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Kashiwajima / Kashiwa Island 柏島

Setting and History

Located in the southwestern part of Japan, Kashiwa Island, also known as Kashiwajima, is a small but captivating destination. This island is part of the Ashizuri Uwakai National Park and is renowned for its rich marine biodiversity. Remarkably, 1,000 of the 3,500 fish species found around the Japanese archipelago inhabit the waters surrounding Kashiwa Island. This makes the island a prime spot for fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling.

The island, though small at just 4 kilometers in length, boasts stunning beaches and picturesque coastal landscapes. It is connected to the mainland by the Kashiwajima Shin-ohashi Bridge, allowing easy access for visitors. There is a big free parking lot right after the bridge.

During the time at Kashiwajima, we only encountered local fishermen working around their boats in the port and a few locals, adding to the tranquil atmosphere of the island.

The Walk

Exploring Kashiwa Island can be an adventure in itself. Without much information available upfront about walking trails, we had to improvise. We parked near an observatory marked before a tunnel and walked up an old asphalt road. Despite not encountering any cars, the view from the observatory was definitely worth it.

From this vantage point, we spotted another viewpoint closer to the island. After returning to the car, we parked at a lot from which we could walk to this second viewpoint. Here, we discovered a hiking trail connecting the observatory to the viewpoint and back. Unfortunately, time constraints prevented us from embarking on this walk, which would have taken us along the cliffs and over the hilltops.

The observaatory

Lunch at Kashiwajima Village

We arrived at the island itself just after 2 p.m. only to find that two of the three dining options were already closed. At the open restaurant, we couldn’t find the owner, an elderly lady according to photos in the restaurant. After waiting for a while, we headed to the third option, which had just closed as well. Luckily, a kind waitress allowed us to sit outside and enjoy a meal.

This restaurant, part of the hostel Kashiwajima Village (柏島ヴィレッジ), offered a unique menu featuring in-house aged raw bluefin tuna. Depending on your choice of tuna age, a set meal with soup, rice, and pickles costs about 30-40 euros. We ordered one fully aged raw tuna bowl for 6,600 yen and one bluefin tuna bowl for 3,300 yen, totaling 9,900 yen.

While the price is not typical for an average lunch set meal in Japan, the undeniable freshness and local aspect of the fish completely justified it. The waitress even came by with the aged cut and showed us what we were eating.

Practical info

We started this half-day trip from our hotel in Ashizuri, The Mana Village, taking about an hour to reach Kashiwa Island. On the way back, we stopped at Tosashimizu Marine Park for a second stroll among the rocks, rounding off a perfect day of exploration. This trip was part of our 3 days stay in the Cape Ashizuri area. Check the post about the Tosashimizu Marine Park.

We last visited there in April 02nd 2024