Megijima Island, Kagawa Prefecture: “Devil’s Island” from Folktale Momotaro Exists!
Megijima is one of the islands floating in the Seto Inland Sea between Okayama Prefecture and Kagawa Prefecture, also known by the nickname of Onigashima (Devil’s Island). Onigashima is featured in a very famous fairy tale called “Momotaro.” The hero of the tale, Momotaro, visits the island to punish the devils residing there. I travelled to visit the legendary island which actually exists as a tourist spot.
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Access to the Island
About a 20 minute comfortable ride on a ferry from Takamatsu Port, the gateway of Kagawa Prefecture, through the calm inland sea brings you to the island. On the ferry, you can relax either at the bench or a tatami matted cabin. It’s just good to keep in mind that you cannot buy anything on the ferry.
Welcoming Greet By Moai Statues
On the island of Megijima, you will first be greeted by life size Moai statues looking up into the blue sky. Why Moai statues here? They were actually produced for the purpose of preliminary study when Tadano, the crane manufacturing company in Takamatsu City, launched a project to restore the fallen Moai statues on Easter Island. After the project, the statues were donated to Takamatsu City and ended up sitting here on the island. Behind the statues are very adorable seagull shaped weathervanes lined up along the seawall.
Heading to the Great Cave of Onigashima
You can climb the mountain either by bus, rental bicycle or on foot.
I could see Ogijima, the island floating beside Megijima, from between the woods.
*The name “Megijima” and “Ogijima” respectively stand for “woman island” and “man island” and they are collectively referred to as “Female and Male Islands.”
The cave entrance has such a low ceiling that you have to bend to go in. The space inside the cave is sectioned into many small cells. I almost fell on my rear at some of these cells. The outside temperature on the day I visited here was very hot and reached 36 degrees Celsius but inside the cave it was only 15 degrees. It felt cool inside, indeed like a natural air conditioner.
You will come across a variety of devils inside the cave. These devils, which you would probably not take much notice of if placed somewhere outside on the street, were surrounded by mysterious aura here in the cave.
I could also find many Oninoko tiles, the devil mask ridge-end tiles produced as part of a special project for Setouchi Triennale 2013, displayed here and there inside the cave.
*Cave Tour Length: About 15 Minutes
A short walk from the cave will take you to Washigamine Observatory (located at an altitude of 188 meters). The 360 degrees panoramic view you can enjoy from here is just astonishing. The scenic beauty was a great extra bonus which made my visit all the way to the island really worthwhile.
The scenery in the photo, which you can overlook from the observatory, is Megi Beach (Yumigahama), Megi Port and the town of Takamatsu across the bay.
Playing as a host to art triennials (Setouchi Triennale) in recent years, the islands in the Setouchi Inland Sea has been attracting an increasing number of visitors from outside Japan. Here you will find the great natural surroundings in which you can spend a relaxing time away from the bustle of the city. Information: Map
Amazing View of the Seto Inland Sea