Awaji Island isn’t too far from Osaka. It is only two hours drive to reach this peaceful countryside area. If you have a deep interest and passion in culture and history, you will definitely enjoy many of its historical landmarks.
The Origin of the Island
You only need to drive to Awaji Island through Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. This is the longest suspension bridge, stretching in two miles distance. Once you arrive on the island, you will be welcomed with this sense of old and traditional atmosphere. It is pretty normal, considering that this island is believed to be the birthplace of Japan. Legend has it that when Izanami and Izanagi gods were stirring the sea with a spear, there was a brine drop falling to the ocean waves and it hardened. That was how the island was born.
This is a perfect place to learn about traditional cultures and values, such as the bushido. You will also sense somewhat a feeling of peace and serenity as if you were back to the old times. It may not be a modern place but there are some entertainments that you can enjoy while exploring the island.
1. Sennenichi Sake Brewery Tour
Sennenichi is the name that is associated with sake production for generations and decades. The place itself is quite good on Higashiura main road. They offer their own tour where you can see the process of making sake.
2. Awajishima Monkey Center
This is a centre located close to Naha, a town in the southern area. It is upon mountains which are actually quite ideal to let 200 monkeys be free and roam around. As long as you don’t stare at them right in the eyes, you are good to go. If you want to take pictures, you can do it while visiting this centre.
3. Harmony Farm
The speciality of this farm is the horse riding class. Many of the visitors come to this island to join the class. Once you know how to ride a horse correctly and properly, you can spend the afternoon exploring the calm ocean water or going through the mountain passes.
4. Izanagi Shrine
This is a shrine that is built to honour the island and its founder. Most of the locals say that this is the oldest shrine in Japan but historians haven’t found any records concerning the construction or the date. The grand entrance is beautiful with lighted pillars, a few arching gates, and a beautiful stone walkway. People like to come here to pray – it is common to see students (praying for good grades) and businessmen (praying for success) there. It is somewhat nice to see how balanced and harmonious Japanese blends their religious element in daily lives and lifestyles.
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5. Hanasajiki Garden
If you are looking forward to seeing the beautiful and natural garden, you should come to Hanasajiki Garden. The garden is colourful with bright and strong coloured flowers covering the northern hillside of the island. From the garden, you can see Osaka (only in clear days) and Osaka Bay. They serve seasonal ice creams. In spring, you can try sakura flavour. In autumn, you can try biwa or loquat.
6. Awaji Country Garden Burger
If you come to Hanasajiki Garden, it would be a shame not to try the burger, which is only 2 minutes up the street – going to the northern side. The burger is made from one juicy and thick patty that is topped with a secret sauce and caramelized onion rings. After all, the world famous ‘Kobe Beef’ cows live on Awaji hillsides. Isn’t it great when you can enjoy the beautiful flowers, amazing view, and the best burgers altogether?
The island is home to Keino Matsubara Beach, Sumoto Castle, and many other interesting places. Be sure to book early for your flights with Airpaz and explore the island as thoroughly as possible.