Shiraishi Island: July 11th-July 13th
“Snap back to reality, oh there goes gravity”
The train journey from Tokyo Station to Shiraishi Island was incredible. Not because of the train ride itself (it did have very nice scenery, though), but because of how amazing it felt that we could travel from one of the biggest cities in the world to one of the most rural places in Japan in the space of a few hours.
Shiraishi Island is a part of Okayama Prefecture, and is off the cost of Honshu in the Inland Sea of Japan. Shiraishi actually means “white stones”, which certainly proved to be true here. Although there has been an over-abundance of bugs over the last couple of days, it was still incredibly relaxing to stay here.
Me and 10 other tour participants stayed at the International Villa up the top of a hill, while the rest of the group stayed near the beach in a ryokan. Our first day was rather mellow, with the exception of a local traditional dance ‘show’. It was actually a really nice display of traditional Japan!
The day after, a part of the group went on a hike to the top of the island. It was a really nice view, and it really got me thinking about the traditional and religious side of Japanese culture.
It seems like the further you get away from the main city areas, the closer to traditional culture and religion you feel. As we were hiking through the bushland, we came across a collection of temples, and I couldn’t help but make the contrast that I hadn’t seen a temple in Tokyo except for in the main tourist spots, despite me going out of my way to venture off the path.
That night, we launched fireworks on the beach since they’re legal in Japan. It was a lot of fun!
In summary, I believe that Shiraishi Island is a good place to escape to if you want a few days of harmony and tradition over hustle and bustle and modern.
Here’s some more photos I took on Shiraishi Island!
Written by Jack Fetter for 1024LAL on July 13th, 2015.