Use the

Planning a Trip to Japan?

Share your travel photos with us by hashtagging your images with #visitjapanjp

2023.06 Explore the Seto Inland Sea with Purpose Responsible Tourism Supporting Japan’s Future

Responsible tourism is a top priority in Japan. The country's unique landscapes, flora and fauna are treasured, and across Japan, many organizations and individuals are helping to preserve them through responsible travel.

The Seto Inland Sea is a stunning destination, and as you explore the many islands that typify this distinctive corner of Japan, you'll find countless ways to enjoy your visit while making a positive impact on the environment.

Hidden gems and low-impact tourism in the Seto Inland Sea

Located between the main Japanese islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, the Seto Inland Sea is a natural marvel. Spanning 400 kilometers end to end, this vast yet calm body of water plays host to over 700 islands. Laid back and slow paced, the islands of the Seto Inland Sea are a real draw for tourists, and each island offers different experiences and traditions. 

Lush islands emerge from the iridescent waters of the Seto Inland Sea.

As the majority of the Seto Inland Sea is part of the Setonaikai National Park, the area has retained the exquisite natural beauty, abundant wildlife and clean environment that defines it. As such, eco-friendly tourism is a major draw for visitors to the area. 

Many visitors enjoy taking the slow travel approach, visiting the various islands and spending time enjoying the beaches and tranquil seas, and supporting local businesses and restaurant owners. From cycling and kayaking to discovering unique art and architecture, there are many ways to visit the Seto Inland Sea without impacting the natural environment and helping to support the communities that call this special corner of Japan home.

Tobishima Kaido: An enchanting cycle tour through Seto Inland Sea heartland

There’s no better way to enjoy the Seto Inland Sea than by bike. Take a meditative journey along the Tobishima Kaido, a 46-kilometer cycle route that crosses the Aki Nada Islands. With very little road traffic, this stunning route takes you across a total of seven bridges, giving you the sense that you are floating above the calm seas below.

Traverse bridges and explore islands along this breathtaking cycle route.

Take in breathtaking coastal scenery and historic sites as you traverse the route through the Aki Nada Islands. On Shimokamagari Island, discover beautiful beaches and museums, like Shotoen Museum and the Rantokaku Art Gallery, for a journey into contemporary Japanese art. 

On Kamikamagari Island, you’ll find some of the best beaches in Japan along with fruit farms, hot springs and tasteful resorts. Tiny Toyoshima Island is best known for its fishing port town, Mitarai. Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and fresh local seafood.

Mitarai town used to be an important port during Japan’s isolationist period. 

While you could complete the route in a day, it’s worth taking your time and exploring some of the places you pass through on an overnight stay. From traditional guest houses to more modern hotels, there are lots of options to choose from. Along the route, you'll find a series of dedicated cycle stops with bike tools and equipment, but be sure to book your bike rental in advance as the Tobishima Kaido cycle route is refreshingly off the beaten track. 

Ocean clean-up to restore ecosystems on secret island adventures

With sustainability a core focus for travel and tourism in and around the Seto Inland Sea, it's unsurprising that many efforts have been made to ensure the oceans stay clean and the marine life that depends on them thrive. 

Explore the Seto Inland Sea on an eco-friendly sailboat powered by the wind.
Photo credit: Shimatabi Yachts


One of the ways that tourism contributes to the ongoing health of the Seto Inland Sea is through sailboat tours. Cruise the majestic waters of the Seto Inland Sea on an eco-friendly yacht, and you might discover secret beaches and abundant wildlife. 

Relying on the power of the elements to power the boat means your trip is uninterrupted by the sound of engines. Sailing allows you to relax and reconnect with nature with the knowledge that you are helping to preserve, not impact it.

Explore Japan’s uninhabited islands and become one with nature.
Photo credit: Shimatabi Yachts

Eco-friendly lemon farming on the banks of the Seto Inland Sea

One of the most surprising sites in the Seto Inland Sea is an island covered with vibrant lemon trees. Setoda is Japan's leading producer of lemons, thanks in no small part to the perfect growing conditions afforded by the area and its temperate climate.

Find the best lemons in Japan on Setoda Island.
Photo Credit: JA Hiroshima


Sustainability runs through the lemon farming culture on Setoda. As such, eco-friendly cultivation methods by some of the farmers on the island mean their lemons can even be eaten whole because pesticides are not used in their cultivation. 

Whole lemons aren't the only citrus delight on Setoda. The island's inhabitants also produce a wide variety of lemon-based products. You can't leave Setoda, also known as Lemon Island, without sampling the local lemon cakes stuffed with tangy lemon jam.


Don’t leave Setoda without indulging in a local lemon cake.

Photo credit: Shimagocoro Setoda

Local craft beer brewed in a traditional Japanese home

On Omishima Island, you'll find another example of eco-friendly production in action. The island is home to a small microbrewery that develops unique craft beers inspired by the Seto Inland Sea. Fruit is a staple in Omishima, and as a result, this impressive brewery specializes in fruit-forward beers.

Discover artisan beers in historic Omishima.
Photo credit: Omishima Brewery


The couple who own the brewery chose Omishima for its beautiful scenery and stunning natural environment, alongside the wonderful local community. From the beginning, local residents were supportive, even helping the couple search for locations to start their business. Moving forward, they hope to continue supporting Omishima’s economy and make customers smile with their unique brews.

Try craft beers unique to the Seto Inland Sea.
Photo credit: Omishima Brewery


Of course, you can take that taste home with you too. The brewery has a take-out service so you can carry back a liquid reminder of your stay.

The Seto Inland Sea: Visit Japan’s most scenic region

The Seto Inland Sea’s mild climate, tranquil seas and unique cultures and traditions are sure to delight you during your visit to Japan.

Find tranquil seas and beautiful beaches throughout the Seto Inland Sea.

Japan's Seto Inland Sea is laid back, peaceful, full of great producers and ingredients, and a significant step away from the hustle and bustle of the country's famous cities. If you want a taste of beach life, quiet fishing villages and undulating coastal roads, look no further than the Seto Inland Sea.




Seto Inland Sea Official Visitors Page




Please Choose Your Language

Browse the JNTO site in one of multiple languages