Information on the Inland Sea SETOUCHI

SETOUCHI has varieties of unique assets such as islands, foods, and histories under the culture of the inland sea. It is a place where you can be free from a normal life and get mysterious experiences by touching the unique culture. Calm climate, soft sunshine, mesmerizing sunsets, the moon in the night sky and architectures with historical emotions are all integrated to create a never boring scenery. The Setouchi area is located in the west part of Japan, comprising of Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, Okayama, Hyogo, Tokushima, Kagawa and Ehime Prefectures. The area surrounds the Seto inland sea which stretches 450km from East to West, 10 – 55km from North to South. With a mild climate with few rainy days, approximately 3,000 islands make a special archipelago scenery which is very unique in the world.

Special Experiences of SETOUCHI


In Hiroshima Prefecture, 4 cycling paths were constructed: Shimanami Kaido cycling path, Tobishima Kaido cycling path, Sazanami Kaido cycling path and Kakishima Kaido cycling path.

Dogo Onsen

The oldest onsen which was mentioned in the ancient books. The whole building is designated as a national important cultural property. It appears in a variety of famous novels and films as the face of Matsuyama.

Naruto Whirlpools

Naruto whirlpools is one of the world’s three major tidal currents. The ebb and flow of the tide creates whirling tides. During Spring and Autumn, tides become the biggest with the speed of 20 km/hr and the size of 20 m/diameter. Making a roaring sound like a hundred thunderclaps. The scenery of whirling tides crossing and flowing is really spectacular.

Shodoshima Olive Garden

Shodoshima is the origin of olive cultivation in Japan. In the park on small hill tops looking down at SETOUCHI sea, there are about 2,000 olive trees and 130 kinds of herbs cultivated. They produce a variety of souvenirs using olive.

Why Japan? Why Hiroshima?

Summary of the HAB history in the Seto Inland Sea

The Seto Inland Sea is the largest interior sea in Japan and stretches over 450 km (280 miles) long from east to west. Over 3,000 islands dot across the calm blue waters and beautifully contrast with the green pine trees and white sandy beaches, thus making the sea one of Japan’s most beautiful places. Thomas Cook, a British founder of the world’s first travel agency, visited the sea in 1873 and described the sea as a beautiful scenery created from a collection of the best lakes in Europe which he had ever seen.

Historically, the main capitals of Japan, such as Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, and Kobe have become sole places of merchant and/or politics of Japan, owning to the safe shipping route along the Seto Inland Sea. Hiroshima lies at the central west part of the Inland Sea, and still conserves its traditional relationship between the local people and the ocean. The most famous Itsukushima Shrine, built more than 1,400 years ago, is one of the UNESCO world heritages and represents a historical background of the sea and Hiroshima. It attracts many tourists and ranks as the top spot where foreign travelers visit.

Why Japan? Why Hiroshima?

Summary of the HAB history in the Seto Inland Sea 2

The Seto Inland Sea serves as a critical food source for the locals. The marine ecosystem was once regarded as the most productive in the world, due to rich and well-balanced nutrients inflowing from the surrounding landscapes. Such richness in the local fisheries sparked unique traditional fishing methods, such as “Abi-ryo”, where wild seabirds (Red-throated loon) and fishermen would cooperate to gather fish into the catching gears.

Supported by such rich foods and efficient logistics, the Seto Inland Sea has become one of the largest economic zones in Japan, where more than 30% of Japan’s population lives today. This large interior sea connects to the outer ocean by only three narrow channels, and is largely influenced by human activities. Once, the sea was called “dead sea” due to over eutrophication, as well as several incidences of red tide that happened in the late 1970s. The coastal people and the governmental fisheries research institutes have patiently taken effective measures, such as implementing a special law to reduce nutrient inflows. The sea has since recovered its blue colored waters and white beaches.

Tourists visiting the sea can enjoy unique and delicious seafood. Oysters are the most famous mouthwatering dish in Hiroshima. Being the number one producer in the whole of Japan, it well depicts the richness of the sea and the environmentally friendly ways of local fisheries. Here, people and the environment are closely related and maintain a mutual relationship.

By visiting the Seto Inland Sea and Hiroshima, you will get to know the historical relationship between humans and the ocean, and that the history of environmental managements will eventually result in a more balanced and peaceful ecosystem.