A short boat trip away from Takamatsu lies the idyllic island paradise of Shodoshima. Set in the heart of the marine Setonaikai National Park, the Inland Sea’s second-largest island allures travelers with its abundant natural beauty—from sandy beaches to breathtaking gorges—and masterpieces crafted by renowned artists from Japan and around the globe.
First-time visitors will be welcomed at the port by Gift of the Sun (Taiyo no Okurimono), a golden crown of olive leaves crafted by the Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa. With each of its leaves engraved with a message from a local child, the piece represents Shodoshima’s status as one of Japan’s foremost olive-producing regions since the fruit was first introduced to Kagawa Prefecture in 1908. Also paying tribute to the island’s signature export is Regent in Olives, a delightful creation by the Japanese sculptor Hisakazu Shimizu of an olive-shaped head with a pompadour (“regent”) hairstyle that sits amidst an olive grove. Wander the winding streets of Tonosho—boasting nostalgic architectural themselves—to find an imaginative art installation of phantasmagoric alleys and cavernous spaces.
On Shodoshima, art wrought by Mother Nature is also on full display. Stop by Angel Road, where the ebbing tide reveals a glorious island-spanning path of glimmering golden sand. Then, head to the center of the island and Kankakei Gorge, where you can ride a ropeway offering spectacular vistas of the ravine, its view awarded a Michelin star and renowned as one of Japan’s three most beautiful gorges. Culinary history buffs and architecture enthusiasts are sure to enjoy a trip to Hishio no Sato (“Soy Sauce Village”), where one of Shodoshima’s signature products is produced to this day in traditional storehouses—about twenty in all on the island—some of which have stood since the late 19th century. Looking for a rest? Stop at Shodoshima Olive Park, and treat yourself to healthy and flavorful dishes prepared with locally-sourced olive oil in the pastoral setting of a hillside overlooking the sea.
Artistic stimulation, natural beauty, and rich culture and history await you on this hidden gem of an island, just a 35-minute trip by high-speed boat from the Port of Takamatsu.
Address: Shodoshima & Tonosho, Shodoshima-gun, Kagawa Prefecture
Airport: Takamatsu Airport