The Ieshima Islands are composed of 44 islands in the part of the Inland Sea known as Harima Nada, in southwest Hyogo Prefecture. The islands are approximately 18 kilometers from Himeji and are governed by the city. Only four of the islands are inhabited—Ieshima, Bozejima, Tangajima, and Nishijima—and have a total population of about 6,000. The islands are part of Setonaikai National Park and have served Inland Sea travelers since ancient times as a key spot to wait for favorable winds and tides.
Poems have been written about the picturesque scenery for centuries, appearing in the ancient Japanese poetry anthology, the Man’yoshu. The name “Ieshima”, translated literally as “home island,” derives from a story of Emperor Jinmu, dating back to the 6th century BCE, who was traveling east and got caught in a storm. Taking shelter on the island, he famously remarked, “It is so quiet here it feels like a home.”
The basic mode of transportation around the islands is by boat. The calm inland sea waters make island hopping a scenic treat.
Another treat is the fresh seafood caught locally that can only be enjoyed here. With intricate coastlines, the islands are known throughout Japan for the abundance of seafood caught year round, including sea bream, octopus, and horse mackerel. In particular, everyone awaits the late autumn to winter season and the delicious blue crab (watarigani) from Ieshima and mackerel (saba) from Bozejima.
Traditionally, tourists have visited Ieshima, which has a shrine connected to the ancient poet Sugawara no Michizane (845-903), and Bozejima, with its sad story of the girl Benten. Most inns are concentrated on these two islands. Tangajima, which has changed shapes due to quarrying, is known for its beach and fishing, while visitors to Nishijima can enjoy camping and the outdoors. It takes just 30 minutes to reach the Ieshima Islands from Himeji Port. Please come for a visit!
Here are ten great view spots on the islands.
A large stone in the shape of a turtle. It is said that if you pat its head 100 times, your wish will come true.
The head shrine of the Ieshima Islands and Harima Nada area, it is listed in ancient government documents, indicating its importance and antiquity.
With little flat land on Ieshima, houses were built in a tangled jumble, creating many lanes and alleys. Strolling along them, you will find wells, springs, pumps, and practical items people have used since ancient times.
In mid-May, for about one month, fireflies can be seen at night in the bamboo groves near Ieshima Shrine and at 10 other locations. Males live for one week, females for just two days, giving off a wondrous flashing light.
The Himeji City Ieshima B&G Marine Center provides a chance to enjoy marine sports such as boating, windsurfing, and canoeing. The center also has a gymnasium, heated pool, a ground, tennis courts, and other facilities.
A tiny shrine island by Boze fishing port (Naza district). The shrine is dedicated to the god of the sea, dragon god, and Benzaiten. A festival is held here on January 4.
Bozejima has the most active fishing industry of all the islands, with the highest catch in Hyogo Prefecture and one of the highest in the nation. It is next in population to Ieshima Island, and most residents are involved in fishing. Everywhere you go you can see fishing boats.
Nishijima is the largest of the Ieshima Islands. This center features a lodge and campground, and provides a chance to enjoy marine sports such as canoeing or kayaking, or swimming.
Tatenohama Beach is close to the ferry port at Tangajima. The water is clear and the beach has white sand, so many visitors come here to swim in the summer. There is also Aoinohama Beach on the eastern side of the island.
A course for beginners to Ieshima packed with attractions. Keep in mind the island’s main industry is stone-quarrying and our guide will take you on a ride you will never find in any city. Experience slow-paced, relaxed island time under the blue skies and surrounded by the blue seas.
Strolling around Ieshima can be enjoyed both by land and by sea! An experienced instructor will be your Ieshima sea concierge. Stable, easy-to-handle canoes are provided, along with polite instruction, so even beginners can have fun. Play in the waters of Ieshima!
Maura is a district where marine trade once flourished and its unique atmosphere is closely connected to the sea. Our guide will show you around and explain the island’s origins in sea-based commerce. Shops are also concentrated in this area. Walk around and see how the people of Ieshima live.
The Ieshima Islands include a total of 44 islands, including small ones. Why not enjoy a ride on a water taxi that will weave through these small islands and give you a feel for the charms of Ieshima? You are sure to discover something new in the panoramic world of islands, sea and sky.
Enjoy the island atmosphere of the Miya district, a fishing village that differs from the Maura district. The scene of moored fishing boats bobbing in the harbor is healing to the eye. Also walk up to Ieshima Shrine, situated in sacred old-growth forest. The harmony of the sound of waves and birds will release your heart.
Trawling, or seine fishing, involves dropping a net to the sea bottom and dragging it by boat to catch fish. Follow the signals of experienced fishermen to pull up the net, feeling its weight filled with fish. Imagine what kind of fish you have caught! Back on the island, you get to enjoy a meal prepared from your catch.
An Ieshima Shrine festival featuring a lion dance performed on elaborately decorated portable shrine boats in the Maura and Miya districts.
A walking event with a well-known radio personality is held on Ieshima and Bozejima in alternating years.
Held annually at Miya Shrine and Maura Shrine on Ieshima Island, and at Ebisu Shrine on Bozejima.
Held first on Bozejima, followed by Tangajima, then Ieshima. Tour around islands also held.
A dance in the streets held from 7:00 p.m. until late at night in the Maura and Miya districts of Ieshima Island.
A race is held every year at Bozejima with 20 paddlers per boat.
Locals carry two floats on their shoulders. Held at Maura Shrine and Miya Shrine on Ieshima, and at Ebisu Shrine on Bozejima.
A 3.2-kilometer open water swimming race from Tangajima to Shimizu Beach on Ieshima.
Shrimp grown in the ocean current of the Harima Nada sea is truly delicious. Every crunchy bite fills your mouth with flavor. The pride of Ieshima.
Fujidai dark soy sauce is used by over half the households on the island. It brings out the great taste of seafood.
Seaweed is carefully grown on netting in the winter months by the Ieshima and Bozejima Fishery Associations. Salty and aromatic, a reminder of the nature of Ieshima.
Gently cooked and seasoned seaweed as a specialty product of Ieshima. No additives or colorings used. Only the natural taste and aroma of nori.
Natural sea salt from Yamani Suisan is made by boiling down Ieshima seawater. It is full of minerals from the Seto waters. The jams from Shima-no-Mi Kobo are in cute jars, handmade from berries.
Ieshima High School and the local fishery association teamed up to create this home-cooking-style shrimp curry. Plenty of locally caught shrimp are used in the curry—a great product from Ieshima.
A visit to the Ieshima Islands would not be complete without sampling the seafood.
Freshly caught fish and seafood are prepared in traditional ways unique to Ieshima.
1. Odate Ryokan
3. Fujidai soy sauce Company
4. Mizuta Fresh Fish Shop
5. Okabe Japanese Style
6. Miren Tsu
8. Island House Ieshima-so
9. Himeji City Ieshima
B&G Marine Center
11. Ii Ryokan
12. Kappo Ryokan Shimizu
13. Shima-no-Mi Kobo
14. Ieshima Fishing Park Seayou
15. Appare Suisan
16. Minato Ryokan
17. Karaoke House Mambo
18. Fisherman’s Inn
19. Umi-no-Ie Nakamura-so
21. Tangajima Umi-no-Ie
Ieshima Port Fureai Plaza Rent a bicycle or electric three-wheeler here, buy souvenirs or ferry tickets, or get tourist information about the island.
Like-T3 Electric Trike
A fun experience for getting around the island for couples or families. (Weight limit is 200 kg and a maximum of 4 persons.)
Note: Children under the age of 6 are not allowed to ride for safety reasons.
¥2,800 for the first hour
¥1,000 for each additional hour
Rent a Bicycle Ride a power-assisted bicycle to easily get around in the hilly island interior. Enjoy the sea breezes along the coast or ride into the hills, rich in natural greenery. Take advantage of this great way of seeing the island.
Rental Fee：Power-assisted bicycles
Ieshima Tourism Association (Ieshima Island)
1hr: ¥1,000, 3hrs: ¥1,200, 5hrs: ¥1,500
Hikari Kanko (Bozejima)
All day: ¥1,500 (7:40–17:00)
Ordinary bicycles(Takafuku Liner (Ieshima Island))
All day: ¥600
Ieshima Community Bus
The only public transportation on Ieshima Island, it is well used by residents to get around. The bus runs two routes—Maura and Miya routes—and has 13 stops. On weekdays, there are 16 runs daily, which is convenient for when you need to get somewhere fast.
Note: Please inquire below for bus stops and time schedule.
available from Mon. to Sat. (No Sunday/holiday operation)
¥100 per trip
Note: ¥50 for children (primary school; preschoolers free).
Adult must accompany child.