Inland Sea Images 11 images Created 18 Dec 2008
Only from the deck of a boat with the wind in your hair and brine in your face , does the Inland Sea reveal its true nature. Patterns of distant islands with evocative sounding names: Innoshima, Bentenjima, Awaji, Shikoku... advance and retreat on the horizon as the ferry chugs along. There has long been a romantic notion of Japan's Inland Sea and its salty charm. Yukio Mishima's novel The Sound of Waves was set on one of these tiny islands. Donald Ritchie's classic travel tome The Inland Sea outlines his ferry-hopping quest for an bygone, retro Japan. But this mythical notion of the Inland Sea goes back much further. According to the Kojiki, the Record of Ancient Matters, Japan's first two deities Izanagi and Izanami stood here on the bridge of heaven and stirred the seas below until the island of Awaji was formed. Awaji, the largest of the 3000 islands of the Inland Sea is now linked with Shikoku Island by way of the Great Naruto Bridge, bringing modern Japan along with it. Thus, it would be misleading to characterize the area as inhabited by crusty fisherfolk. But visiting one of the countless tiny villages along the infinite coastlines, stopping at one of the fish markets, Tokyo and Osaka feel very far away. Tiny wooden ferryboats still ply these waters, alongside giant ships and brightly coloured fishing boats.