When you’re travelling in Japan and you don’t have a car, it can be difficult to get around. But if you’re heading to the picturesque Awaji Island, you have two scenic routes for crossing the water: take the highway bus over the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (the world’s longest suspension bridge!), or take a leisurely ferry ride across the bright blue seas. Let’s take a look at how to take the ferry to Awaji Island, and what to do when you arrive.
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Awaji Jenova Line: Akashi Port ⇔ Iwaya Port
The Akashi Awaji Ferry, affectionately referred to by Awaji Islanders as the Tako (“octopus”) Ferry for the design on its exterior, was once the primary method of transportation for locals to and from the mainland. After the construction of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge slowed business for the ferry, it ultimately ceased operating in 2012. Nowadays, the Awaji Jenova Line continues the seafaring spirit of the island, ferrying passengers (and even cars and other vehicles) at high speeds. Start your island vacation with a salty sea breeze!
It’s about 13 minutes from the terminal at Akashi Port to Awaji Island’s Iwaya Port.
Adults: 550 yen (440 yen for groups of 15 or more)
Children: 280 yen (220 yen for groups of 15 or more)
Much cheaper than the bridge toll! You can board with your bicycle for an extra 260 yen, making this a perfect start to the Awaichi bicycle circuit that goes around the entire perimeter of the island.
Prices subject to change. Check the Awaji Jenova Line website for up-to-date prices and times. Note: the first chart is for weekdays, second is for weekends/holidays. Left column is Iwaya (Awaji) to Akashi, right column is Akashi to Iwaya (Awaji).
Sightseeing Near Iwaya Port
There is plenty to see around the Iwaya Port area. The first thing you’ll see when you disembark on Awaji Island is the small but historic Eshima Island, a unique sandstone formation that is said to be the very first island of Japan created by the gods in Japan’s ancient creation myth. Great for a photo-op!
Other popular attractions include “Michi no Eki Awaji” (Roadside Station Awaji) and Awaji SA (Service Area) as well as the one-of-a-kind, must-see anime theme park Nijigen no Mori, featuring the likes of Godzilla, Naruto, and more.
There’s also the open-air food court Awaji Chef’s Garden, dotted with 27 container restaurants serving karaage (Japanese fried chicken), seafood bowls, tacos, and even squid ink ice cream! Also check out the seaside restaurant & market Craft Circus, overlooking the waters on the west coast.
For a more upscale, fine-dining experience, try the Japanese Restaurant, Western Cuisine Restaurant or Vintage Sake Bar/Shop at Seikaiha. There’s also Bourou Seikaiha, a “holistic wellness hotel” with a view of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge if you’re thinking of an overnight stay.
To get around, you will definitely want to use the super convenient and free shuttle bus, which will take you directly to Awaji Chef’s Garden, Nijigen no Mori, Craft Circus, Seikaiha, and more. Check the route and timetables here.
|Address||884-4 Iwaya, Awaji City, Hyogo Prefecture 656-2401 [Google Maps]|
|Access||2-minute walk north of Iwaya Port|
Awaji SA Ferris Wheel
|Location||Awaji Service Area (Southbound)|
|Address||2568 Iwaya, Awaji City, Hyogo Prefecture 656-2401|
|Access||From within Awaji Island, take the Awaji-Kita Smart IC (ETC only, entry only) or merge in via any interchange south of Higashiura IC.|
|Parking||352 regular spaces, 102 spaces for large vehicles, 3 trailer spaces, 4 disabled parking spaces|
|Phone Number||0799-72-5589 (Awaji Route Service Co. Ltd., Southbound)|
SEIKAIHA is a complex including two restaurants, a theater, and a bar/shop. Aonoya offers Japanese cuisine, while Uminoya offers western cuisine from the Meiji era interpreted in a Japanese way. Koshunoya offers a wide variety of vintage sake at the bar and shop. You can enjoy a spectacular ocean view from all the facilities!
|Address||70 Nojima-okawa, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-1723|
|Access||10 minutes by car from Awaji IC on Kobe-Awaji-Naruto Expressway. 15 minutes by car from Hokudan IC.|
Fresh seafood BBQ, pizza, pasta, and plenty of kids’ options, with indoor and outdoor seating right by the sea. There’s also a market with local produce, crafts, and cute souvenirs.
|Address||2-2 Nojima-Hirabayashi, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-1724|
|Access||15 minutes by car from Awaji IC on Awaji-Kobe-Naruto Expressway. 10 minutes by car from Iwaya Port (Jenova Line Ferry).|
|Business Hours||Weekdays: 10:30-20:30 (last order 19:30)
Weekends/Holidays: 9:30-20:30 (last order 19:30)
|Closed||Thursdays (excluding national holidays)|
HELLO KITTY SMILE
Greet Hello Kitty herself at this compound of themed restaurants, cafes, and play areas. Perfect for families or those who love all things kawaii (“cute”)!
|Location||HELLO KITTY SMILE|
|Address||985-1 Nojimahikinoura, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-1721|
|Access||10 minutes by car from Awaji IC or Hokudan IC on Awaji-Kobe-Naruto Expressway.|
|Parking||Free parking available|
|Operating Hours||Weekdays 11:00~19:00
Sat., Sun, & Public Holidays 10:00~19:00
Please note that each restaurant/café has different operating hours.
HELLO KITTY SHOW BOX
Enjoy the one-of-a-kind show put on by Hello Kitty and her band. Also, the entire menu is vegan and delicious! Make sure to take a photo with Hello Kitty on stage after her performance!
|Location||HELLO KITTY SHOW BOX|
|Address||177-5 Nojimahirabayashi, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-1724|
|Access||10 minutes by car from Awaji IC and 15 minutes from Hokudan Interchange on Kobe-Awaji-Naruto Expressway.|
|Parking||Free parking available|
|Show Time||12:10-13:30(Open at 11:00, Last In at 12:00)|
|Café and Greetings by HELLO KITTY||14:00-17:00 Greeting at 14:30-/16:00- Café Show and Greetings by HELLO KITTY: 14:30~ / 16:00~|
Fuke-Sumoto Liner: High-Speed Boat between Southern Osaka and Awaji Island
The Fuke-Sumoto Liner can take you from Fuke Port located south of Kansai International Airport to Sumoto Port on the east coast of the island, and is another great spot for those who are interested in trying one of the Awaichi cycling courses. Please note that there is an extra 300 yen fee for bringing bikes aboard the boat, but only for sports bikes and road bikes. Check Fuke-Sumoto Liner timetables and information here. (English available)
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