Ibukijima Island – Island of Cats and IRIKO

Ibukijima-island is located in the center of Hiuchinada of Seto Inland Sea which is about 10km (6.2mile) west of the Kanonji-port. The island has a circumference of 5.4km (3.35miles) and an area of 1.05 km2 (0.4 square miles) and is located in the westernmost point of the Kagawa prefecture among the main island in Seto Inland Sea.

The population of the Island was about 4,400, but as of 2016 it has decreased to 570. However, Ibukijima-island is known for producing and shipping high quality IRIKO (Dried sardines) all across Japan and is a very lively island where various events such as the Harbor Festival in July (MYOJINSAI), praying for the fisherman to have a bountiful catch all year long, the Momote-sai Festival in February, the Fudoson Cherry Blossom Festival in April, the Mikagura Festival in June, and the Autumn Festival in October are being held.

img_3877Ferries run from Kanonji-port to the Maura-port back and forth four times a day and it only takes about 25 minutes.

img_3919Fish bones that sea birds might have eaten are scattered around near the harbor.

We toured the island with Mr. Shinohara, who is a volunteer guide on Ibukijima-island. Ibukijima has participated in the Setouchi-Triennale.

img_4406Among those artworks on the island, this one is the most famous one called “House of Toilet” by Daigo Ishi.

A toilet is one of the art pieces from the 2013 Setouchi-Triennale and it shows the small effects of rain and sunlight. The building consists of three building, the Men’s, the Women’s+the Multipurpose restroom and warehouse, and it literally can be used as the regular toilet.

The circular hole on the ceiling represents a rain-water well, water which used to be a very precious thing in Ibukijima-island. The line of light that intersects inside of the building represents the direction from the Ibukijima-island to the six cities across the world and shows connection between the island and the world.

In addition, sunlight penetrates inside once a year exactly at 9:00am through the slits created in the wall and ceiling in accordance with the direction of the the sunshine on traditional event days in the island such as “Day of Shimashikoku – March 21st “ in the old calendar, “Summer Festival Day – July 15th “, “Autumn Festival Day – October 1”, “Summer Solstice”, “Winter Solstice”.

img_4482There is a huge chair about 3m (9.84 feet) tall where we got off the slope of heartbreak hill. It is not a artwork of the Setouch Triennale, but it’s size is overwhelming.

There is a post office mark on the top of the roofing tile. This building was used as a post office in the past.

Ibukijima-island is also known as an island of cats. We can see cats everywhere.

img_4442We found a family of cats!This island must be a heaven for cat lovers.

Sometimes couples sit on this chair together and talk about love and gaze at the beautiful ocean beyond the shrubbery. We’ve walked around the island for about 3 and a half hours and fully enjoyed this appealing part of the island.

If you would like to rest and relax on the island, Ibukujima-island is the perfect place where you can enjoy artworks as well!


Access: About 30 minutes walk from JR Kanonji Station to Kanonji port.Alternatively, a bus departs about every 2 hours or goes by taxi for about 800 yen.
There are four ferries per day, which departs from Kanonji port (which takes about 25minutes, 510 yen per adult and 260 yen per child).
Ferry schedule. As of July 2016.(Ferry may be cancelled depending on the weather) From Kanonji-port: 7:50am/11:20am/3:40pm/5:50pm From Ibukijima-Island: 7:00am/9:00am/1:30pm/5:10pm