Manabe-shima Island

An Island of History and Movies
You can walk around leisurely enjoying the fishing village that hasn't changed from long ago.

Walk and Play Around the Islands

Photo: Manabe-shima Island

Situated roughly 31 km from the Kasaoka Port-Sumiyoshi Boarding Dock in Kasaoka City, it is thought that the island’s name means the island at the edge due south, in other words, the island on the southernmost tip of Bichunokuni Oda County. The characters to write the name were later assigned as phonetic equivalents, not necessarily for their meaning.
The story goes that at the end of the Heian period, the powerful Fujiwara clan used the island as a base of operations for its navy, taking the name for the island from the Manabe clan. In their heyday, they governed all of the islands in the vicinity. There are historical ruins, such as the remains of the castle built by the Manabe family who took the side of the Taira family (Heike) during the battle of the Genji and Heike clans. There are also the remains of the two-story Buddhist tower built it is said in memory of the dead. Also remaining is the Sankashu personal collection of poetry composed by the famous poet, Saigyo Houshi. These are just some of the many records, ruins and events steeped in history that still exist on the island, giving Manabe-shima Island more historical prominence than any other in the Kasaoka Islands.
The port contains stone embankments and maintains the appearance of a peaceful fishing village. This has led the prefecture to officially designating it as a “Hometown Village.” Used as the backdrop for the Japanese film, “MacArthur's Children," among other movies, the island’s landscape and scenery lends themselves very effectively to the running portable shrine festival, and other famous events, enticing a large number of sightseers.
In addition, the island is home to many clowders of cats and attracts increasing numbers of tourists who come to enjoying observing them.

Reference: Kasaoka Shimazukuri Kaisha NPO website

Places to See on Manabe-shima Island

Click on the map to enlarge

The townscape of Honura with all its charm and elegance and the Manabe-shima Junior High School used as a location in movies must been seen. Known as the “Island of Cats," cat lovers will be enthralled with the island. The main sightseeing spots on the island can be reached on foot.
The running portable shrine festival held in early March is a powerful sight to be seen. If you intend to visit around that time of year, you really should plan your itinerary around the exact time and date.

Island Data

Area 1.48 km2
Circumference 7.6 km
Highest Point (Mt. Shiro) 127 m
Sightseeing Hints
  • There are 2 places to stay and several establishments for eating and drinking. Be aware that some of the establishments for eating and drinking require reservations.
  • To visit many of the main sightseeing spots, it is convenient to get off the ferry at Manabe-shima Port (Honura Port). You can get around on foot.

Photo: Manabe-shima Junior High School

  • With Friends
  • Seniors
  • See
  • Photo

Manabe-shima Junior High School

The wooden school buildings for many Japanese bring back fond memories of their past.

The wooden school was built in 1949 and is still in operation today. Many tourists visit because of its nostalgic appearance and it is well...

Photo: Enfuku Temple

  • Seniors
  • See

Enfuku Temple

Founded in 795 by the famous monk Kobo Daishi, it is an ancient temple of the Shingon sect of Buddhism and has been preserved with...

Photo: Manabe Residence & Elaeocarpus Sylvestris

  • With Family
  • With Friends
  • Couples
  • Seniors
  • See
  • Photo

Manabe Residence and the Elaeocarpus Sylvestris

The Large Tree Right Next to the House Lends an Air of History.

The Manabe family prospered during the closing days of the Heian Period as a very powerful clan on the island. The main building is officially...

Photo: Manabe-shima Hometown Village Archives

  • With Family
  • With Friends
  • Seniors
  • See

Manabe-shima Hometown Village Archives

The second floor of the waiting area at the arrival dock at Manabe-shima Port has been made available as a museum and achieves free...

Photo: Manabe-shima Fureai Park

  • With Family
  • With Friends
  • Couples
  • Play
  • See
  • Photo

Manabe-shima Fureai Park

Raising winter chrysanthemums on Manabe-shima Island used to be quite popular and it became known as the “Island of Flowers.”...


Name Capacity Charge TEL Website
Guesthouse Ryoshi-Goya 10 people For reservations for 2 or more people,
the charge would be ¥5,000 per person for a room without meals,
and ¥10,000 per person for a room with dinner.
60 people From ¥10,800 0865-68-3515 Official Website


Name Menu Capacity TEL Spot Information Website
Ryoka Fishermen’s Food
(reservations required)
30 people 0865-68-3519
Funade udon noodles, ramen, set meals 18 people 0865-68-3900
Cafe Otani Coffee/Tea/Orange Juice
*Open only on
(contact required)
20 people 090-3176-8087

Access to Manabe-shima Island

Click on the map to enlarge

To get to Manabe-shima Island, use Sanyo Kisen’s regular passenger vessels which depart from Sumiyoshi Port in Kasaoka. There are the ①② “Kasaoka - Sanagi Honura” sailing routes and ③ “Kasaoka - Hi-shima Islands - Mu-shima Island” sailing route, however, there is only one sailing a day for ③.
For Manabe-shima Island, ①② “Kasaoka - Sangi-Honura” sailing routes are recommended.
The ① High-speed Ship does not stop at Iwatsubo Port.

You can also travel to the different islands using a water taxi service. Depending on the number of people in your group and your plans, you may want to consider this option.

* There is a ferry boarding dock at Fushigoe Port inside Kasaoka Port, but be aware that the ferry goes to Kitagi-shima and Shiraishi-jima Islands. The ferry ports on Kitagi-shima Island (Toyoura Port and Kanafuro Port) are far from the ports for the regular ferries (Kusunoki Port and Kitagi-shima Port) heading to Manabe-shima Island. And there are not means of transportation on the island, be careful not to make any mistakes.

  • When departing, you would use the boarding dock for the regular passenger vessels located on the Kasaoka Port-Sumiyoshi Boarding Dock. The ferry does not stop at Manabe-shima Island.
  • You would want to travel along the “Kasaoka - Sangi-Honura” sailing route for the regular passenger vessel. The high-speed ship is fast and convenient.
  • Where the most sightseeing spots are is in the vicinity of the Manabe-shima Port (Honura Port).
  • Also, be sure to carefully check the times for both the departing and returning vessels.
  • Water taxis are an option we recommend.

Access-Related Information


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