Awaji Island: The Road to Islands
Awaji Island located in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea between Japan’s largest island of Honshu and the large island of Shikoku, famous for their own special sweet onions! There are more than 10 beaches to enjoy on this island while experiencing the nature of Japan located in Hyogo Prefecture. Awaji originally means “the road to Awa” as it serves as a transit between two island.
Awaji is known for traditional puppet theatre bunraku and a very important role in the development of cultural art since as far as the 18th century during the Edo period. The Awaji ningyō jōruri troupe performs at Awaji Doll Jōruri Pavilion in Minamiawaji city. Awaji Ningyo Joruri was performed on a bigger scale outside and used big dolls and movements on stage.
Excelling in multiple style stage play and its flashy rendition and performance that is peculiar to Awaji, such as Hayagawari (quick change of costume), Dogugaeshi (change of setting), and Ishoyama (display of costume), were highly valued.
If you’re not into performing arts but love crafting more, you should enjoy your time making some incense in Awaji! Incense has been an important element of Japan’s way of life, Awaji is the birthplace of the tradition of incense and continues today to preserve this ancestral art. You can learn to make some in Kunjundo, 125 years old incense shop traditionally making incense for Japan and bringback a hand-made gift!
The Akashi-Kaikyō Bridge connects Awaji to the city of Kobe is the world’s longest suspension bridge. At almost four kilometers in length, here’s an amazing view from a height of approximately 300 meters. Before the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge was built, ferries carried passengers across the Akashi Strait in Japan, due to the danger of severe storms, two ferries sank resulting in 168 death of their passengers. The bridge was built in 1998 and took 10 years to complete.
Naruto Whirlpool, is one of the best natural phenomena that is rare to see in other parts of Japan (or even the world). The water begins to flow rapidly caused by two straits of tide collides forming high and low tides creating whirlpools to form in the central area. The size changes throughout the season, it is to be larger in summer than in winter, and are largest during spring tide. The tides are not dangerous for boats so you can take a closer magnificent view by taking a short 1 hour trip on a cruise ship from Awaji.
Sumoto City is the island’s largest city, located on the east coast of Awaji Island home to a number of historic sites that pre-date modern Japanese history. Sumoto Castle sits grandly high on a hilltop overlooking Osaka Bay. The castle was built in 1592 and has been reconstructed in 1928 in commemoration of the coronation ceremony of Emperor Showa. You can also see the ruins of the castle around it and the castle park you can enter for free. The Castle is ranked as one of the ‘Continued Top 100 Japanese Castles in 2017.‘
Awaji Island had a traumatic tragedy when they were hit by the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake, resulting in the death of more than 6300 people in and 249,000 homes destroyed in 1995. The Great Hanshin earthquake memorial museum was built to spread the word about a vital phase of local history and ensure that the lessons learnt from the tragedy. It also serves as a reserach institute for earthquakes.
Visitors can try out some games and experiments while learning about natural disasters and how to minimize risk and damage in future. There are also a small earthquake simulator for visitors to feel and experience the event happened.
Awajishima Museum lies in the city of Sumoto. Here you can see everything that are originated from Awaji, historically and traditionally all in one place. The museum building itselg holds a meaningful history as it is located on the former base of the Inada clan, who were the highest ranking samurai on Awaji for much of the Edo period. Although the museum is in Japanese, fret not as they have pamphletes in English for visitors.
If you’re feeling hungry, drop by Kitone for fresh and all organic cooked food made with Awaji grown vegetables. The cafe serves vegetarian dishes such as curry and rice, croquettes, miso soup and dessert made with fresh fruits.
Although the cafe is not certified halal, there are no meat or pork served in the establishment, visitors are to consume at their own discretion.