Choshikei Gorge extends along the upstream of the Denpo River running through Shodoshima Island. Shodoshima Skyline (Prefectural Road 27) connects it with Kankakei Gorge, which is counted as one of Japan’s Three Fine Gorges. Shodoshima Island is famous for wild monkeys, and Choshikei Gorge is also a home to hundreds of monkeys. You could visit Choshikei Monkey Park at the foot of Mt. Sentakubo, where the mode of life of wild monkeys can be observed nearby. Some of them are friendly to human beings because of the food handouts.
Following the trail up the mountain, you will pass by Onote-hime Shrine, a tiny shrine, which enshrines Princess Onote, the founder of Shodoshima Island. At the top of the mountain is the observatory, where you can have a calm and peaceful moment, viewing the panoramic landscape of the Seto Inland Sea.
In fall, trees with crimson foliage beautifully add colors to the clear stream of the gorge.
Mt. Iinoyama, 422 m above sea level, is a beautiful conical mountain in the border of Marugame City and Sakaide City in Kagawa Prefecture. Being called “Sanuki Fuji,” this fine-shaped mountain has been turned in to verses by many poets including Priest Saigyo and Takahama Kyoshi in the old times and Emperor Showa in the modern times. At the top of the mountain, the stone monument inscribed with the Emperor’s poem is erected.
The way to the mountain top is a good hiking course, where you can enjoy flowers of wisteria, peony and lespedeza in each season. A gigantic stone “Ojyomo no Ashiato (footprint of a legendary giant)” on the way is what to see. From the top of the mountain, you can command a panoramic view of the mountains in Sanuki Plain such as Mt. Nekoyama, Mt. Otakamine and Mt. Oasayama, beyond which the Seto-Ohashi Bridge and the Seto Inland Sea are seen.
Megi-jima Island, which is a part of Setonaikai National Park and about 20 minutes ferry ride from Takamatsu Harbor, is often called by its nickname of Onigashima (Ogres' Island), which derives from a long cave located in the hillside on the island. Since it was discovered in 1930, it has been associated with the ogres’ den in the story of Momotaro.
From the platform above the cave, you can command a panoramic view of the Seto islands including Oshima, Kabuto-jima and Yoroi-jima as well as the attractive fishing village at the foot of the hill, where houses have high stone walls called “ote” to provide protection from cold wind called “Otoshi” in winter.
In Takamatsu City Onigashima Oninoyakata Museum at Megi port, many objects concerning ogres are exhibited.
Yashima is a peninsular lava plateau in the northwestern part of Takamatsu City. It used to be an island but was connected to land by a reclamation work in the Edo period (1603-1868). From its table-shaped land feature, which looks like a roof, it was named Yashima (Roof Island).
Yashima is also a historic site pertaining to the Taira clan. In 1183, the Taira clan, who were driven away from the capital, built a fortress and an improvised palace for 6-year-old Emperor Antoku after a long string of defeats by the Minamoto clan. Then in 1185, Minamoto no Yoshitsune attacked them and they had the fierce Battle of Yashima, which is well-known for the episode of Nasuno Yoichi firing his shot at a fan atop the mast of a Taira ship.
Being called the best scenic spot for viewing the Seto Inland Sea, Yashima is visited by a lot of tourists. Yashimaji Temple, which was rebuilt in the Muromachi period (1336-1573), is a nationally designated Important Cultural Property. In the precinct is an attached shrine that enshrines Minoyama Daimyojin, the head of all the raccoon dogs in Shikoku.
The three-story pagoda at Kojoji Temple in Onomichi City, Hiroshima Pref. was built in 1432 by the donation of two local merchants named Nobumoto and Nobumasa. This is a 3 x 3 bay three-story pagoda with a tile roof, which is 19 m tall to the tip of the vertical shaft at the top. Its well-balance shape and detailed decorations in Chinese styles are worth seeing. Especially beautiful are the fine carvings given to the end of bracket arms, the bracket complex under the corner rafters and the decorative metal pieces attached to the final on the pagoda. It is very rare that the upside-down lotus design is used to decorate the four corner pillars supporting the balustrades of each story and that the main pillars supporting the railing of the altar has a ball shape decorative objects (“hoju”) placed in Chinese style double-blossom lotus. The decorative struts set in the bracket complex take the shape of hanging petals. These gorgeous decorative designs were distinctive to the Seto Inland Sea area in those days. This pagoda is a fine example that shows a high cultural level of the Muromachi-period architecture.
Futago-ji Temple is located on the slopes of Mt Futago, the highest mountain on the Kunisaki Peninsula in Oita Prefecture. The temple flourished as the main temple in Rokugomanzan.
The temple is said to have been built in the second year of the Yoro period (718) by Ninmon-bosatsu, the incarnation of the deity Usa-hachiman. The name of the temple comes from Futago-daigongen, the son of Usa-hachiman. In the Heian period, a unique religion mixing local gods and Buddhism developed in the Rokugomanzan Buddhist area and many temples were founded along the Kunisaki Peninsula.
On the grounds of Futago-ji Temple are a big hall, the Okunoin building, 100 Kannon sattues, the Ninnou statue and mossy stone steps that give you a sense of the past.
The temple area was designated as the Seto Inland Sea National Park as well as one of Oita Prefecture's Historical Places. It is also one of Japan's '100 best places for bathing in woods'. Many people visit the temple throughout the four seasons.
Mt Washu is located in Shimotsuitanoura, Kurashiki district, Okayama Prefecture. More precisely, it lies at the southern tip of the Kojima peninsula.
It is called Mt 'Washu' because, from the northeast side, it resembles an eagle ('washi') spreading its wings. The mountain is famous for its view of islands and the Seto Ohashi Bridge in the Seto Inland Sea. Even Nanba Tendo, a haiku poet, claims: 'I want the whole mountain as a souvenir.'
At night the Seto Ohashi Bridge is illuminated making a fascinating sight. In clear weather the mountains of Shikoku, on the opposite shore, can be seen from the observatory tower. In 1934 Mt Washi was designated as the Setonaikai National Park and in 2004 it was selected as a special region within the park.
Because of its preserved streets, its history and its natural scenery, Kurashiki is the foremost sightseeing spot of Okayama Prefecture. In 1979, the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Area was designated as a Preservation District of Historical Buildings.
The old town of Kurashiki embodies the atmosphere of the Edo period. The town has a subtle harmony of white walls, black 'hongawarabuki', 'nameko' ('sea cucumber') walls, warehouses, lattice windows and the willow-lined river. The town also has many cultural attractions, such as the Ohara Museum of Art. Beautiful buildings, such as the Kurashiki Museum of Folk Craft and the Kurashiki Museum of Archaeology, may be visited. In addition, the Kibi Tumulus is an historic site dating to the ancient Kibi kingdom, which prospered in past.
Other sites around Kurashiki that are popular to visit include Mt Kijo, the birthplace of Momotaro, as well as the historic Kibi-Tsu shrines. Moreover, Kurashiki is known for its scenic views of the beautiful Seto Inland Sea. From the peak of Mt Washu, there is a splendid view of scattered islands among silent waves and the magnificent Seto Ohashi Bridge.