Setonaikai National Park -Shikoku/Kyusyu Area-
Setonaikai National Park consists of about 3,000 islets, small and large, and is famous for offering a sweeping view of huge clusters of islands floating in the calm inland sea. One such example of such beauty can be obtained in the view of the Bisan Archipelago as seen from Mt. Washu. Areas of white sandy beaches bordered by green pines, such as those found along the Shibukawa coast and in Keino-Matsubara, as well as terraced fields and other scenes of people living in a state of intimate connection with nature are signature attributes of this park.
<Where to see>
The Naruto Strait is famous as the site of giant whirlpools. The name "Naruto" is derived from "Naru (roaring) Seto (Inland Sea)" and refers to this narrow location through which roaring tidal currents pass.
These tidal currents are the fastest in Japan and the third fastest in the world.
The entire coastal area overlooking this strait has been designated a part of Setonaikai National Park. Many vantage points and tourism spots can be found here.
The nearby Ogejima and Shimadajima islands, the Konaruto Strait, and the Okazaki Coast by the eastern tip of Naruto City have all been designated as belonging to the Setonaikai National Park.
The second largest island in the Seto Inland Sea after Awajishima, Shodoshima Island is famous as the setting of the film Nijuyon no Hitomi ("Twenty-Four Eyes"). A scenic area rising 812 meters above sea level, the Kankakei Gorge is considered one of the three most beautiful gorges in Japan. The beauty of the ravine, the fresh verdure of spring, and the glorious foliage of fall at this location are truly impressive. The view of the Seto Inland Sea from the Kankakei Gorge is also breathtaking.
The entire eastern coastline of the island, the foot of Mt. Goishi in the southeast corner of the island, Mt. Shirahama at the southern tip of the island, and the entire area of Mt. Oto in the western part of the island are all part of Setonaikai National Park.
Parts of Teshima and Naoshima islands and all of Ogijima and Megijima islands have been designated as belonging to the Setonaikai National Park. Teshima is an island that was shaken up by a controversy involving the illegal dumping of industrial waste. Its natural environment is being restored to its original state after years of lobbying by residents.
According to legend, Ogijima was given its name after a folding fan ("ougi") belonging to Nasuno Yoichi drifted ashore during the time of the Genpei Wars. A lighthouse on Ogijima is famously featured in the film Yorokobi mo Kanashimi mo Ikutoshitsuki ("Times of Joy and Sorrow").
Megijima is also known as Onigashima Island and is deeply intertwined with the legend of Momotaro. There is a cave atop Washigamine Peak in the north end of the island where fables say that ogres dwell.
The Shirotori Coast, Kinrin Park, and Cape Ogushi in the eastern part of Kagawa Prefecture have been designated as belonging to the Setonaikai National Park.
The Shirotori Coast constitutes bold cliffs with complex geological layers visible to visitors. In particular, a lamprophyre dike swarm in Kaburagoshi has been designated a National Natural Monument.
Tsuda-no-Matsubara (Kinrin Park) is a site of scenic beauty combining a beach of white sand with a forest of thousands of beautiful old-growth pine trees, including a number of pine trees with exposed roots believed to be over six centuries old, set a kilometer back from the water's edge. As one of the leading pine-covered areas in Shikoku, Tsuda-no-Matsubara was a place beloved by connoisseurs of art since days of old. Kinrin Park was named for the musical sounds created as the sea breeze cuts across the tops of the pine trees here. ("Kin" can be read as koto, a traditional instrument.)
The entire area of the Cape Ogushi has been maintained as Ogushi Natural Park. Visitors can take advantage of hotspring facilities, tennis courts, an outdoor music hall, and more.
Situated in the middle of the prefecture, Yashima is an island-shaped lava plateau consisting of a pyroxene andesite formation measuring 5 kilometers from north to south and 2 kilometers from east to west and sitting on a granite base. Until recently a real island, Yashima gradually became estranged from the sea through a build-up of the shallow zone at its base. Dannoura at the east end of this plateau is famous as the setting of the Battle of Yashima as chronicled in The Tale of the Heike.
Yashima comprises Hokurei (North Plateau) and Nanrei (South Plateau). The summit of Nanrei is the site of Yashimaji Temple, the eighty-fourth stop on the famous pilgrimage of eighty-eight temples on the island of Shikoku, and the New Yashima Aquarium (formerly known as Yashima Sanjo Aquarium). Shishinoreigan commands a spectacular view of Takamatsu City and the area in the direction of Seto Ohashi Bridge. From Dankomine, one can see Mt. Goken and the area in the direction of an old battleground used in the Genpei Wars. The view of the Seto Inland Sea from the Yukakutei lookout platform on Hokurei is also very famous.
The Shiwaku Islands consist of twenty-eight large and small islands, including Honjima, Hiroshima, Yoshima, Ushijima, Teshima, and Oteshima. The Shiwaku name derives from shioyaku ("boiling sea water to get sea salt"), in reference to the fact that the manufacturing of sea salt was a flourishing industry in Sakaide and other local areas, and from shiowaku, in reference to the fact that these seas have always been rife with turbulent tidal currents.
Virtually all areas of all islands comprising the Shiwaku Islands have been designated as belonging to the Setonaikai National Park. Well known as the base of the Shiwaku navy, these islands have played many historic roles. The Kasajima district on Honjima is designated as a preservation district of important historic buildings.
Also known as Sanuki-Hiroshima to differentiate it from Hiroshima Prefecture, the island of Hiroshima is the largest island belonging to the Shiwaku Islands. High-quality granite is produced here. The island also hosts a triathlon event.
It became possible to reach Yoshima by automobile after the Seto Ohashi Bridge was built across the island. The island features a parking area and a Fisherman's Wharf.
Goshikidai is a hilly plateau district whose highest peak is Mt. Inoshiri (483 meters above sea level). This area is marked by mesa and butte formations.
Goshikidai ("Five-Colored Plateau") is named for its five constituent hills named after different colors: Shiramine ("White Peak"), Kuromine ("Black Peak"), Kounomine ("Red Peak"), Aomine ("Blue Peak"), and Kiinomine ("Yellow Peak").
The Goshikidai Visitor Center is a source of fascinating information on the natural environment and the lives of the people residing in the Seto Inland Sea area.
Sanuki-Goshikidai National Park Resort Village, nature trails, and other facilities have been built in this district to allow visitors to savor local natural wonders and recreational activities at a leisurely pace.
In the Nishi-Sanuki area, Mt. Kotohira (Mt. Zozu) has been designated a part of the Setonaikai National Park. Mt. Zozu was so named for the fact that the peak as seen from the Kotohira Kaido highway resembles an elephant's head. Kotohiragu Shrine is located partway up the slope and has been protected as a sacred site of the Kotohira faith.
The Shonai Peninsula is famous for its connection to the legend of Urashima Taro. Its highest peak, Mt. Shiude, offers an excellent vantage point from which to obtain a 360-degree view of the Seto Inland Sea.
Comprising a beautiful pine-wooded sandy beach named Ariake-no-Hama, Kotohiki Park is the site of a depiction of a kanei-tsuho coin using sand. This amazing creation has been entitled Zenigata-Sunae.
Consisting of hundreds of islands and islets, the Geiyo Islands are situated between Hiroshima Prefecture and Ehime Prefecture. The characters comprising this name come from the old provincial names corresponding to these two prefectures (Aki Province for Hiroshima and Iyo Province for Ehime).
Mt. Sekizen on Iwagijima, Mt. Tateishi on Ikinajima, Mt. Washigato on Omishima, Mt. Hokosan and Mt. Hiraki on Hakatajima, Mt. Kiro on Oshima, and other locations in the Geiyo Islands (belonging to Ehime Prefecture) have been designated as belonging to the Setonaikai National Park.
Omishima is known as the island of the deity enshrined at Oyamazumi Jinja Shrine. Mt. Tateishi on Ikinajima is the site of a nature-integrated park called Sound Hakanda.
Observatories on Mt. Hiraki and Mt. Kiro offer excellent vantage points from which to observe the Tajima Sea, Kurushima Strait (known for its tidal currents), Funaore-Seto, Hanakuri-Seto, and other places of interest.
Takanawa Peninsula is a peninsula located in the center of Ehime in the northwest corner of Shikoku. The Itsukinada and Kurushima straits pass through its western and northern sections while the eastern section of the peninsula faces Hiuchinada.
Matsuyama City is located in the western section, Imabari City is located in the northern section, and Saijo City is located in the eastern section. Places designated as belonging to the Setonaikai National Park dot the peninsula.
Such places include the Sakurai Coast, Karako Beach, Kamoike Coast, and Hashi Beach (all famous for being the sites of pine-wooded sandy beaches), as well as Mt. Chikami (which commands a distant view of Okadohana and the Seto Inland Sea) and Mt. Seta and Mt. Kasamatsu (where medieval mountain castles were built).
Toyo Facility Complex Area in the cities of Imabari and Saijo have been developed to allow visitors to enjoy resort-type experiences at Setouchi-Toyo National Park Resort Village, campgrounds, and sea-bathing areas.
Among the locations in central Ehime that have been designated as belonging to the Setonailai National Park are Gogoshima Island and the Kutsuna Islands, which are situated in the western part of Matsuyama City, and Mt. Izushi, which lies on the border between the cities of Yawatahama and Ozu.
Gogoshima is an island situated offshore in Matsuyama Bay. A slightly elevated peak in the southern part of the island is referred to as Mt. Kofuji for its graceful shape. This peak serves as a landmark for ships plying Setouchi routes as they head towards port in Matsuyama.
Shussekiji Temple, which is affiliated with the Shingon sect of Buddhism, stands on Mt. Izushi. Dense woods occupy the spacious precinct grounds. The peak also commands views of the Ishizuchi Mountain Range and the Seto Inland Sea.
The Cape Sada at the end of the Sadamisaki Peninsula has been designated a part of the Setonaikai National Park. The cape points to Saganoseki Peninsula in Kyushu. These two peninsulas bracket the Hoyo Strait (Hayasui-no-Seto) at the narrowest part of the Bungo Channel. Standing at the tip of the Sadamisaki Peninsula is Sadamisaki Lighthouse (18 meters tall and a focal plane of 49 meters).
While constituting an important location for marine traffic, the area is also famous for being one of the most dangerous places to pass in the region on account of the presence of Ogonbae and numerous other reef formations.
◆Mekari Park Area
The western tip of Setonaikai National Park is occupied by Mekari Park, which is situated on Mt. Kojo, a slightly elevated peak facing the Kanmon Strait and located in Moji-ku, Kitakyushu City. Brimming with greenery, this park is a popular destination among residents of Kitakyushu City and tourists. The view of Kanmon Bridge (height up to the vehicular road level is approximately 61 meters; length of the bridge is 1,068 meters) from the Kojozan Observation Point and Mekari Sanso (an inexpensive lodge run by the local government) is well worth seeing.
- setonaikai area across Tokushima, Kagawa, Ehime, and Fukuoka