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What to Do in Ushimado

  • Ushimado is a charming seaside town on the south coast of Setouchi City in Okayama Prefecture, facing the Setonaikai Inland Sea. Peaceful streets, lined with wooden storefronts and merchant’s houses, retain some of the atmosphere of the Edo period (1603–1868) when Ushimado thrived as a center for shipbuilding. This is not your typical Japanese coastal town, however: the combination of the blue sea and an almost Mediterranean climate have earned it the nickname of the Aegean of Japan, and it’s likely the only place in the country where you will find a 15th century Buddhist temple and Greek-style architecture just a stone’s throw from each other.

  • Ushimado Marina and Honrenji Temple

    Ushimado Marina and Honrenji Temple

    Ushimado Marina and Honrenji Temple

    There is a marina right next to the town’s olive gardens, which are also worth a visit. Set against the backdrop of a verdant hillside, you can leisurely saunter around the marina taking in the fresh sea air, and perhaps entertain the fantasy of owning one of the moored vessels belonging to members of the local yacht club. Peeking out from the treetops behind are the pagoda and sweeping rooftop of Honrenji, a Buddhist temple that is Ushimado’s most famous destination despite being so discreetly hidden. The main temple dates back to 1492, with the three-storied pagoda added in 1690. Both have a deeply contemplative atmosphere, and Honrenji also offers great views out over the Setonaikai.

  • Hotel Limani

    Hotel Limani

    Hotel Limani

    Ushimado might be a modestly sized town, but it has a cosmopolitan history: back in the Edo era it served as an arrival point for envoys from Korea. The splendid Hotel Limani, on the waterfront a short walk along from the marina, continues this international tradition. Behind a stately Grecian-style colonnade standing in a shallow pool of the bluest water and facing the Setonaikai, stands this three-story hotel with a design inspired by the Aegean island of Santorini. Each of the Limani’s guest rooms enjoys a sea view, but if you don’t get to stay, here you can still dine at the hotel’s restaurant, serving Greek cuisine that uses olives and lemons grown in the Limani’s own local gardens, or enjoy a cocktail in the lounge bar.

  • Power Spot Venus Road

    Power Spot Venus Road

    Power Spot Venus Road

    A short distance from Ushimado’s beach lie three small islands: Kuro, Nakanoko, and Hajinoko. They can be accessed via a boat ride from Hotel Limani. Linking the three is an 800m-long arched sandbank, known as Venus Road, which appears only when the tide is low, and it can be used to walk from islet to islet. To do so is pleasurable in any company but, since Venus Road is reputed to be a power spot imbued with mystical energies, taking the stroll with a significant other is said to be highly auspicious for the relationship. Follow that up on highly scenic Nakanoko with a hunt for a famed 30cm rock that is naturally shaped like a perfect heart (and marvel at the fact that nobody has taken it home as a memento!), before taking the perfect sunset selfie back on the sandy pathway.

    Power Spot Venus Road

    Power Spot Venus Road

    Power Spot Venus Road

    Power Spot Venus Road

    Honrenji
    Address
    Okayama Pref. Setouchishi Ushimadochoushimado
    Phone
    0869342014
    Hotel Limani
    Address
    Ushimado 3900,Ushimado-cho Setouchi Okayama
    Phone
    0869-34-5500
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