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The Islands of Kurushima Strait

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > The Islands of Kurushima Strait


Take a small ferry island hopping tour across three islands off the coast of Imabari

Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture



For travelers taking the 70-kilometer Shimanami Kaido cycling route from Onomichi City in Hiroshima Prefecture to Imabari City on the island of Shikoku, the Kurushima Strait is a side trip worth taking a break to explore.


Just two kilometers from the Imabari Sunrise Itoyama cycling terminal lies Hashihama Port, where small ferries can take visitors, and their bicycles, to the three tiny islands of the strait. With each island having its own unique history and sights, the journey is like hopping through time.


On Kurushima, the smallest of the islands, sit the ruins of structures built by the Murakami clan during the 14-15th-century, Japan’s largest group of kaizoku, which is translated to “pirates.” Despite their intimidating moniker, the Murakami kaizoku behaved as a merchant navy, keeping the peace and ensuring safe sea trade during Japan’s period of civil wars.


The next ferry stop fast forwards to the 19th century at Oshima. Here the remains of military foundations of a Meiji era (1868-1912) fortress stand, built during the Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War.


Umashima, the last island, brings visitors back to the present. A haven of sandy beaches, camping grounds and picturesque views, it also features an elevator to the Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge, the longest suspension bridge of the Shimanami Kaido.


How to get there


Take the Shinkansen bullet train from Shin-Osaka Station to Okayama Station, which takes about 45 minutes. Then take the express train to Imabari Station, which takes about 2 hours. It about 15 minutes by car from Imabari Station to Hashihama Port. Alternatively, it is about 2 kilometers by bike from the Imabari Sunrise Itoyama cycling terminal.


Kurushima, Imabari-shi, Ehime-ken

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