Date Visited: April 27, 2019
Kagawa Prefecture is known for its outlying islands that attract visitors for their awe-inspiring art. Among these, the small island of Awashima draws but a small crowd, its charms known to few people.
Things to See in Awashima
Most people visit Awashima for the Missing Post Office, an interactive art project that keeps postcards with undeliverable addresses.
Awashima Artist VillageOne other Setouchi Triennale art installment is available on the island is the Awashima Artist Village. Once the site of a junior high, the place is now used to house guest artists as a part of a program run by Mitoyo City, where artists are invited to stay on the island. Art is one of the ways in which Awashima attracts visitors and hopes to revitalize its greying population.
In the months of July to September, Awashima is also known for umi-hotaru, literally “sea fireflies.” These marine creatures are bioluminescent and create an ephemeral sight as they light up in blue against the dark summer night sky.
I have personally not seen the phenomenon, but it’s among the things on my bucket list.
At one point, Awashima was also the site of the National Sailor School. While no longer operational, the building remains open to the public, its halls providing both thrill and nostalgia for wandering guests.
What I Love About Awashima
Unlike neighboring islands that are arguably aiming to draw an Instagram-loving crowd, Awashima is simple, perhaps even boring to those looking for a vibrant atmosphere. But in the two times I have been on the island, it’s precisely the quiet that I find comfort in.
You meet very few people as you explore the island; sometimes it even feels like you have the island all to yourself. While there, I actually practiced riding a bike, having only learned how to do so a week prior. Had I done this in Tokyo, I’d have felt embarrassed for being an adult and not being able to successfully maneuver a bicycle, but I didn’t have to worry about prying eyes in Awashima.
On occasions that you do meet locals, they are very friendly and would not mind stopping to chat. While I was petting some of the island’s stray cats, an old woman actually got out of her house to greet me. She even gave me a pack of decorative shells, saying that there’s nothing else on the island so she wanted to give me a souvenir.
I believe the charms of Awashima are better expressed in photos than in words, so I’ll let the gallery below do the rest of the talking.
Awashima Photo Gallery
Access to Awashima
The community bus is right outside JR Takuma Station and costs 100 yen. It’s best to tell the driver where you’ll be getting off so that you don’t miss your stop.
The ferry to Awashima costs 360 yen one-way. Both times I’ve been there, the port was unmanned, but you can buy tickets from a vending machine placed inside the waiting room.
There are around three ferries to Awashima every hour, but the ferries that go from Awashima to Suda Port are very limited. The water taxi is a lot more expensive with a rate of ¥2000 per person, but it can pick you up shortly after you call so it might be a better option when making your way back.