If you drive to Awaji Shima from Kansai, you must cross the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (such a beautiful bridge!) and soon, you will come to the Awaji Highway Oasis, a rest stop for travellers. However, we rarely stop since, despite the spectacular views, there are usually too many people. This time, however, we decided to stop since it was spring, and there's a beautiful garden behind the rest stop that is easily accessible on your return to Kobe. It did not disappoint! We wished we had more time to explore, though. Maybe next time.
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge: www.japan-guide.com/e/e3559.html
Awaji Highway Oasis: thegate12.com/spot/1327
We went on yet another short trip to Awaji Shima – our third since the new year. We ended up staying in the small town of Sumoto. This wasn't our first time staying there since usually, we visit in February when it is much colder, and our options are limited. This time the weather was gorgeous, and we spent most of our time outside exploring the town and enjoying the beach. We also discovered some fantastic local restaurants. On the morning we left, we visited a local indigo dying studio, AiAii, which had a small shop. They grow the plants used for dyeing locally, and the process is very time-consuming. It was all very interesting, and I'd love to take one of their workshops one day. We will be back – but probably not until next year.
Sumoto Trip Advisor: www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g1022843-Sumoto_Awaji_shima_Hyogo_Prefecture_Kinki-Vacations.html
AiAii (Japanese): aiaii.blue/
AiAii FB Page (English): https://www.facebook.com/AiAiiIndigo/
Sometimes when we travel, my husband takes me on a "just trust me" expedition. Of course he tells me enough that I've got the right clothes and such but the destination is a secret. He enjoys the surprise and I do too! And he rarely gets it wrong. (Mind you, he might get lost along the way!)
And so, this was how, in late February, I was introduced to Senkoji Temple, one of the highest points on Awaji Shima. I had no idea where we were going as we drove up a steep, narrow windy road to a tiny, empty parking lot. We then proceed to walk up multiple sets of steep stairs - up and up and up... The large temple complex was deserted except for a friendly cat and someone sweeping away debris from a statue up at the very top. We spent our time exploring and enjoying the views. Thanks so much, Husband! Another winner!
I highly recommend a visit. However, apparently the parking lot is packed on weekends. Best to take a taxi from the station.
More in English: https://japanwonder.com/2019/01/05/senzans-senkoji-temple-temple-on-the-first-mountain-of-the-first-island/
More in Japanese: http://www.awaji-13butsu.com/
On Awaji Shima, there is a famous weeping plum tree called 八木のしだれ梅 (Yagi No Shidare Ume / Yagi's Weeping Plum). It's a single tree and is spectacular when it is in full bloom! It's located in the countryside at the Murakami residence and is a popular place to visit in the early spring.
This was our second visit to see this tree. The first time the tree was in full bloom. This time, it still had at least another week to go, even though we were visiting on the exact same day as the year before.
Ah, well. It had been unusually cold for most of February, resulting in everything being a bit behind. Not to worry, though! It was still stunning.
If you'd like to know more about the tree, visit the links below.
(Oh, by the way! The last time we visited, they were selling small weeping plum trees - the same kind as the one in their yard. We bought one, brought it home, and this spring, it bloomed! I posted a photo of it on February 28th.)
I love visiting Awaji Shima, and we go several times a year, usually in the early spring when we have a break from work. We always drive and, over time, we have discovered many enjoyable places to visit, shop, and eat. There's always more to explore, of course, but still, it's fun to revisit the familiar. (One of my favourite stops is a store for local farmers. I have found many treasures there that I can't get in the big city!)
The next few posts will be related to our last visit in late February. It was pretty windy and chilly with highs of +7°C, but the sun was out, and spring was in the air.
We had a wonderful time! We always do! (^.~)
I'm a photographer based in Osaka, Japan. I love to take photographs. I like to share.