchi while enjoying the view of the calm sea.
*Not all ships are listed

The Hiroshima/Miya-jima area

The Shimanami Kaido Expressway area

The Naoshima/Shodoshima area