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Awaji Island: The Ultimate Travel Guide for First-Timers

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Awaji Island, located in Japan's Seto Inland Sea, offers a perfect mix of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and modern attractions. Awaji Island promises an unforgettable experience whether you are seeking adventure or relaxation. This is the ultimate travel guide to Awaji Island for first-timers!

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Where is Awaji Island?

Awaji Island, situated in the Seto Inland Sea, is part of the Kansai region and lies between the larger islands of Honshu and Shikoku. Accessible via bridges from the cities of Kobe and Naruto, it would be ideal to reach by car. However, it is easy and convenient to use buses which operate both to and from the island.

From the Kobe area, the journey takes approximately 45 minutes by car, while it’s about an hour and a half from Osaka. Despite common misconceptions about accessibility, getting to Awaji Island is not as complicated as many believe.

Awaji Island stretches out like a gourd, boasting an approximate area of 592 km² according to data from the Geographical Survey Institute. To put that into perspective, it’s roughly equivalent in size to the 23 wards of Tokyo.

Access to Awaji Island

Awaji Island's Perfect Year-Round Weather

Awaji Island enjoys a mild climate thanks to its location in the Seto Inland Sea, with winters free from extreme cold. The island has an average annual temperature of around 15 degrees Celsius. While the island’s west side experiences brisk winds from the Harimanada Sea, resulting in high waves, the east side remains tranquil all year round, shielded by the island’s hilly spine.

This favorable climate nurtures a rich environment and yields a bounty of fresh foods. This includes the renowned “Awaji Island Onions”, flavorful “Awaji Island Sea Bream”, and the rare “Awaji Beef”. The ideal weather on Awaji Island sets the stage for many activities, whether you are exploring with friends, family, or going solo.

Awaji Island, the Birthplace of Japan

Awaji Island is deeply related to Japan’s cultural and historical narrative. The Kojiki, revered as the ‘Record of Ancient Matters’ recounts the mythic tale of kuniumi, or the birth of the country.

It begins with the divine beings Izanagi and Izanami, who, standing upon the celestial bridge of heaven, stirred the primordial chaos with a sacred spear. From the droplets that fell, Onokoro Island emerged, serving as the cornerstone of Japan’s foundation.

Upon reaching the island, the divine couple united in sacred matrimony and conducted a ceremony, heralding the birth of Japan. Awaji Island stood as the first creation born from this ceremony, symbolizing the heritage of the country.

Awaji Island has various sites and remnants linked to this legendary tale. Izanagi Shrine stands out as a prominent example, revered as one of the oldest and most significant shrines in Japan.

The Naruto Whirlpools, located at the southern end of Awaji Island along the Naruto Straits, evoke images of the mythical swirls depicted in the ancient tales. These natural phenomena occur when the sea’s stirring currents converge, creating whirlpools that continue to captivate visitors to this day.

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Exploring the Natural Wonders of Awaji Island

Awaji Island is a natural paradise providing impressive landscapes, from verdant mountains and lush forests to pristine beaches and vibrant flower fields. The island's coastline features picturesque beaches and rugged cliffs offering breathtaking ocean views, especially during enchanting sunsets that paint the sky in hues of orange and pink.

The agricultural landscapes, with terraced fields and fruit orchards, paint the countryside in shades of green and gold, while the sight of farmers tending to their crops and seasonal harvests of citrus fruits and onions adds cultural richness.

The agricultural landscapes, with terraced fields and fruit orchards, paint the countryside in shades of green and gold, while the sight of farmers tending to their crops and seasonal harvests of citrus fruits and onions adds cultural richness.

Awaji Island also offers stunning panoramic views, from high vantage points to coastal cliffs, perfect for photography enthusiasts and anyone looking to soak in the island's natural splendor.

Awaji Island as the Land of Food ("Miketsukuni")

Awaji Island, also known as the “Land of Food”, has a rich history of supplying food to the imperial court at an ancient time. With a self-sufficiency rate of 100% in food production, the island has a strong agricultural legacy.

Its thriving fishing industry further contributes to its bounty, providing an abundance of fresh seafood. Consequently, Awaji Island attracts numerous visitors eager to try its exquisite dining experiences.

Awaji Island offers some of Japan’s finest delicacies, including its onions, known for their sweetness compared to other varieties. The island’s unique geographical location also yields top-quality sea bream and Pike Conger. Additionally, Awaji Beef, prized for its rarity and tenderness, adds to the island’s culinary reputation.

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The Perfect Mix of Traditions and Modernity

Awaji Island is not just steeped in tradition, it’s also rapidly evolving through regional revitalization initiatives, particularly in its northern region. Harnessing the island’s ocean views and landscapes, a host of hotels, restaurants, and theme parks have emerged in recent years.

From anime attractions to Hello Kitty-themed experiences and innovative culinary offerings, Awaji Island caters to the tastes of the younger generation. Few destinations in Japan strike the balance between tradition and modernity as seamlessly as Awaji Island.

Most Famous Tourist Spots on Awaji Island

Let's take a look at some of the most popular spots on Awaji Island, beloved by visitors from around the world.

Nijigen no Mori

Nijigen no Mori is among the most popular attractions on Awaji Island, providing a unique experience where visitors can explore various anime franchises based on their interests. Whether it is taking on a ninja challenge at NARUTO & BORUTO SHINOBI-ZATO, immersing oneself in the RPG world of Dragon Quest, or venturing into the colossal stomach of Godzilla, there are diverse and unique experiences tailored for everyone.

©岸本斉史 スコット/集英社・テレビ東京・ぴえろ

Nijigen no Mori

HELLO KITTY SHOW BOX

HELLO KITTY SHOW BOX is a one-of-a-kind restaurant that combines entertainment, dining, and shopping through its innovative theater-restaurant concept. You can watch the Hello Kitty Jazz Band lunchtime performance, featuring live singing, dancing, and large-screen projection mapping. You can even meet Hello Kitty herself in "person" and take a commemorative photo together! The vegan cuisine, adorned with Hello Kitty themes, is not only delicious but also captivates the eyes.

HELLO KITTY SHOW BOX

HELLO KITTY SMILE

HELLO KITTY SMILE is a charming theme attraction that guarantees an enchanting encounter with the beloved Hello Kitty. This venue integrates media art, dining experiences, and breathtaking sea views of Awaji Island. Hello Kitty herself will come and see you at scheduled greetings! The on-site restaurant presents a diverse culinary array, from authentic Chinese cuisine to flavorsome one-pot courses.

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HELLO KITTY SMILE

Aman no Shokutaku

Our top recommendation is the Aman no Shokutaku restaurant. Aman no Shokutaku is dedicated to preserving the essence of Japanese cuisine passed down through generations. Given that, according to the Kojiki, Japan’s oldest historical records, Awaji Island is the country’s initial island, Aman no Shokutaku proudly embraces the core of Japan’s national delicacies, thoughtfully crafted from the island’s abundant ingredients.

Aman no Shokutaku

SEIKAIHA Aonoya

SEIKAIHA Aonoya is a renowned sushi/tempura restaurant celebrated for its Japanese cuisine and exceptional location on the West Coast of Awaji Island. Here, the freshest Awaji Island seafood is skillfully crafted into the best sushi and tempura dishes. The harmonious blend of delectable Japanese cuisine, picturesque surroundings, and innovative projection mapping ensures an unforgettable dining experience.

SEIKAIHA Aonoya

Awaji Island offers a wide range of attractions and charms. From traditional sites to modern destinations, theme parks to restaurants, there's something for everyone. For more information, please visit Awaji Island's tourism website below. 

Click here for more information about Awaji Island

Written by

Awaji Island, located in the Seto Inland Sea in Hyogo Prefecture, is known for its rich history, delicious food, and beautiful nature. Just one hour from Osaka, it offers a perfect escape from the busy cities of the Kansai Region. We are here to introduce you to the beautiful spots on Awaji Island, including hotels, restaurants, events, theme parks, and much more. This account is operated mainly as a PR effort by Pasona Group.

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting. Some of our articles contain affiliate links. We kindly ask our readers to exercise careful judgement when making a purchase or booking a service online.

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