The northeastern corner of Tokushima Prefecture offers ample island-hopping opportunities without the need to travel by ferry. In Naruto City, where Awaji Island and Tokushima Prefecture connect, Oge and Shimada islands serve as the first entry points to Shikoku — without being on the Shikoku mainland. Here you can enjoy all the advantages of modern infrastructure with all of the charms of small island life.

Day 1 – Oge Island

Explore the gateway to Shikoku and its intriguing natural showcases.

The Naruto Whirlpools

For any visitor to Tokushima, peering into the swirling depths of the Naruto whirlpools is a must. Found in the Naruto Strait between Awaji and East Tokushima’s Magosaki, you can view these tumultuous waters from either the glass-bottomed pedestrian area on the Onaruto Bridge or from a sightseeing boat. Note that both tides and the time of year can affect the strength and visibility of the whirlpools, so check before you go to make sure you get the best experience.

Otsuka Museum of Art

To avoid dying with the regret of not seeing enough art, head to Otsuka Museum of Art, where over 1,000 of the world’s greatest masterpieces are displayed all in one convenient venue. The catch is that they are replicas — painstakingly reproduced in ceramic plate form to recreate visuals, textures and even flaws. It’s the largest exhibition space in Japan and you’ll find everything from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceilings to Baroque and Renaissance greats, as well as contemporary artists like Picasso and much more. With plenty of space to explore, eat and shop, it’s a great spot to spend most of the day.

Naruto Ninja Road

While it may not be able to compete with Shodoshima’s Angel Road, Oge Island’s Ninja Road is a fun experience if you time your visit well. The sandbar disappears during high tide, but is accessible once the tide goes out, creating an almost complete link between two parts of the peninsula.

Naruto Uchinoumi Park

For a leisurely afternoon with a view — or if your little ones are in desperate need to let off some steam — head to Naruto Uchinoumi Park, an oceanside expanse with lawns, playgrounds and even barbecue areas. The flower field boasts a variety of blossoms most months of the year, while the walking track gives a good balance of ocean views and exercise in one go.

Hotel Ridge

Cross over to Shimada Island to settle in for the night at Hotel Ridge, an exclusive resort with just 10 suites. Each room has board picture windows and sheltered decks to make the most of the view overlooking the island’s wild natural setting and the Seto Inland Sea.

Day 2 – Shimada Island

Enjoy a day of decadent gourmet experiences and spectacular views.

Ancient Lotus Blossoms

Tokushima is one of Japan’s top lotus root producers, so if you’ve bought some at the supermarket or seen it in your salad, it’s likely from this prefecture. On Shimada Island, you’ll find a different kind — an inedible one — on the island’s northern side. Here, an ancient lotus blossom called kodai hasu (also known as oga hasu) spreads across 20,000 square meters of wetlands, creating a lush carpet of pink and green from June to August every year. The flowers are best viewed first thing in the morning, as they bloom early and gradually close as the day progresses. For those visiting in other seasons, there are other events and activities here, such as winter illuminations, lotus root planting workshops and more. 

California Table

Run by Hotel Ridge, this unpretentious French fusion restaurant serves seasonal fare sourced from Tokushima and is a great spot for lunch, coffee, or even an evening cocktail. Floor-to-ceiling windows and a spacious veranda offer unobstructed views of the Seto Inland Sea and the Naruto Ohashi Bridge as you dine. Don’t forget to take advantage of their extensive wine selection, which features award-winning vintages from Ridge Vineyards in Cupertino, California.

Naruto Skyline Yomomi Observation Deck

Located on the Naruto Skyline, a thrilling road with curves and elevation changes showcasing the beauty of the Seto Inland Sea at every turn, this observation deck allows you to stop and stretch your legs, so you can take in the view at leisure. From here, you’ll be able to spy famous sights in all directions, including Awaji Island, Shodoshima and even the heart-shaped Kagamijima. Kagamijima’s heart shape isn’t completely visible — you’d need a drone for a bird’s-eye view to catch it — but it makes a stunning silhouette against the deep blue waters.

French Monstar Setouchi Foodart

Opened in 2020, French Monstar Setouchi Foodart is a charming confectionary shop situated right next to the Naruto Skyline Yomomi Observation Deck. Sip on some sudachi — a Tokushima citrus — in the form of hot or cold lemonade, and nibble on some beautifully crafted pastries and confectionaries before driving off into the sunset, further into Tokushima.


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