VIDEO| Get the Hawaii feel at Suo-Oshima near MCAS Iwakuni

Photo coutesy of Suo-Oshima Town
Photo coutesy of Suo-Oshima Town

VIDEO| Get the Hawaii feel at Suo-Oshima near MCAS Iwakuni

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

Suo-Oshima is a popular tourist attraction in Japan's Setouchi (inland sea) region, where you can enjoy beautiful beaches and mountains.

The island is known as Yashima Island and the “Hawaii of Setouchi” thanks to its beautiful landscape, mountains, sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. Hiking to the island's peaks offers a panoramic view of the breathtakingly blue Setouchi sea.

From MCAS Iwakuni, you can access this paradise via a short 60-minute drive. The Oshima Ohashi Bridge connects the island to the mainland via a 3,346-foot-long road.

On the island, you can explore comfortably by bicycle. Many attractions, including shops and restaurants, keep the Hawaiian-style vibe. During the summer months, staff at the businesses on the island wear aloha shirts and there are also hula dancing performances on Saturdays as part of the Aloha Biz campaign.

(Right) Photo coutesy of Suo-Oshima Town 

Beyond the Hawaiian-style attire of its residents, customs and look, Suo-Oshima has strong historical ties with the Aloha State. Around 130 years ago, thousands of Japanese residents on Suo-Oshima left for a new life in Hawaii. Descendants of these original Japanese residents have since returned and brought Hawaiian culture and customs with them. Suo-Oshima even signed a sister contract with Kauai Island in 1963, marking the strong connection and friendship they keep to this day.

Visitors can learn more about the cultural exchange between the two at the Museum of Japanese Emigration to Hawaii. The exhibits here describe the interesting history of how locals from Suo-Oshima emigrated to Hawaii and how the evolution of the island occurred when the children and grandchildren returned.

If you enjoy hiking, check out the “Setouchi Alps,” which are the impressive mountain ranges in the center of the island that reach heights of up to 2,160 feet. Mounts Monju, Kano, Genmei and Take are the best to hike because they have well-maintained, flat trails ideal for all levels.

For those wanting a relaxing beach stay, stop by one or all of Suo-Oshima’s many beautiful beaches. Katazoegahama Beach is the most popular. It was named one of the top 100 beaches in Yamaguchi Prefecture for its pristine water, beautiful white sand and palm trees. Camping and lodging facilities allow you to stay on the beautiful beach overnight.

Photos coutesy of Suo-Oshima Town 

The island is known as a great fishing site, as well. The strait between the island and the mainland is considered one of the best fishing spots in the region. Anglers flock to the island for seasonal catches like red seabream in the spring, Japanese whiting in the summer, cutlassfish in autumn and rockfish in the winter.

And no trip to Setouchi’s Hawaii is complete without a stop at the Sazan Seto Towa roadside station for some great souvenirs, including local seafood and produce.

So, hit the road for a taste of Hawaii in Japan this summer. Your friends and family will enjoy this beautiful spot close to MCAS Iwakuni!

Museum of Japanese Emigration to Hawaii

Open: Tues. – Mon., 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Location: 2144 Nishiyashiro, Suo-Oshima Town, Yamaguchi Pref.

Admission: 400 yen; elementary/middle schoolers 200 yen

Tel: 0820-74-4082

Katazoegahama Beach

Location: 1212-1 Hirano, Suo-Oshima Town, Yamaguchi Pref.

Tel: 0820-78-0500

Parking: Free parking lot available for 550 car

 (Photo coutesy of Suo-Oshima Town)


Roadside Station Sazan Seto Towa

Location: 1958-77 Nishikata, Suo-Oshima Town, Oshima-gun, Yamaguchi Prefecture

Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.


Tel: 0820-78-0033

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