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In the Footsteps of Donald Richie: A Day Trip to Osakikamijima in Hiroshima

Donald Richie’s famous account of his voyages around the islands and harbors of the Inland Sea (in a 1971 volume entitled simply The Inland Sea) have served as the impetus for many voyages to rediscover the communities and landscape that he wrote about. Not much has changed in the intervening half-century since Richie visited Osakikamijima—the houses of ill repute are gone, along with the sailors and miners, but the island would be instantly recognizable to the late, great chronicler of modern Japan.

In the Footsteps of Donald Richie: A Day Trip to Osakikamijima in Hiroshima

CONTENTS

  • Hoshi to Hi

  • Iwasaki Orchard

  • Isshodo

  • Kinoe Onsen

  • Perhaps Richie’s book is an unreliable guide, so many years since it’s publication, but his description of the ferry out to Takehara holds true, at least. The ferries that run from Takehara to the ports of Tarumi, Shiromizu and Kinoe are part of the experience, and offer their own views of the Inland Sea. And his description of Kinoe is as “poor, a single street, the eaves almost touching, the street a cool ravine, the stores ... opened in the latticed and wooden walls of this man-made gorge" evokes the poetic desolation of the one-street towns of the islands and is still mostly accurate. Wandering the Kinoe’s old district is a great way to start exploring Osakikamijima.

    In the Footsteps of Donald Richie: A Day Trip to Osakikamijima in Hiroshima

    In the Footsteps of Donald Richie: A Day Trip to Osakikamijima in Hiroshima

    In the Footsteps of Donald Richie: A Day Trip to Osakikamijima in Hiroshima

    In the Footsteps of Donald Richie: A Day Trip to Osakikamijima in Hiroshima

    Richie’s account might serve to fire the imagination but for some boots-on-the-ground intelligence, stop by Higashino and the island’s tourism office. As in many other jurisdictions seeing a rapid population deflation as old residents pass away or move away, there are the handful of young people that find in those peripheral spots on the map a place to call home and something worth nurturing—and maybe you will, too!

    Osakikamijimacho Tourist Information Office
    Address
    Hiroshima Toyota Osakikamijimacho Higashino 6625-61
    Phone
    0846653455
    Remarks
    【URL】http://osakikamijima-kanko.moon.bindcloud.jp/navi/index.html
  • Hoshi to Hi

    Hoshi to Hi

    Hoshi to Hi

    Maybe they might point you in the direction of Hoshi to Hi, a relatively new entry into the comparatively short list of local restaurants. The food at this seafood teishoku restaurant is, of course, startlingly fresh, most of it pulled from the Inland Sea that morning by local fishermen, with produce grown on the island. The shop turns out set menus five days out of the week (the days off are Thursday and Sunday), opening for lunch at 11am and shutting down for the day at 2pm or whenever they run out of seafood.

    Hoshitohi
    Address
    Hiroshima Pref. Toyotagunosakikamijimachou Nakano 4998-1
    Phone
    0846643339
  • Iwasaki Orchard

    Iwasaki Orchard

    Iwasaki Orchard

    A chance, however slim, to cite Richie again! “This is an agricultural island,” he writes, “all tangerines and lemon-like citrus.” The quarries and mines closed down years ago, but the island has only become more renowned for its agricultural produce. The lemons and mikan of Osakikamijima (and other islands in the chain) are justly famous, but the island also turns out crops of blueberries and strawberries, these days. Farm Suzuki’s operation in Higashino is focused mainly on aquaculture—their oysters are shipped as far as Tokyo!—but the green lemons of Iwasaki Orchard are similarly sought after, which happen to be the perfect accompaniment for the bivalves dished up at the Farm Suzuki’s restaurant.

  • Isshodo

    Isshodo

    Isshodo

    Isshodo Cake Shop, down the island from Higashino, in the Nakano area, offers another way to use the green lemons from Iwasaki Orchard, baked into slightly tart lemon cakes. Maybe there’s a trite observation to be made here about the island’s prospects and turning lemons into lemon cake, but you will have to fill in the blanks. Either way, Isshodo’s lemon cakes are a fine souvenir of Osakikamijima.

  • Kinoe Onsen

    Kinoe Onsen

    Kinoe Onsen

    Spots like Kinoe Onsen Hotel Seifukan and its hot springs baths are the result of Bubble Era investors that put up resorts and hotels across the archipelago when the getting was good. Decades later, even forgotten sightseeing spots will boast a palatial and usually crumbling resort hotel. Kinoe Onsen is a piece of nostalgia, of course, but it’s been refreshed in recent years and is a surprising slice of luxury on the island. Even if you won’t be staying the night, the views of the Inland Sea from the open-air baths are worth checking out, and you won’t find a better way to end a day trip to Osakikamijima.

    Kinoe Onsen
    Address
    Hiroshima Pref. Toyotagunosakikamijimachou Okiura 1900 Hotel Seifuji
    Phone
    0846620555
    Remarks
    【URL】http://hotel-seifukan.co.jp/
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