Part of the Kasaoka Archipelago, Shiraishi is a small island in the Seto Island Sea with a population of over 700. Roughly 12 kilometers from the mainland, it can be reached by fast ferry from Kasaoka City in approximately 22 minutes or by regular ferry in about 35 minutes.
The island draws holidaymakers who want to get away without having to travel the long distances required to reach many of the popular resort areas in Japan. Shiraishi is close enough to the mainland to be convenient and easily accessible and just far enough away to feel like you have made a journey.
People come for the beaches and the slow pace of life on an island with a vibrant local community that you can plug into, even for a short time. In August, visitors can enjoy the Bon Festival, which features music and dancing. If you happen to be on the island in the spring, the Bean-throwing Festival or setsubun is great fun to watch or participate in.
Although many visit Shiraishi to relax on the beach, there are fun activities to try as well. Sea kayaking and windsurfing are popular water sports with rentals and instruction available on site.
A trek around the island will reveal the best spots for views of the harbor, coastline and sea.. A hike up into the hills will give you access to the rock faces and outcroppings that help give the islands of the Kasaoka Archipelago their character. In fact, Shiraishi means “white rock”.
Shiraishi has several pensions and guesthouses, including the International Villa which has a well-deserved reputation for having excellent service and a welcoming atmosphere. Summer is the peak season so it is a good idea to make reservations in advance.
Access: About a 5 minute walk from Kasaoka Station to Kasaoka Port, then a 35 minute ferry ride to the island. A 22 minute fast ferry is also available.
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