Japan is an island nation with lots to offer given its small amount of land make no mistake about that. The three best-known islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, and Okinawa, but Japan has over 3000 habitable islands waiting to be seen. Shodoshima is one of these islands within an island and has beauty, scenery, and a wide selection of foods containing the island’s main crop: olives.
Shodoshima is a patch of land with plenty of entertainment and scenery for vacationers and couples. Located in Kagawa prefecture, the island is only wide enough to walk around in one day, but has lots of date spots. Stepping off the ferry and onto the islands rich soil, your first plan may be to head to the beach. There is clean, beautiful beach everywhere for you to spend your time. The waves are not high enough for surfing, but is still ideal for jogging around or swimming. One of the main attractions is Angel Road, a sandbar connecting to the islands. It is Shodoshima’s romantic spot. A popular belief there is that when a couple walks the road to the neighboring island and makes a wish, that wish will be granted. At certain times of the day an ebb tide will emerge or disappear covering the sand bridge, so be ready to catch a glimpse.
Next on your small island tour might be taking pictures and walking through Shodoshima’s lush landscape and scenery. It is called Olive Island, so there are lots of olive farms for one to see and tour through. You could also take a ropeway tour through the luscious Kankakei Gorge. This tour will leave you breathless as you witness a panoramic view of the vegetation-rich mountain through the window of a gondola. Autumn season is the best time to see this mountain and its vast foliage. Hiking is also a possibility through Kankakei, with two spots to hike in.
Photo : Ippei & Janine Naoi on FlickrWhat draws many tourists to Shodoshima is the Eiga Mura (movie village) which contains the set from the movie 24 Eyes; also a famous book about a teacher and her pupils. The original school building and playground are still intact and available for viewing. Each year tourists come from all over Japan to see this movie set for a taste of cinematic nostalgia. You can walk through the same environment the actors did.
Of course, once you are on Shodoshima, you will find the island has a unique food scene and flavors you probably did not know existed. Shodoshima is famous for homemade soy sauce. Places like Marukin Soy Sauce Historical Museum offer tourists a detailed description on how this sushi condiment is made. Stores all over sell the islands brand soy sauce, so be sure to find some to store in your pantry.
Shodoshima’s olives are the island’s key produce but also it’s favorite ingredient. They put them in just about anything you can eat. The peculiar olive selections include olive chocolate, sugar-coated olives, olive salt, olive pasta, olive cake, and of course olive oil. While on the island you may walk into any store or gift shop and will find a selection of olive-flavored products that may dazzle you with questions like, ‘is that possible’?
Photo : kimtetsu on FlickrShodoshima is obsessed with olive oil and soy sauce. You can find it in their unusually flavored ice cream at gift shops and attractions. These flavors may be new to you. They are actually very popular with tourists providing a new gastronomic experience. With flavors like soy sauce and olive oil, you may never look at ice cream the same way again.
Shodoshima is a port city, so there is some foreign influence to spot. Some European architecture includes the Greek windmill and Greek columns overlooking the sea.
Despite Shodoshima’s many foreign attractions, there are still the typical Japanese elements you can find everywhere else like beautiful onsens, luxurious ryokans, quality sushi restaurants, rice paddies, and somen noodle factories.
To transport to Shodoshima, you can leave from Okayama Port by ferry or from Tokyo by airplane.