Designated a National Treasure, the tiny uninhabited island known as Takeshima in Mikawa Bay not far from Nagoya has unusual plant life such as suhouchiku, a type of bamboo—take in Japanese—from which the name of the island is derived, and a picturesque shrine. The shrine is the only building.
The causeway to the island is just a 15-minute walk from Gamagori Station.
From Nagoya Station, the JR Tokaido Line to Toyohashi takes just 45 minutes to get to Gamagori.
If you're with your significant other, take a stroll along the causeway linking Takeshima to the mainland while holding hands, since the bridge is said to bring good fortune to couples.
Passing through the large stone torii gate—the only place in Japan where you will do so on a bridge—you finally come to the beautiful island.
On the top of the domed island is Yatomi Shrine, one of only seven shrines in Japan dedicated to Benten, the goddess of music and entertainers. As it is said that worshiping here is good luck in marriage and childbirth, it is another opportunity to take the hand of that loved one.
Trekking around the tiny island, you'll discover other small shrines in hidden coves as well as numerous types of plant life that have been preserved separately from the mainland.
If you are visiting the area by car, make a detour to the 400-year-old Kezo-ji Temple on your return journey, where you can explore a beautiful tea garden and find the grave of Yoshida Kira, known for his fictional role in the popular bunraku and Kabuki play Kanadehon Chushingura.