Shodoshima- Japan: An Olive Paradise In The Sea


There are many hot springs and richly spread groves of olive here, and you can take a nice dip into the springs after a day’s busy itinerary of sightseeing. Little known in the international tourism circuit but popular nonetheless amid locals, Shodoshima is an island of Japan that with valleys and scenic locales can translate into a Mediterranean holiday right in Asia. This is one of the two biggest islands located in Seto inland sea and has a mild climate favorable for growing a variety of fruits and olives. It’s for this reason that the first olive plantations in Japan were started here and so once you’re in Shodoshima you’re sure to get your plates full of local olives to relish!

A day’s trip to Shodoshima is often not enough, you’d want to stay back to explore more of its ruggedly green boundaries although day trips are easily available from Okayama, Kobe, Shikoku and Oskaka. Once you’re at Okayama a ferry ride drops your to the island within an hour. The ferry is a great experience and you can enjoy light snacks through your journey as you watch the multistory buildings disappearing and vast expanses of water right ahead. Towering over the sea and on the island is the peak Mt Hoshigajo-san. The name translates as ‘Mount kingdom of stars’ and there’s a plateau on its western edges that drops into cliffs and gives you a panoramic view of different valleys.

If you visit Shodoshima during autumn you’ll find yourself surrounded with spectacular colors of the seasons. The Kankakei gorge attains a multi leafed hue making it a remarkable sight. You can take the ropeway up to it or drive up by car. There are also hiking trails running into steep turns across the forest. Roughly 2-3 kilometers long and reached within an hour. Be careful as this is monkey country and you’re likely to run into several groups of wild monkeys! You’ll also find huge and differently shaped rocks along the way. There are valleys like Kanka that is deemed amid the most scenic in the country. Tonosho, the most populated town within the island has busy markets. At village Tanoura you’ll run into magical surroundings and cobbled waterways.

The valley of Choshi-kei also offers a great view. The island is the site where stones used for building the 15th century Osaka Castle were quarried and picked from. Sighting the hills across the sea can be rejuvenating. When you’re in Shodoshima your eyes will soon grow used to such stunning backgrounds. Breathe in the cool air and let your senses be free of any stress.

There are several top notch hotels on the island where you can enjoy the oriental spa sessions and traditional Japanese hospitality. As you travel inroads into the island you’ll come really close to the lifestyle of locals inhabiting the island that still retains a flavor. The island really lets you explore its different corners at your own time and means. So cycle around through the roads or take a bike on hire and ferry it across for more fun.