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Exploring the Hidden Gem of Japan: Shodoshima Island

Exploring the Hidden Gem of Japan: Shodoshima Island

Nestled in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan, Shodoshima Island stands as a pristine haven for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, and foodies alike. With its diverse landscapes, cultural heritage, and delectable culinary delights, Shodoshima offers a unique experience to every traveler. In this blog, we will take you on a journey through this enchanting island, uncovering its hidden treasures and sharing valuable information to make your visit truly memorable.

It is part of the Kagawa Prefecture which is known for its scenic beauty and mild climate. Shodoshima is the second-largest island in the Seto Inland Sea and is famous for its stunning landscapes, olive groves, and traditional Japanese culture.

Shodoshima Island Olive Garden
Shodoshima Island Olive Garden

One of the island’s most popular attractions is the “Angel Road,” a natural sandbar that appears during low tide, creating a pathway between Shodoshima and nearby islands. Couples often visit Angel Road to walk along the sandy path, believing it will bring them luck in love.

Another well-known feature of Shodoshima is its olive cultivation. The island has a Mediterranean-like climate, making it suitable for growing olives. Olive-related products, such as olive oil and cosmetics, are widely available for purchase on the island.

Shodoshima Island Olive Garden
Shodoshima Island Olive Garden

Quick Information about Shodoshima Island

LocationSeto Inland Sea, Japan
AreaApproximately 153 square km
PopulationAround 30,000
ClimateMild and temperate
CurrencyJapanese Yen (¥)
Time ZoneJapan Standard Time (JST)
Major AirportTakamatsu Airport (TAK)
Shodoshima Island Olive Garden
Shodoshima Island Olive Garden

Best Time to Visit Shodoshima Island

SeasonIdeal Time to Visit
SpringMarch to May
SummerJune to August
AutumnSeptember to November
WinterDecember to February
Senmaida Nakayama Terraced Rice Fields at Shodoshima Island
Senmaida Nakayama Terraced Rice Fields at Shodoshima Island

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Ways to Reach Shodoshima Island

Shodoshima Island is well-connected to major cities in Japan, making it accessible for travelers. Here are the common ways to reach the island:

Ferry: Ferries operate from Takamatsu Port on the mainland to Tonosho Port on Shodoshima. The ferry ride offers breathtaking views of the Seto Inland Sea and takes approximately 30 minutes.

Bus: From Takamatsu Airport, you can take a bus to the Takamatsu Port and then hop on a ferry to Shodoshima.

Train and Ferry: If you prefer the scenic route, take a train to Okayama Station and transfer to the Seto-Ohashi Line to reach the port. From there, board a ferry to Shodoshima.

Nazo no Machi at Shodoshima Island
Nazo no Machi at Shodoshima Island

Activities to Do on Shodoshima Island

Shodoshima boasts an array of activities that cater to different interests:

Olive Grove Tours: Since Shodoshima is famous for its olive cultivation, take a tour of the island’s olive groves and learn about the olive oil production process. You can also sample and purchase various olive products.

Angel Road Visit: Time your visit to Angel Road during low tide to walk along the sandy path that appears between Shodoshima and neighboring islands. It’s a romantic and unique experience, especially for couples.

Kankakei Gorge Hiking: Explore the breathtaking Kankakei Gorge, known for its stunning autumn foliage. There are several hiking trails that offer different levels of difficulty, providing opportunities for both casual walkers and avid hikers to enjoy the scenery.

Twenty-four Eyes Movie Village: Visit the film set of the famous Japanese movie “Twenty-four Eyes” and get a glimpse of traditional Japanese village scenes. The village offers a nostalgic atmosphere and an opportunity to learn about Japanese cinema history.

Beach Relaxation: Shodoshima has beautiful beaches where you can relax, swim, and enjoy the sun. The calm waters of the Seto Inland Sea make it an ideal spot for a beach day.

Onsen (Hot Spring) Experience: Unwind and relax in one of the island’s hot spring resorts. The island has several onsen facilities that offer soothing baths with picturesque views.

Shodoshima Olive Park: Visit Olive Park, which features beautiful gardens, olive trees, and an observation deck with stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.

Cycling Tours: Explore the island on a bicycle. Shodoshima has well-maintained cycling paths that take you through scenic routes and quaint villages.

Traditional Crafts Workshops: Engage in hands-on experiences with traditional crafts, such as pottery making or weaving, to learn about Shodoshima’s local heritage.

Nakayama Noson Kabuki at Shodoshima Island
Nakayama Noson Kabuki at Shodoshima Island

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Food Options on Shodoshima Island

Shodoshima Island offers a delectable array of food options that showcase its local flavors and specialties. Here are some must-try dishes and food experiences on Shodoshima:

Olive-Based Dishes: As the island is famous for its olive cultivation, you’ll find various dishes incorporating olives and olive oil. Try olive-flavored ice cream, olive bread, olive tempura, and salads drizzled with locally-produced olive oil.

Sanuki Udon: Shodoshima is part of the Kagawa Prefecture, known for its delicious Sanuki udon noodles. Enjoy a bowl of thick, chewy udon served in a flavorful soy-based broth with various toppings.

Seafood: Being an island, Shodoshima offers an abundance of fresh seafood. Don’t miss the chance to try local catches like sardines, sea bream, octopus, and squid, which are often prepared in traditional Japanese styles.

Shoyu (Soy Sauce) Ice Cream: A unique dessert found on Shodoshima is shoyu ice cream. It may sound unusual, but the combination of sweet and salty flavors is surprisingly delightful.

Olive Beef: Taste the island’s specialty meat, known as “Olive Beef.” The cattle are fed olive pulp, which is said to enhance the flavor of the beef, resulting in a tender and rich taste.

Olive Rice: Try “Olive Rice,” where cooked rice is mixed with chopped olives and olive oil, creating a flavorful and aromatic dish.

Igeta Seafood Market: Visit the local seafood market to experience the vibrant atmosphere and get a taste of freshly caught seafood. Some stalls even offer seafood on skewers, grilled to perfection.

Local Sake: Pair your meals with local sake, as Kagawa Prefecture is also known for its production of high-quality rice wine.

Kawara Soba: Kawara soba is a regional specialty of Kagawa Prefecture. It’s a unique way of serving cold soba noodles on a hot tile, which gives the dish its name (“kawara” means roof tile).

Traditional Japanese Cuisine: Savor authentic Japanese dishes at local restaurants and inns, where you can enjoy seasonal delicacies and beautifully presented meals.

Kankakei Ropeway at Shodoshima Island
Kankakei Ropeway at Shodoshima Island

Accommodation Options Near Shodoshima Island

When visiting Shodoshima Island, you have several accommodation options available on the island itself or in nearby areas. Here are some popular choices:

Ryokans (Traditional Japanese Inns): Experience authentic Japanese hospitality by staying in a ryokan. These inns offer traditional tatami-matted rooms, futon bedding, and delicious kaiseki meals showcasing local ingredients.

  • Shodoshima Traditional Inn – Experience the charm of a traditional Japanese ryokan with tatami-matted rooms, futon bedding, and exquisite kaiseki meals featuring local ingredients. Enjoy warm hospitality and immerse yourself in the island’s culture.

Hotels and Resorts: There are various hotels and resorts on the island, ranging from luxury establishments to more budget-friendly options. Many of these accommodations offer stunning views of the Seto Inland Sea.

  • Oceanview Resort Shodoshima – This scenic resort offers stunning views of the Seto Inland Sea. It provides comfortable rooms and modern amenities, making it a perfect place to relax and enjoy the island’s natural beauty.
  • Shodoshima Bay Hotel Suimeiso – Located near the coastline, this hotel offers a mix of Western-style and Japanese-style rooms. Guests can unwind in the hot spring baths and savor delicious meals while overlooking the sea.

Minshuku (Guesthouses): Minshuku are family-run guesthouses that provide a warm and friendly atmosphere. They are a great way to experience local life and interact with the island’s residents.

  • Nami no Ue Minshuku – This family-run guesthouse offers a cozy and friendly atmosphere. Guests can experience the warm hospitality of the locals and enjoy simple, comfortable accommodations.
  • Momo Minshuku – Another welcoming minshuku where guests can enjoy a homey stay and get a taste of local life on Shodoshima Island. The hosts often provide homemade meals, adding a personal touch to the experience.

Pensions: Pensions are small lodging establishments, often with a more casual and homely atmosphere. They are suitable for travelers looking for a comfortable stay without the formality of larger hotels.

  • Shodoshima Sea House – A quaint pension overlooking the sea, providing a relaxing ambiance. Guests can enjoy the tranquility of the island and explore nearby attractions easily.
  • Green Cottage SHIMA – Nestled amidst lush greenery, this pension offers a peaceful retreat. It’s an excellent option for nature lovers looking to immerse themselves in the island’s beautiful landscapes.

Vacation Rentals: Look for vacation rental options such as cottages, villas, or apartments on the island. These can be a good choice for families or groups of friends seeking more privacy and space.

  • Shodoshima Olive Villa – This vacation rental provides a private space for families or groups. With olive groves nearby, guests can experience the island’s olive-related culture up close.
  • Island View Cottage – As the name suggests, this rental offers breathtaking views of the surrounding ocean and landscape. It’s an ideal spot for those seeking a secluded getaway.

Capsule Hotels: If you prefer a unique and budget-friendly experience, some capsule hotels can be found in nearby towns on the mainland, offering a compact and convenient stay.

  • Capsule Hotel Kowloon (Located in nearby Takamatsu city on the mainland) – For budget-conscious travelers, this capsule hotel offers a unique and affordable stay with basic amenities.

Business Hotels: For travelers seeking basic amenities and a central location, business hotels are available in nearby cities like Takamatsu, with easy access to Shodoshima via ferries.

  • Takamatsu Washington Hotel Plaza – Located in Takamatsu city, this business hotel provides convenient access to Shodoshima Island. It’s a suitable option for business travelers or those looking for modern amenities.
  • APA Hotel Takamatsu Airport – Situated near Takamatsu Airport, this hotel offers easy access to transportation. It’s a practical choice for travelers flying in and out of the region.

Campgrounds: If you enjoy camping, Shodoshima has campgrounds where you can pitch tents and enjoy the natural surroundings.

  • Shodoshima Olive Park Campground – Nature enthusiasts can enjoy camping amidst the olive trees at this campground. It’s an excellent way to experience the island’s natural beauty up close.
Angel Road, Shodoshima Island
Angel Road, Shodoshima Island

Places to Visit Near Shodoshima Island

Here are some notable places to visit near Shodoshima Island:

Naoshima Island: Often referred to as the “Art Island,” Naoshima is famous for its contemporary art museums and installations. It’s a short ferry ride from Shodoshima and offers a unique blend of art and nature.

Teshima Island: Another art-centric island, Teshima is known for its art museums and sculptures set amidst picturesque landscapes. It’s easily accessible from Shodoshima via ferry.

Inujima Island: Like Naoshima and Teshima, Inujima is known for its art exhibits and installations. It also features a renovated copper refinery turned into an art space.

Takamatsu: The main city of Kagawa Prefecture, Takamatsu is a vibrant city with modern attractions like shopping districts, historical sites, and the beautiful Ritsurin Garden.

Kotohira Shrine: Located in Kotohira town, this Shinto shrine, also known as Kompira-san, is a significant pilgrimage site in Kagawa Prefecture. Climbing the steep steps to the main hall rewards visitors with beautiful views.

Marugame Castle: Explore Marugame Castle, one of the few remaining original castles in Japan. It offers a museum and a panoramic view of the city from its top floor.

Seto Ohashi Bridge: Take a drive or ride along the Seto Ohashi Bridge, a series of bridges connecting the Honshu and Shikoku islands. The bridge offers stunning views of the Seto Inland Sea.

Kankakei Gorge: Located on Shodoshima Island itself, this scenic gorge is a must-visit for nature lovers. Hiking trails provide stunning views of the colorful autumn foliage.

Twenty-four Eyes Movie Village: Visit the movie village on Shodoshima, which was used as a set for the famous Japanese movie “Twenty-four Eyes.” Experience a glimpse of traditional Japanese village scenes.

Angel Road: On nearby islands such as Ogijima and Megijima, you can experience Angel Road, a natural sandbar that appears during low tide, connecting the islands. It’s a unique and romantic experience.

24 Eyes Movie Studio at Shodoshima Island
24 Eyes Movie Studio at Shodoshima Island

Shodoshima Island is a hidden gem that leaves a lasting impression on all who visit. Whether you’re seeking natural beauty, cultural experiences, or gastronomic adventures, this charming island has it all. From olive parks and stunning gorges to art-filled neighboring islands, Shodoshima promises an unforgettable journey through the heart of Japan’s mesmerizing Seto Inland Sea. 

Embrace the island’s tranquility, immerse yourself in local traditions, and create memories that will stay with you forever. Plan your visit to Shodoshima and embark on an extraordinary adventure like no other.


1. What are some popular outdoor activities to enjoy on Shodoshima Island?

Shodoshima Island offers various outdoor activities, including hiking in Kankakei Gorge, exploring Angel Road during low tide, cycling through scenic routes, and relaxing on the island’s beautiful beaches.

2. Are there English-speaking guides available on Shodoshima Island?

3. How can I book ferry tickets to Shodoshima Island?

4. Is Shodoshima Island suitable for families with children?

5. Can I rent bicycles on Shodoshima Island?

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