The Island of Prayers and Marine Sports
The Shiraishi Dance Held at Sunset is Very Mystical
Approximately 10 km in circumference and the second largest of the Kasaoka Islands, Shiraishi-jima Island has been famous for centuries for its picturesque scenery, and has even been designated by the government as a place of scenic beauty.
The Shiraishi Dance performed during the Obon season (mid-August) has been designated as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Asset by the Japanese government. It is said to have started to mourn for the souls of those who died in the Genji-Heike Mizushima War (1183). With dancers moving around in a variety of formations creating rings around the singers and drums, it is considered nationwide as an extremely rare form of Obon dancing. Many sightseers come to the island as part of a tour to observe and even participate in the Shiraishi Dance.
In summer there are many beaches on Shiraishi-jima Island that can be used for swimming, and they can be counted as one of three top swimming areas in Okayama Prefecture. Visitors can stay at guesthouses and seaside cottages, as well as enjoy sea kayaking and many other types of marine sports. Furthermore, with the International Villa, many foreign tourists can be seen sightseeing on the island.
There are also many other places to see. Located near the summit of a mountain called “Onigajo,” the Yoroi-iwa Stone Dike is a Nationally Designated Natural Monument, “yoroi” meaning armor. It has cracks and splits in it like the surface of a Go" board. It also has joints along is length and width which intersect at right angles, and is said to resemble ancient ceremonial court armor. It is certainly a rock face that lives up to the meaning of its name.
Furthermore, on ground higher up from the Stone Dike is the white “Bussharito” Buddhist tower (Busshari Stupa) built in 1970. It was dedicated from the Wat Paknam Temple in Thailand and allegedly contains Busshari (bones of Shakyamuni) and enshrines the image of the historical Buddha of 1,200 years ago.
Reference: Kasaoka Shimazukuri Kaisha NPO website
Places to See on Shiraishi-jima Island
There is a well-maintained hiking course along which can be seen beautiful landscape such as unique rock formations and stone constructions, including the Yoroi-iwa Stone Dike, as well as the ocean. Also, the Kairyuji Temple, Buddhist Tower and a wide variety of other structures add to the scenery to be enjoyed.
Swimming and marine sports can be enjoyed in the summer and visitors can take advantage of the accommodation facilities to enjoy a restful stay. Delicacies from the sea only available on the island can also be savored.
Many sightseers come to the island as part of a tour to observe and even participate in the Shiraishi Dance.
|Highest Point (Mt. Tateishi)
- There are hiking courses. You will want to wear clothing and shoes that are easy to walk in.
- Swimming and marine sports are there for you to enjoy also. There are accommodation facilities that accept reservations for those who wish to experience marine sports.
- There are also tours for you to watch and take part in the Shiraishi Dance.
* For rates, inquire with the various facilities.
Access to Shiraishi-jima Island
To reach Shiraishi-jima Island, use a ferry that arrive and depart from Fushigoe Port, or the regular passenger vessels operated by Sanyo Kisen out of Sumiyoshi Port in Kasaoka.
Both stop at Shiraishi-jima Port, but the Sumiyoshi boarding dock and the one for the ferries are about a 10-minute walk apart.
Available are ① the Sanyo Kisen Ferry (Shiraishi Ferry) and ② Kanafuro Ferry. Be aware there some Kanafuro Ferries which do not stop at Shiraishi-jima Island.
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.
- Both ferries and regular passenger vessels arrive at Shiraishi-jima Port.
- There are also Kanafuro Ferries which do not stop at Shiraishi-jima Island, so be aware.
- If you depart on a ferry but return on a regular passenger vessel, or vice versa, you will have to walk between the ports. It is best to confirm the locations in advance.
- Also, be sure to carefully check the times for both the departing and returning vessels.
- Water taxis are an option we recommend.