Inland Sea No. 8: Shiraishi Island
Shiraishi Island 白石島, in Okayama prefecture, is part of the Kasaoka Island Chain (笠岡諸島) which includes the following islands (in order from closest to furthest out): Konoshima, Takashima, Shiraishi, Kitagi, Manabe, Obishima, and Hishima.
Imagine being on your own private beach watching the sunset from an island in the middle of Japan’s Inland Sea, a part of Japan most tourists (and expats) don’t know about. It’s summertime, and time to escape the hot city for a lazy weekend by the sea, laying on the beach and taking dips in the cool, blue water.
There are over 250 islands in the Inland Sea but few are set up with the right combination of amenities and local flavor to appeal to foreigners. Shiraishi Island in Okayama Prefecture is the exception—the gem of the Inland Sea. Long a favorite of writers, artists and musicians, this small quiet island of 650 people has been off the beaten path for years.
As you may know, us cows at Humor-Us Guide to Japan have chosen this island to make our home. We could have chosen any other island in the Inland Sea, but this one won hands down. Now we’re doing our best to show you the ways of island life. Cut loose and forget about work! Relax on the beach or swing in a hammock at the Moooo! Bar, while enjoying one of our famous moogaritas. If this sounds like your answer to cooling down in the hot summer, this island is for you!
The island rocks with Shinto rituals, festivals, and summer events. You can go hiking, sea kayaking, sailing, take a boat to another island or just sit on the beach and watch the gorgeous sunsets. The Bon Dance festival in August is topped off by the Live Band and Fireworks Night on the beach on August 21.
Despite the island appearing in successive issues of the Lonely Planet, Shiraishi retains its exclusivity due to its remote location (you have to take a ferry from the mainland) and scarce accommodation. The result is that only about 1,500 foreigners overnight on the island annually.
The locals, like these in the video at “San-chan’s” (food and accommodation) are always up for a good time. Bring your own instruments, or use their guitars and piano. Shiraishi Island is a little slice of heaven populated by Japanese locals who just wanna have fun. Whether you choose to get down with the locals, practice your Japanese, or just hang out and be on your own, we’re sure you’ll have no problem adjusting to island life.
Although most tourists to the island are Japanese day-trippers, the public beach never gets too crowded and there is a private beach for the more adventurous who don’t mind a short hike.
Shiraishi Reservations, run by two bovine-crazy foreigners who live on the island, is a free service set up to help facilitate communications between foreign guests and Japanese locals. This is because none of the Japanese locals speaks English; instead, they speak with their hearts.
Now you know why we live here. It’s our favorite place in Japan.
This summer, escape to Shiraishi Island…
Moooo! Bar (the only website about Shiraishi Island). Here you’ll find an island schedule of events, ferry schedules, accommodation information and more.
Here are more links to other blog articles on Shiraishi Island:
Other Tips: There is a campground on the island but you can also camp for free on the public beach. Public toilets, fresh water available. Showers/bath available at San-chan’s for 300 yen.
If you’re coming by private boat, you can either anchor in front of the beach and come in by zodiac or park in the New Port on the north-east side of the island. There is a free guest berth there with a light. There is no access to fresh water or toilets. Toilets are available on the old port, and you can get a shower/bath at San-chan’s for 300 yen.