What Makes Awaji Island Special?

Whether you’re a repeat visitor or new to this page, you will have noticed the frequent mention of “Awaji Island”. If you’re not yet familiar with Awaji, it is an island in Japan that holds a special place in the hearts of locals and tourists alike. But what makes Awaji Island so special? This page is here to explain everything that makes Awaji Island truly special.

Where is Awaji Island?

awaji island

Awaji Island, situated in the Seto Inland Sea, is part of the Kansai region and lies between the larger islands of Honshu and Shikoku. Accessible via bridges from the cities of Kobe and Naruto, it’s best reached by car. Buses also operate both to and from the island. From the Kobe area, the journey takes approximately 45 minutes by car, while it’s about an hour and a half from Osaka. Despite common misconceptions about accessibility, getting to Awaji Island is not as complicated as many believe.

Awaji Island stretches out like a gourd, boasting an approximate area of 592 km² according to data from the Geographical Survey Institute. To put that into perspective, it’s roughly equivalent in size to the 23 wards of Tokyo. It has a population of around 130,000 residents.

The Perfect Year-Round Weather

awaji island weather

Awaji Island enjoys a mild climate thanks to its location in the Seto Inland Sea, with winters free from extreme cold. The island has an average annual temperature of around 15 degrees Celsius. While the island’s west side experiences brisk winds from the Harimanada Sea, resulting in high waves, the east side remains tranquil all year-round, shielded by the island’s hilly spine.

This favorable climate nurtures a rich environment and yields a bounty of fresh foods. This includes the renowned “Awaji Island onions”, flavorful “Awaji Island sea bream”, and the rare “Awaji beef”. The ideal weather on Awaji Island sets the stage for many activities, whether you’re exploring with friends, family, or going solo.

Awaji Island the Birthplace of Japan

Awaji Island is deeply related to Japan’s cultural and historical narrative. The Kojiki, revered as the ‘Record of Ancient Matters’ and Japan’s oldest historical text, recounts the mythic tale of kuniumi, or the birth of the country. It begins with the divine beings Izanagi and Izanami, who, standing upon the celestial bridge of heaven, stirred the primordial chaos with a sacred spear. From the droplets that fell, Onokoro Island emerged, serving as the cornerstone of Japan’s foundation.

Upon reaching the island, the divine couple united in sacred matrimony and conducted a ceremony, heralding the birth of Japan. Awaji Island stood as the first creation born from this ceremony, symbolizing the heritage of Japan. Awaji Island has various sites and remnants linked to this legendary tale. Izanagi Shrine stands out as a prominent example, revered as one of the oldest and most significant shrines in Japan.

The Naruto Whirlpools, located at the southern end of Awaji Island along the Naruto Straits, evoke images of the mythical swirls depicted in the ancient tales. These natural phenomena occur when the sea’s stirring currents converge, creating whirlpools that continue to captivate visitors to this day.

Read this article to learn more about Awaji Island as the birthplace of Japan.

Awaji Island as the Land of Food (Miketsukuni)

Awaji Island, also known as the “Land of Food”, has a rich history of supplying food to the imperial court. With a self-sufficiency rate of 100% in food production, the island has a strong agricultural legacy. Its thriving fishing industry further contributes to its bounty, providing an abundance of fresh seafood. Consequently, Awaji Island attracts numerous visitors eager to try its exquisite dining experiences.

Awaji Island offers some of Japan’s finest delicacies, including its onions, known for their sweetness compared to other varieties. The island’s unique geographical location also yields top-quality sea bream and Pike Conger. Additionally, Awaji Beef, prized for its rarity and tenderness, adds to the island’s culinary reputation.

We have previously highlighted some of the most sought-after local ingredients found on Awaji Island.

Perfect Mix of Traditions and Modernity

Awaji Island is not just steeped in tradition, it’s also rapidly evolving through regional revitalization initiatives, particularly in its northern region. Harnessing the island’s ocean views and landscapes, a host of hotels, restaurants, and theme parks have emerged in recent years.

From anime attractions to Hello Kitty-themed experiences and innovative culinary offerings, Awaji Island caters to the tastes of the younger generation. Few destinations in Japan strike the balance between tradition and modernity as seamlessly as Awaji Island.

If you’re keen to explore Awaji Island but unsure of where to start, explore Awaji Island with our curated itineraries!