If you think of Aichi prefecture, you might think of places like Nagoya Castle or Toyota Automobile Museum. However, for something a little different, I would highly recommend visiting an art island known as Sakushima. This island is located between Shita peninsula and Amami peninsula, and it’s famous for its local art and beautiful surrounding nature. My advice is to take the day trip route to explore Sakushima island! It’s accessible by ferry from Nagoya Sakushima island, as well as from Isshoku port in Nagoya.
To get here, first take a train from JR Nagoya station to JR Nishio station, then hop on a Meitetsu bus (Nishio Isshiki Line) to Isshiki Sakana Hiroba/Sakushima Iki Funanoriba. If you get on Nishio Shiei Kousokusen (Nishio City high speed ferry) for 820 yen (adult), you’ll reach Sakushima island from Isshiki port in around 25 minutes. In Sakushima island, there are east and west port. In west port, there are hotels and beaches; and in east port, there is “Ohirune House” which is an art installation that attracts both the young and old as a popular photography spot.
Here’s a tip: If you want to check into a hotel before walking around the island, you should take off at east port. But if you’re all ready to go sightseeing, then you should take off at west port…and make the hotel your end goal.
Name: Sakushima Address: Hirako Sakushima Isshiki, Nishio, Aichi 444-0416 URL: http://sakushima.com/guide/koutuu_kouji.php
Find your favorite beachside
In the nearby area of west port of Sakushima Island, there are several beaches such as Shigake, where Ohirune House is located, and Tannnashi, which is where you’ll find many small shiny stones. These beaches have different features compared to the beaches in other islands in Japan such as Tsutsushima island and Oshima. If you have the time to spare, do visit the nearby beaches and find out which ones you like. I love how you can spend the day doing nothing…but simply relaxing and picking up shells. The time spent on the island will surely cure your fatigue and make you feel absolutely refreshed!
Ohirune House is synonymous with Sakushima island. Painted in black, it’s constructed to look like a giant box made up of small squares, and you can sit or lie down inside the small square space to look out to the ocean. It’s said that you can see the ocean in different perspectives once inside. For me, it’s a super relaxing experience just listening to the gentle sound of the nearby waves.
Another attraction on the island is “East house”, which is located on the other edge of Ohirune House. Its white architecture is in sharp contrast with the black-painted Ohirune House. East house is a square box that features an open space where you can go up the stairs and get on the roof to soak in the beachside scenery. The view of the ocean is breathtaking...and the feeling of the ocean breeze on your face is truly amazing. Love taking photos? Do bring your camera along as the contrast of the blue ocean and the stark white architecture is just stunning! You’ll be pleased to know there are many art works to discover around the island.
There’s the charming Ojizou-san, the guardian deity of children, and you’ll recognise his statue with his tongue sticking out. There are also places on the island to explore such as villages with black walls, old style restaurants and beaches…and they all make fantastic photo souvenirs of Sakushima island!
In a parking lot of Oura Beach, there are plenty of seagulls gathered here and some may even send you off and say goodbye. Locals call it “gulls parking lot”, and it has a flock of metal seagull sculptures on stilts. ln Sakuhima island, there are many ways to call winds. When the wind is coming from the east, it’s called “Kochi”; and from the south, it’s called “Maze”. If you feel the breeze from the east, please say “It’s kochi!”. This can be a great icebreaker to start a conversation with the locals!
Sakushima island is recently becoming a popular art island that attracts both locals and tourists. There are many other unique art works to discover besides the ones I shared with you today. Japan is filled with many sightseeing spots, and it’s a good idea once in a while to escape the crowded urban cities and visit the islands to spend a relaxing day. In Sakuhima island, youi’ll feel the warmness of the locals on the island and touch the beauty of Japan.
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