Island Hopping In Japan
Island nation is a term that really applies to Japan with 6,847 in the archipelago, each with their own unique culture and characteristics. Here are three destinations worth checking out.
Awaji Island is a part of Hyogo Prefecture and is the largest island in the Seto inland sea. Connecting Awaji Island to Kobe city is the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge or Pearl Bridge, which has the longest central span of any bridge in the world. The view from the bridge is breathtaking as are the more than 1700 lights fixed to the bridge which can be used to make various colors and patterns.
In recent years Awaji has become something of a creative hub as potters and artists have moved there to set up studios away from the big cities. Additionally, many young people have decided to forgo the traditional lure of the urban centres and move here to try their hands at farming. This migration has helped to create a vibrant, young community.
Sado IslandPhoto by JNTO
Sado Island is the largest island in Niigata prefecture and second largest island in Japan, after Okinawa. Sado Island is well-known for its abundance of nature and its cultural heritage, especially Noh. Noh is a traditional Japanese musical drama form, which has been performed since the 14th century. Sado is in a sense the home of the genre, as one third of Japan’s Noh stages can be found on Sado. This makes Sado the perfect place to experience the art form in a truly authentic and natural setting.
the Earth Celebration festival on Sado … draws tens of thousands of visitors from around the world
Additionally, Kodo, the Japanese taiko drumming sensation have created the Earth Celebration festival on Sado which draws tens of thousands of visitors from around the world each summer to enjoy a host of international music, and dance performances and artists of every kind.
Amami Oshima is a small island located in the stretch of ocean between Kyushu and Okinawa. It is a beautiful island teeming with flora and fauna, so much so that it has been nicknamed, the Oriental Galapagos.
The wildlife here includes several extremely rare and endangered species, such as the Amami Rabbit and Lidth’s jay, which can only be found on Amami Oshima. While you are here, try taking a leisurely kayak tour of the mangrove forests which thrive on the island. They are the second largest mangroves in Japan, and are seeking to be certified as a world heritage site.
The island is also blessed with crystal clear blue waters and white sandy beaches so ocean sports are a big attraction, including surfing and fishing. Not surprisingly, the diving and snorkeling spots on Amami Oshima are up there with the best in Japan, with plenty of coral reefs to explore, populated with all manner of tropical fish. After all that exercise, make sure to try out the island’s signature dish ‘keihan’ which is a chicken and rice dish available across the island.