Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

Journey to Aichi's Second Largest Island

Photo: tomo tang on Flickr

Journey to Aichi's Second Largest Island

Melicia Hewitt

My lungs thanked me as fresh air flooded my insides. Sun rays caressed my face, and droplets of water sprayed my hair as my head strained to glimpse Sakushima. The ferry ride was approximately 25 minutes long, from Isshiki Ferry Port.


On disembarking the ferry, I proceeded to explore my surroundings. The waves were hypnotic, crashing against the islands silhouette. Men were sitting on the border of the island, fishing. They were propped up high on walls or towers of rocks, focused on the task at hand.


I could hear seals, but I couldn’t see them. I stared at the water in determination to locate the source of the sounds. I was still staring at the picturesque scenery, when four friends approached an island resident. My name was introduced and I snapped out of my trance.


The genial man explained that the paradise had only about 300 residents. He also told us to try the famous island delicacy called Konowata. He explained it is made with the salted intestines of sea cucumbers. He dwelled further describing that it is the taste of ‘iso.’ From what my Japanese friend explained, it just means ‘it tastes like the sea.’

After the farewells, we took a pathway that lead us into a cluster of houses. Each house had bunches of onions, tamanegi, hanging off the sides. After passing endless tamanegi, we decided to utilize a map and head to the edge of the island.


We walked through flora and fauna.


The trees provided shade from the sun but also housed unidentifiable creatures. There were statues representing belief, everywhere, neatly positioned and sometimes hidden from immediate view.


After, emerging from an opening in the mini forest, we descended some steps, and landed on top of a cluster of rocks, overlooking the ocean, lining Mikawa Bay. I stood with my feet firmly planted and arms outstretched. I felt like I was on top of the world. The view was simply breath-taking.


After descending the rocks, we walked across a pathway in the midst of the water. It seemed that every step across inspired romance as everyone in the vicinity was either holding hands or hugging. My group of friends stood out like a sore thumb in the romantic scene.


We soon found the beach. We relaxed on the sands watching the ocean. No one spoke for a long time as it seemed words had no place there. I fingered the sands in search of seashells, as my friend attempted to break small rocks.


Afterwards, we ventured towards the famous art on the island. The art was more impressive than I had anticipated. We were able to climb inside the art piece, take photos, and view the island from different angles. I was impressed.


After locating and utilizing two pieces of famous island art. We walked aimlessly around the island, admiring the architecture of the houses. We spoke to anyone who was willing to converse, getting a feel of island amiability.
Soon, it was time to go. The chatter that had accompanied us on the ferry to the island was missing. The line was solemn as people dragged their feet forward. We all seemed to share a similar disappointment in leaving. It just felt like, it was too soon. We boarded the ferry.


Soon the island was behind us.