Despite being a cloudy day, we decided to go ahead with our day trip to 小豆島 Shodoshima Island. We took the 9:30am ferry (return tickets ¥1320) from 高松港 Takamatsu Port to 草壁港 Kusakabe Port on Shodoshima, and one hour later, we arrived at 小豆島 Shodoshima Island!
The bus stop was located just outside the port, so we easily caught the 10:50am bus to 紅雲亭 Kountei (¥360 one way). Arriving at 11:03am at the bus stop, we quickly made our way to the ticket counter and bought the return tickets (usual price ¥1350, but we had a 10% discount because we printed a coupon from the website) for the 寒霞渓ロープウェイ Kankakei Ropeway. The ropeway runs every 12 minutes, and once it is full, you will need to wait for the next ride.
It was a very lovely 5 minutes ride, where we enjoyed the beautiful sights of the gorge, which was one of Japan’s three most beautiful gorges 日本三大渓谷美, with its strange rock formation, as well as the gorgeous autumn colours.
Unfortunately, as it was rather cloudy, we could not get a good panaromic view when we were at the lookout points. As we had to catch the 11:50am bus back to the port, we did not linger too long. We were back to the bus stop at the port by 12:03pm, and at the same bus stop, we took the 12:13pm bus to オリーブ公園口 Olive Garden, arriving at 12:17pm.
We had lunch at Olivaz at the オリーブ記念館 Olive Memorial, where we shared a Seasonal Pasta Aglio Olio (¥1000), and a Hamburg (¥1200). Both were actually quite delicious! The olive rice was quite bland by itself, but when we mixed the sauce and meat with it, it was awesome! Not bad at all for food at a touristy place with a good view 🙂
We also bought some goodies and attempted to fly on a broomstick within the same building, hahaha… Apparently, there was a popular show 『魔女の宅急便』Kiki’s Delivery Service that did some of the shootings here, and there were plenty of broomsticks that we could borrow for photo-taking. So there were quite a few groups of people “flying around” with their borrowed broomsticks.
We continued on to stroll around in the gardens, visited the windmill, and walked the cobbled path, before catching the 3:04pm bus back to the port, where we spent the next 45 minutes or so checking out the various shops around the area. Ms V managed to snag a very lovely piece for her next pendant 🙂
We took the 4:15pm ferry back to Takamatsu, and this time, we were more awake and decided to explore the ferry. There were different types of seats, and one could choose to sit at areas where a big TV was showing current variety shows, or one could sit at the rows of seats facing the front of the ferry, to get the best views. We decided to take the very comfortable sofa seats with tables just behind these rows. We saw other groups having a great time with drinks and snacks! There were also a small cafeteria area within the ferry, where one could purchase some snacks and drinks. There were even slot machines to play! We were quite impressed and it reminded hubby of his 50-over days on the ship way back in 2000.
The sun was setting as we travelled, but alas, it was too cloudy to catch the sunset properly. We arrived at Takamatsu around 5:15pm, in time to visit the Information Centre to gather some suggestions for our last day at Takamatsu, and to hunt for dinner. Not bad for a day trip 🙂
- The 旅客船 Normal Ferry and the 高速艇 High Speed Ferry are at nearby but different piers. We decided to the the normal speed one, because the duration is only 15 minutes longer, but the price is about half the high speed ferry.
- We were quite restricted by the ferry and bus timings, and could only cover 2 locations within the short time. It might be worthwhile to consider staying a night on the island, to explore other areas. I wanted to see the Angel’s Road, but we had to be there at low tide… and the Kannon was on the other side of the island.
- If we had more time, and were less sick/injured, we would also want to hike down the gorge instead of taking the ropeway down, as we read that the scenery was lovely. It would have taken us an additional 1 hour though.
- It would be best if you prepared the exact change for the bus rides. It may be possible to exchange ¥1000 note into coins on the bus, but this is subject to availability. There are 1-day bus pass (¥2000) and 2-day bus pass (¥2500) available, but it was not worthwhile for us to purchase the 1-day bus pass.
- Do remember to grab the ticket on your way up the bus, as it will help you to decipher how much is the bus fare. The ticket will show the stage number that you boarded the bus.
- 内海フェリー Uchinomi Ferry – There are many ferry companies that goes to various ports in 小豆島 Shodoshima. 内海フェリー Uchinomi Ferry goes directly to 草壁港 Kusakabe Port which is the nearest to 寒霞渓 Kankakei Gorge.
- 小豆島町 Shodoshima Island Guide – This is a comprehensive website in English that introduces the various attractions on 小豆島町 Shodoshima Town, which is the west side of 小豆島 Shodoshima.
- 小豆島観光協会 Shodoshima Tourism Association – This is another comprehensive tourist guide on 小豆島 Shodoshima.
- 小豆島オリーブバス Shodoshima Olive Bus – This is the only bus company on the island so it would be good to download the bus timings and plan your route accordingly.
- 寒霞渓ロープウェイ Kankakei Ropeway – Useful information on the ropeway. You can print out a coupon here to get a 10% discount on the ropeway.
- 小豆島オリーブ公園 Shodoshima Olive Garden – Because of its Mediterranean climate, 小豆島 Shodoshima is very suitable for the planting of olives. Hence a large part of the island is dedicated to olive plantations.